The Cottage Project is the exciting brainchild of product designer Osian Batyka-Williams and weaver Holly Berry, who have self-converted a derelict building in New Cross Gate into a micro-department store. The premiss is to support and celebrate British artisans though retail, exhibitions, lectures, events and workshops, as well as promoting interaction in the local and wider communities to the processes of across the board making.
Images copyright The Cottage Project
Their first event is a pop-up makers space [which yours truly will be weaving live at] at sportswear brand New Balance's Olympic hospitality suite in London.
New Balance are a unique brand in that they still manufacture their trainers in this country at a factory in Flimby, Cumbria. They are also actively promoting global makers from all walks- musicians, artists, sports-people, designers etc- with their Excellent Makers programme.
One of my pet subjects is British manufacturing and it warms the cockles of my heart to see a major brand supporting and promoting the quality and craftsmanship of products made in this country.
We can't compete with the cheap prices of the Far East and we will never manufacture on the same scale we once did. Our traditional heavy industries such as coal, steel, and textiles are now just a vague and misty memory, as are, very sadly, the communities and culture that surrounded them; but it's factories such as Flimby which should be our blueprint for the future. Compact, involved, skilled and passionate about doing what we do best in the U.K- British Craftsmanship- this is our way forward.
The Cottage Project launches Autumn 2012.
If any press would like a taste of what's to come please visit their showroom by emailing
Random change of subject and for all you wildlife boffins out there. While in Suffolk recently we came across two giant moths which we believe to be Privet Hawk Moths. I've never seen a moth so big in this country before so had to share it, probably to a chorus of - Oh I see them all the time. They're really common-