More fun than Heal's or Hamley's

Kate Simon goes alternative Christmas shopping in Hackney

It's that time of year again when everyone tries to shock each other with how many shopping weeks/days/hours/minutes there are to Christmas. Before long, you'll forget all those good intentions of showing your family and friends just how much you care, by buying them interesting and original Christmas presents, and head for the high street.

But time could still be on your side if, instead, you pay a visit to Hackney over the following two weekends, when the east London borough will turn into a giant shopping mall for arts and crafts under the banner The Hidden Art of Hackney.

In a bid to become the centre of London's artistic community, studios and temporary spaces will be throwing open their doors from Shoreditch to Stoke Newington, Islington to Hackney Wick, as more than 250 exhibitors converge on the borough for the fourth year to show and sell their work.

And we're clearly not talking tat. Last year, Heal's sent its scouts here to spot new talent, as did many of the top interiors magazines. Plus, exhibitors include the likes of textile designer Cressida Bell, granddaughter of the Bloomsbury Group's Clive and Vanessa, ceramicist Dimitra Grivellis, who received special praise from Sir Terence Conran at this year's Chelsea Craft Fair, and textile artist Rachel Howard, who has designed ties for Paul Smith.

For those who haven't ventured any further into Hackney than Hoxton Square, mini-buses will be laid on to ferry visitors between venues, and guided walks will take in a bit of local history en route to various studios. Even the number 73 and 253 buses are getting in on the act, becoming moving galleries with displays of drawings by local school students of historic buildings in the area.

And you don't have to have the budget of a Heal's buyer to pick up a potential work of art here. Price tags range from pounds 1 for a hand-made Christmas card to pounds 65,000 for the rather more unusual "exhibit" of a studio flat - now that's creative thinking.

The Hidden Art of Hackney, various venues, 29-30 November and 6-7 December. For more information, call 0171 729 3301.

Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Sales Executives - OTE £60,000

    £25000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about Custom...

    Recruitment Genius: Care Workers Required - The London Borough of Bromley

    £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This homecare agency is based in Beckenh...

    Recruitment Genius: Sales Executives - OTE £50,000

    £25000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about Custom...

    Recruitment Genius: Sales Executives - OTE £50,000

    £25000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about Custom...

    Day In a Page

    Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

    Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

    As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
    The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

    The Interview movie review

    You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
    Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

    A memorable year for science – if not for mice

    The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
    5 best activity trackers

    Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

    Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

    Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

    The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
    Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

    Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

    The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
    Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

    The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

    Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas
    La Famille Bélier is being touted as this year's Amelie - so why are many in the deaf community outraged by it?

    Deaf community outraged by La Famille Bélier

    The new film tells the story of a deaf-mute farming family and is being touted as this year's Amelie
    10 best high-end laptops

    10 best high-end laptops

    From lightweight and zippy devices to gaming beasts, we test the latest in top-spec portable computers
    Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

    Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

    The batsman has grown disillusioned after England’s Ashes debacle and allegations linking him to the Pietersen affair
    Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

    Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

    The Williams driver has had plenty of doubters, but hopes she will be judged by her ability in the cockpit
    Adam Gemili interview: 'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

    'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

    After a year touched by tragedy, Adam Gemili wants to become the sixth Briton to run a sub-10sec 100m
    Calls for a military mental health 'quality mark'

    Homeless Veterans campaign

    Expert calls for military mental health 'quality mark'
    Racton Man: Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman

    Meet Racton Man

    Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman