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
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
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: Web Developer - Junior / Mid Weight

    £15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: To support their continued grow...

    Recruitment Genius: Marketing Data Specialist

    £22000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are the go-to company for ...

    Recruitment Genius: Search Marketing Specialist - PPC / SEO

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join the UK's leadin...

    Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This caravan dealership are currently recruiti...

    Day In a Page

    Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

    Is this the future of flying?

    Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
    Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

    Isis are barbarians

    but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
    The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

    Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

    Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
    Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

    'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

    Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
    Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

    Call of the wild

    How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
    Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

    'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

    If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
    The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

    The science of swearing

    What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

    Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
    Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

    Africa on the menu

    Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
    Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

    Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

    The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
    10 best statement lightbulbs

    10 best statement lightbulbs

    Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
    Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

    Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

    Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
    Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

    Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

    It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
    Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

    Dustin Brown

    Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
    Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

    Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

    Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test