The London Loom and Columbia Road January 05, 2017 01:51
I used to live ten minutes walk from East London's famous Columbia Road Flower market. Even then in the early 00s, it was just as much about handmade quirky design and cafes with artfully mismatched crockery as trade-price flowers and. Also pubs that legendarily opened at 4am for the traders, but I never tested that out to see if it was true.
Generally, it's a great morning out for people watching, shoppping and cheapish flowers. It can get ridiculously busy too, way more so than Oxford Street in the sales but I'd still really recommend it.
This week, I found myself on Hackney Road, at the end of Columbia Road, tracking down Francesca and Brooke of the London Loom. I'm so glad I did because they are my new favourite ace ladies!
Francesca and Brooke in their studio on Hackney Road
The studio has a colour coded wall of yarn, whiich is so gratifying. I could not stop staring at it and ended up all apologies because I kept drifting back to it! Once I was over that, I got to have a look at the three Japanese looms. If you know me at all, you know how much I love craft gadgetry, and these things are gadget-PLUS. Yarn, threads, soft moving pedals, lovely solid wood, little metals bitty bits, and all with super gadgety names to learn.
Francesca and I chatted about weaving, workshops, colour and yarn hoarding while Brooke did something enormously detailed and technical on the loom. Watching her, I was a bit worried it might be one of those super slow processes, meaning that you'd be hamstrung by limited access to a big loom, but apparently it rattles along once you get going and you can make really quite large pieces in one 2 hour sitting.
You can pop in to the studio on Hackney Road and see what's going on, or even book a 121 weaving session. If you're stuck for something to do on Sunday I'd definitely recommend a trip to the flower market, popping your head round the door of the London Loom and having a browse around the other shops housing creative, independent businesses that have popped up right on the mouth of Columbia Road. It's the perfect does of colour in January.