“At Blackhorse Workshop you can escape your role as a mere spectator by getting involved in the gritty act of putting stuff together. If the Maker revolution is happening anywhere, it’s here”. – Sam Jacob, Principle of Sam Jacob Studio and founding director of FAT Architecture
Blackhorse Workshop is a new public space dedicated to making and mending, just half an hour from the centre of London. We offer open access to a fully equipped wood and metal workshop. Machinery support is on hand from our highly skilled technicians, and here you can build or fix anything from broken chairs to theatrical sets, bikes and furniture – and where you can grow your startup with the support of industry expertise and a community of makers.
You can come and use the workshop for half a day or sign up for a year. We welcome everyone from dabblers to professionals, and will help you wherever we can.
We also run courses and events, from basic DIY skills to the art of welding. We invite artists, designers, expert fabricators and craftsmen from a range of industries to talk about their ideas, – let us know if there is someone in particular you’d like to see!
Not quite what you’re looking for? Need a kiln or CNC machine? Check out the Open Workshop Network – a great resource that maps all the makespaces across London.
Blackhorse Workshop was founded by the architecture and design practice Assemble,and has been developed by its Creative Director, Harriet Warden together with Toby Poolman, Rob Shaer , Sara Pereira and Mhairi McGhee. The project has received start up support from the Mayor of London’s Outer London Fund, the London Borough of Waltham Forest and match funding from Create, Legacy Trust UK and Arts Council England.
The Blackhorse Team:
Lola Akodu is our Marketing and Events Intern. From touring around the UK with a theatre company, to working at some of London’s most prolific venues including The O2 Arena, the freelance photographer and Instagram lover brings her marketing and events planning skills to the workshop, not to mention her event styling enthusiasm.
Rob Fawcett is our new Workshop Manager. Having served an apprenticeship as a mould-maker in and around Middlesborough, he progressed to leading a design office, all within the plastics industry. After a year living his dream as a development engineer for the Honda motorcycle race team in America, he moved to London where he studied film, specialising in cinematography. Owning his own workshop has meant his making side never lapsed, and he has worked on an eclectic range of commissions from electro-mechanical window displays to prototyping for shoe designers.
Mhairi McGhee is the workshop’s Office & Events Manager. After graduating from Grays School of Art in Aberdeen she then completed an MA in Film Production and has since worked for a variety of Film and Arts festivals. As well as her own artistic practice, she has curated film screenings and exhibitions within the UK and Holland – where she lived for two years. She is passionate about community art projects, and a lover of making things across various media.
Enrique Melin is one of our Workshop Technicians. As well as assisting in the workshop and running our Woodwork Level 1 Inductions, he is a furniture maker and woodturner, and runs his own business making bespoke pieces. Being a long-term member, he is also very passionate about the life of the workshop and was recently involved in the build of the new extension and upcoming Blackhorse Sideshow project.
Toby Poolman is one of the workshop’s Senior Technicians who originally trained as a furniture designer/maker, and has since worked as furniture maker, timber-framed building craftsman and college lecturer. Following his Masters in Fine Art (sculpture) at Bath Spa University, he undertook a number of artist residencies, most notably on Peace Art Project Cambodia (PAPC) in Phnom Penh in 2004. The project involved working with Cambodian students to turn decommissioned AK47s, remnants of the Khmer Rouge regime, into marketable sculpture and furniture.Toby lives on his narrowboat in the capital, where he divides his time between his role at Blackhorse Workshop, private commissions and own sculpture.
Robert Shaer is one of the workshop Senior Technicians that specialises in metalwork. After graduating from Falmouth School of Art he trained as a churchbell founder at The Whitechapel Bell Foundry. From there he developed his passion for working with metals which he has developed and refined over the past 25 years. His company rockpaperscissors was established in 2005 where he offers consultancy, design and fabrication for metal art in the public realm. Some of his many clients include: muf architecture/art, British Council, Grizedale Arts, Rebecca Warren, Gavin Turk, Ron King, Sadie Frost and numerous schools and boroughs London wide. This autumn he stars in the BBC’s forthcoming series Money for Nothing.
Harriet Warden is the Creative Director of Blackhorse Workshop, and has set up and developed the project since it opened its doors in February 2014. She has worked across a variety of institutions across the cultural spectrum – most recently as one of the founding team behind Alain de Botton’s The School of Life, previously for architect Zaha Hadid, and for Tate Modern’s public programme and development teams.As a maker herself, Blackhorse Workshop presents a fantastic opportunity to combine her background in arts management & design with a passion for start up projects and building communities.
Carolyn Abbott has lived in E17 since 1999. She makes hand-woven and hand-felted textiles for galleries and private commissions.She is founder member and main coordinator of E17 Designers, a group of artists, makers and designers. She sets up several events year, attracting hundreds of buyers, appreciating a wide range of products, with prices from £1 to £100’s.Carolyn is part time administrator and communications coordinator at The Mill Community Centre, E17 and teaches textile craft skills for Waltham Forest Adult Learning. She created the ‘Learning Resources for Weaving’ pack for William Morris Gallery, where she runs weaving workshops.
Cllr Tim Bennett-Goodman moved to Waltham Forest in 2004 to work for the Central Arts Trust (CAT).From 2005-8 he was Chair of Apex Arts and from 2008-14 he was a trustee of Voluntary Action Waltham Forest (VAWF), acting as its Chair from 2011-14.He worked as a Culture Advisor to the Labour Group at City Hall in 2007-8 and was elected as a Labour Councillor for Higham Hill Ward in May 2014, when he joined the Board of Blackhorse Workshop. He is keenly interested in all aspects of design and was a judge on the Borough Design Awards from 2005-13.
Sarah Drinkwater, a local Walthamstow resident, heads up Campus London, Google’s first physical startup hub, providing early stage founders with work and event space, mentorship and educational programs. Passionate about entrepreneurship and communities, Sarah’s previous role at Google was leading a global team of community managers around Google Maps, while also volunteering at Campus helping run baby friendly startup school Campus for Mums. Before Google, she worked in content and community for startups, advised brands on their social media, and was a journalist.Sarah’s also on the board of Code First: Girls which provides classes and a support network for young women keen to work in tech and combines her enthusiasms for education and diversity.
Hadrian Garrard is the Founding Director of the arts charity Create London, which supports artists to work with communities, commissioning and producing ambitious programmes and projects.Previously Hadrian was the lead for culture for the Growth Borough Unit in east London, with oversight for cultural strategy for 6 London boroughs and he was a Creative Programmer for London 2012.He has been a juror for the Olympic Delivery Authority arts commissions, the Oxford Samuel Beckett Theatre Awards, Art on the Underground and chairs the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Art Award selection committee. He is also on the boards of London’s Open School East and Glasgow’s Baltic Street Adventure Playground.
Nat Hunter is a user experience designer and uses her work to explore ways design can have positive social impact.
As well as being on the board of Blackhorse Workshop, she is on the board of the Centre for the Acceleration of Social Technology and is a consultant to the Royal College of Art on the Future Makespaces in Redistributed Manufacturing project
She is now mostly found at Machines Room, East London’s Impact Maker Space, an open access makerspace exploring manufacturing futures, alternative business models and ways of living.
Mark Kass is an experienced entrepreneur, director, and one of East London’s leading authorities on business start-up, enterprise growth and flexible workspace provision.Whilst building and selling a portfolio of his own profitable businesses, Mark became -and still is- a huge ambassador for business-led regeneration, community engagement, social enterprise development and corporate social responsibility and his current portfolio of executive and non-executive directorships extends across East London based profit and non-profit making businesses alike.Mark is one of the UKs leading experts on flexible workspace provision and he currently sits on the Board of the Business Centre Association of Great Britain.
Mathew Leung is a designer, maker and writer and a founding member of Turner Prize winning architecture collective Assemble. Assemble initiated and set up the foundations of Blackhorse Workshop.He has wide-ranging research interests and has contributed to publications such as RIBA Journal and Performative Urbanism and was awarded the RIBA Silver Medal for his thesis on Chinatown in Yokohama, Japan.Mathew has lectured across Europe and has been a visiting critic for Bartlett, Cambridge and Manchester schools of architecture He is currently a tutor on MA Spatial Practices at Central Saint Martins and for the CASS Cities unit at London Metropolitan University.
Maria Lisogorskaya is one of the founding directors of Assemble, recent winner of the Turner Prize, practicing between the scales of immediate hands-on material prototyping, architecture and urban strategy. Assemble initiated and set up the foundations of Blackhorse Workshop. Since Assemble’s early projects Cineroleum, Folly for a Flyover and Blackhorse Workshop, Maria has led on publications, theatre and housing projects in the UK and abroad. She has been awarded a 2015 Winston Churchill travel grant to research collective workspace in US and China.Maria is an associate lecturer of Architecture at Central Saint Martins and has recently led a student construction workshop in Brazil.