Walthamstow Wetlands Wonder


In two days time, just ten minutes from the Workshop and a stone’s throw from SIDESHOW, London’s largest urban wetland nature reserve will be opening. The brand new Walthamstow Wetlands project will  house London’s largest open spaces in the Thames Water owned reservoirs and these reservoirs supply up to a third of London’s drinking water.


The main feature of the Wetlands will be a new cafe and environmental education centre after the conversion of the derelict Victorian built Marine Engine House.

Blackhorse Workshop was approached by the council who were looking for local makers to come forward to make the servery for the new visitors centre cafe. Blackhorse member Odel Jeffries, along with the help of  Christina French and Enrique Melin, got the opportunity to take on this project with Witherford Watson Mann Architects as it’s designers and Rooff as it’s contractors.


Jeffries, used reclaimed iroko wood for the worktops to give a more aged feel to the counter, almost like it was part of the original existing building. This long counter is 4.4m and oak panelling has been used around the front and sides. The idea for this was to use the original oak panelling that had been reclaimed, however he found it challenging sourcing the amount they needed that was good enough to use, so new oak panelling was made especially and stained to match the existing panelling. All in all, creating a rather beautiful finish.


The Walthsmstow Wetlands offers a unique resource for everyone to access and for free too. The upgraded access to nature and leisure activities that the wetlands will provide, aims to enhance the health, wellbeing and quality of life for the local area and the estimated rise in the number of visitors will also lead to a exposure for visitor economy and help reinforce physical regeneration plans in the neighbouring area –  we’re  looking forward to paying a visit!

For more details on the project, visit their website: https://walthamstowwetlands.com/about-us

All Aboard!

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The Workshop has seen a number of great changes this year – the new office space and Wood St Coffee‘s bright new, cactus filled café, to the education space. One of the other notable changes that has played a big part in the use of the workshop for our members has been the new outdoor working area.

Consisting of four bays each measuring  11.5sqm, that can be used right up until 8pm, three of these bays have been let out long term to some of our existing members who work on larger projects including La Maison de Furniture, who as well as having access to the workshop, now has more  space to sand and assemble. The remaining work bay is available to book up to a week in advance on a short term let for anyone needing space for larger projects at the same day rate as a bench.

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If you’ve ever been to the Workshop or come to the café, you may have noticed – and it’s hard not to miss – a boat being built. We spoke to the man behind the boat David Vivian, one of our long term members to ask all about the wonder that has had people blown away.

I went to boat building college in 2008 after deciding a practical skill was the way forward, so I was a boat builder for 5 years and then moved on to make furniture but have always wanted to come back to making boats and the new outdoor space at Blackhorse seemed like the perfect opportunity to make a boat. I had an idea of this prototype I wanted to try that I had been working on the computer with for around six months and I put the pieces together and here we are!”

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Deciding that you want to start building a prototype boat isn’t as easy as it sounds. Finding the space that can accommodate such a large build is challenging.

There were a couple of other places that I could have gone too. My old boss Mark Edwards from boat building college who I apprenticed with, owns a ramshackle boat yard in Richmond, right underneath Richmond Bridge where he makes traditional canoes, and setting up a space there would have been an option. The other idea was to move out of London into a friend’s barn but I didn’t go with that option either and then there was Blackhorse, where there is always access to the machines and I was already a member which all-in-all made it a tempting place.”

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Knowing how much space you’ll have has been good. In the workshop it can be hit or miss during the week, not knowing if it’ll be full with people or have few people, plus having more space has of course been useful. The access hours have been helpful as well, as I’ve had some late nights. More importantly, with a project like this, you don’t have to worry so much about getting dust over everyone else as you’re in outside in your own space.”

Before commencing with the actual building of the boat, David had to first build a covering for the boat. The process of assembling the boat has involved lots of gluing, clamping and waiting. David has been using a mix of Douglas Fir, Pine, Timber and Accoya which is a trademark product, using a treatment like process that increases the resistance of wood like pine and timber, to protect it against things like rocks and water. The process was perfected by a dutch company who take fairly, widely available and sustainable wood and turn them into more useful, durable material.

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Once the prototype is finished, what happens next?

Ideally, I’d like to make more of them if I can find some people to pay me to make them. I still have the furniture side of the business and I have tried to maintain some contracts I had in the industry, so if a boat order doesn’t come through, I’ll always fall back onto furniture. There is a good market of Thames boat users and in the home counties. Eco-conscience people are a good market as well because of the electric side of it boats. All of these demographics tend to prize antique and historic boats because no one seems to be producing anything that can match the elegance and cache of those older boats in more modern boats, they just tend to be boring plastic boats so hopefully that’s something I can offer. We shall see.

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We asked for David’s final thoughts on using the outdoor working bay and whether it has the same feel of being in the Workshop and we think he summed it up very well.

“The fact that there are a couple of more permanent sharers of the space does give you a feel of being inside the workshop. It’s got a similar sharing and caring vibe. Sharing tools, sharing advice, is what Blackhorse does well.”

London Design Week, 16th-24th Sep


London Design Week is finally upon us – the best time of the year to explore some of the work of London’s best architects, artists, designers and retailers. Over the duration of this week long festival, parts of London have been adorned in large scale creative installations, events and exhibitions.

Looking out for something to visit? Some of our very own Blackhorse Workshop residents will be showcasing their work as part of the Design Festival.

MARC WOOD STUDIO: Come and join lighting designer Marc Wood on Thurs 21st September from 8pm at the Old Truman Brewery, Brick Lane, for a private view of the new Pleated Crystal Collection where there will be a mixture of pendant lights, floor standing lamps and desk lamps, made from Czech blown crystal glass. The night will be his official studio launch, which marks the beginning of his company officially so it is a big night all round and we have some exclusive free tickets to give away.

A printable version of the ticket to show attendants at the door can be downloaded here – admittance is only one ticket holder with one guest.

FLYNN TALBOT at the V&A Museum: An immersive, coloured light experience called Reflection Room made by former Blackhorse Member Flynn Talbot, will be the first London Design Festival installation to be housed in the V&A Museum’s Prince Consort Gallery.

The 35m long gallery has been transformed with orange lighting tubes that have been installed at one end of the gallery and blue lighting at the opposite end, making the entire space flood in a gradient of colour. One not to miss.


TIM SUMMERS DESIGNThe Wobbly Peyote designed and made by Tim Summers will be making an appearance as part of Cass Starters at SCP where students of The Cass were briefed by SCP to create small, simple, attractive and easily-shipped domestic products. After graduating, with the help of the London Met Accelerator (The University’s Student Enterprise Programme), they created Cass Starters was a series of individual Kickstarter campaigns, launched in October 2016 all of which were successfully funded, with some of the products now in full production.

A stand of the products of the Cass Starters designers will feature at SCP for the whole week and customers will have the opportunity to purchase these products through SCP.

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SIDESHOW: Architecture is a big part of design week as well and in the last few years, London has had an increasing number of pop-up spaces and installations dotted around the city. In a piece, discovering and celebrating designs that make London a more fun place to be, Time Out London have featured Sideshow along with Villa Walala in Broadgate’s Exchange Square and Modified Social Benches at the Southbank Centre as places to visit this Design Week.

On Saturday, Sideshow will be hosting a Musical Mobiles Workshop where multi-disciplinary artist and designer Lola Lely will guide people in creating a beautiful sculptural object using an assortment of materials, and how to combine colour, shape and texture to create a finished mobile that responds to it’s environment – perfect to display in your own home or give away as a gift. More info and booking here.

Sideshow opening times for LDF are Mon – Fri 9.30am-11am, Sat 10am-2pm, Bar open Thurs & Fri 6.30-11pm.



DARKDOOM: A Graphic Installation of foliage named GREEN ROOM will be at Old Shoreditch station, launching the new collection of planters. Join them on Tuesday 19th from 6pm-10pm for drinks and dancing, sitting amongst the leaves, browsing the mini Darkroom pop-up shop and enjoying a coffee at the relaxing festival pitstop.

Co-founder of Darkroom Rhonda Drakeford, will be hosting a workshop at Sideshow next month in making your own stylish chopping board. Details and tickets can be found here.



Do try to pop along to some of these and there is an array of other things to see across London. It’s weeks like this that give people the opportunity to salute the creativity in London and remind us of the incredible the talent around this vibrant city we live in.

Visit: http://www.londondesignfestival.com/

Join us for Open House Weekend

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We are delighted to be a part of Open House London this year.

Open House celebrates London’s architectural wonders across the city, by giving free access museums, churches, public buildings and private houses that would usually be closed to the public. Over the course of the weekend, people can go on guided walks, tours and take part in activities, learning something new about some of London’s most beautifully built buildings.

Not only will the Workshop be opening it’s doors for Open House but so will SIDESHOW this year.

Architect Mathew Leung from the Turner Prize winning  collective Assemble will be hosting a tour of the Workshop and its recent developments at 2pm. Click here to book.  You’ll get to hear directly from Mathew about its initial stages to the development of the project and how the extension has responded to the ever-growing needs of the workshop and it’s facilities to it’s 800+ members.


Meanwhile, over at SIDESHOW ehk! architects who designed the ‘stage set’ that forms the backdrop of SIDESHOW, will be running a workshop making your very own paper cut diorama stage set of Walthamstow’s industrial past and bright future. In their design for SIDESHOW, they drew on the area’s industrial past and the skyline that this produced and are fascinated by how the buildings that form the backdrop to our lives can tell a story about the way we live through time. Tickets can be booked here.

The Workshop and SIDESHOW will be open to visitors from 10am to 4pm.

For more about Open House and other intriguing places to search out, visit: https://openhouselondon.open-city.org.uk/

And We’re Live!


On Wednesday, we opened the doors to SIDESHOW and we celebrated in style.

Thank you to everyone who came to help us kick of this new project with a bang! Our thanks goes also out to Cllr Clare Coghill Leader of Waltham Forest Council and Matthew Weiner from U+I for their kind and encouraging words. Thank you to Wheel Up Sound System and Mbilla Arts Group for entertaining us with the and providing some foot popping beats which definitely help set the vibe for the evening. We of course also want to thank Victory Gin, Wildcard Brewery and MyPie for the delicious food and chilled beverages on what was a lovely summer’s evening for a party!

And you! Thank you for marking this occasion with us and for always supporting everything we do.

Want to relive last night and see if you can spot yourself in some of our other photographs? Head on over to www.blackhorsesideshow.co.uk/blog/


Photos © Simon Way

Slide back the doors…

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It’s amazing to see how with bagfuls of energy, enthusiasm and an imaginative frame of mind, a place can be transformed. We can’t wait for you to see the colourful change to a small former car park opposite Blackhorse Road tube.

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Our brand new installation: SIDESHOW opens this Thursday 17th August with its incredible giant marble run, a fantastic interactive exhibition installation and a new outpost for Wood St Coffee, not to mention just what’s needed – a bar open every Thursday and Friday night.

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So come down and see it for yourself. Sign up to our mailing list to hear all the events we’ve got coming up and spread the word!


Walthamstow Garden Party


What a weekend! The Walthamstow Garden Party was an absolute hoot this year. We had the pleasure of being able to join other wonderful teams and makers including Sylva Ceramics in the Be Magnificent craft marquee for the Be Magnificent Art Trail.


This year’s making tent was inspired by the art school curriculum taught in the 1950s and 1960s, focusing on practical craft making skills. The entire programme is part of the summer-long event ‘Be Magnificent: Walthamstow School of Art 957-1967′.


We helped children create and assemble a ‘Blackhorse Pegasus’ a kinetic toy inspired by the mythical legend of Pegasus – a winged horse, that was designed by our very own workshop wizards, Rob Shaer and Toby Poolman. We took the children through the different stages of bending metal with a sheet metal folder. drilling and hammering names, fixing nuts and bolts to attach the wings, before transforming wire to become support to allow the toy to fly.


We had a lot of fun and made almost 160 Pegasus toys in total. It definitely got us geared up and excited for the kids holiday club workshops we will be running over the summer with Make Stuff Club, full of activities to keep the kids crafty over the summer holiday.
Want to know more? Click here for details and for booking.

SIDESHOW Comes to Town

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We’re excited to announce that we’re building a brand new summer installation in partnership with specialist regeneration company U+I to celebrate the maker culture of Walthamstow .

SIDESHOW will be situated on the original site (opposite Blackhorse Road tube) of the Associated Equipment Company, whose prototypes inspired the design of London’s iconic Routemaster bus.

Opening on the 16th August and running until the end of December , the space will host a series of workshops, exhibitions and a giant interactive marble run, built from salvaged London bus components!

Coffee wizards Wood St Coffee will be running a coffee pop up during the day, and a bar on Thursday and Friday evenings.

Sign up to the mailing list and find out more at www.blackhorsesideshow.co.uk


New Designers 2017


Championing the design industry, design education, design consumers and the next wave of graduate designers, the New Designers exhibition last week brought 3,000 of the best design graduate talent from leading design courses across the UK. The show allows visitors to buy new products and commission or recruit the newest designers in the industry.


New Designers also likes to stay involved with the progress of all of it’s exhibiting designers in a segment they call One Year On.  This year, Blackhorse Workshop member Tim Summers was among the selected line up showcasing his Suber Collection, a group of products made from layers of cork.

“I got involved with New Designers, One Year On through exposure from the Crafts Council Hothouse scheme. The organisers had seen my profile on the Crafts Council Directory and invited me to apply. I hadn’t previously exhibited at New Designers when I graduated but I had heard good things about One Year On and thought it would be a good goal to work towards as the year progressed.”


Talking about how New Designers helped his career Tim tells us, “In the run up to the show the Curator of the One Year section Rhianna Lingham and her team, along with event partners The Design Trust and the events PR company Colman Getty all offered huge amounts of helpful advice in preparing for the event. There was a preparation day with presentations from previous exhibitors on their experiences, Patricia Van Der Akker from The Design Trust offered advice on things like targeting the right markets and pricing and Yeshen Venema gave tips on photographing work. There were also 2 webinars that participants could subscribe to for further tips and advice. As an exhibitor its a great opportunity to meet press, trade and general public and its a great opportunity to practice talking about your work and presenting yourself.”


You can see what else took place on social media by searching the hashtag #ND17 and follow Tim’s story and other designers who showcased in the One Year On category by searching the hashtag#OYOMakerSpotlight.Visit his website at:https://timsummersdesign.com


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We’re excited to announce that we’ve partnered with William Morris Big Local to run a pilot holiday club for kids aged 8-13. We’ll be launching it at next week’s Walthamstow Garden Party where we’ll running workshops on Saturday and Sunday to make the ‘Blackhorse Pegasus’ – a winged mechanical push along horse toy. Who knew that was what you were missing from your toy box?!

The  MAKE STUFF holiday club will then continue on Wednesday’s throughout August, with workshops run by specialists from the workshop making everything from samba drums to salvaged scrap fortresses!

Each workshop costs £5 and is bookable on our website. Priority booking available for residents of William Morris Ward. So give yourself a holiday and send the kids to us!

Click here to find out more