And that was 2020!

It’s safe to say that 2020 has been a year of unexpected challenges for everyone. We would like to thank all of our workshop members, colleagues and participants who have kept us going. It’s the people who make Blackhorse such a special place!

Not to be held back by a pandemic, our members have produced some fabulous work this year. Oliver Jackson’s bespoke garden studios for those adapting to the new ‘work from home’ lifestyle, the 2020 Dezeen Awards collaboration between Dutch designers Atelier with members Adam Azmy and Saunders Seasonings (watch via our Featured Makers), (M)odel Maker Studio and Dusty Shaper’s interior furniture for the new Truman’s Brewery, Duterque Studio’s round cabinet mirror, and Lauren Wilson’s stunning ‘Joni’ side table to mention a few.

Despite the restrictions, we’ve also had the opportunity to work on some great projects this year. During the first lockdown we delivered 1000 kite kits to local residents, and worked with 10 artist makers from the borough to create a series of inspiring kite designs exploring all kinds of techniques – from CNC sharpie drawing to screenprinting to embroidery.

We were proud to be part of the first ever William Morris Design Line for London Design Festival, and hosted a great discussion on open source design with the founding designers of the Art Group of Extinction Rebellion not to mention a playful workshop with Taiwanese industrial designer Liang-Jung Chen of The Misused.

We were invited to take part in the British Council’s online Housewarming residency with Indian metalwork artist Sakshi Gupta , supporting her to realise her installation for their new HQ in Stratford opening next year.

And 2020 marked the start of our new creative activism programme: ‘Blackhorse Responders’ for 16-25 year olds from the borough. Broken into three sections – Make, Message and Mobilise, the programme takes issues participants feel passionate about as a starting point for creative activity within our community. Along the way we introduce new making skills, explore creative messaging, and how to activate an audience.

Ideas for sculpture, screenprinting, flashmobs and mosaics are all emerging as the first group of ‘Responders’ come to the end of the programme – addressing issues from racial equality, mental health, gang violence, female safety and Islamophobia. We’re looking forward to having them back in 2021 to make these ideas a reality.

We’ve also been lucky enough to have a stellar line up of contributors from Extinction Rebellion, Activate the City, Grrrl Zine, Steel Warriors, Led by Donkeys, Wood Street WallsCurator of the V&A’s Disobediant Objects showBank Job and artist Jerome Ince Mitchell. The next round of the programme will be recruiting in February next year – so spread the word!

We’re hugely grateful for the funding we received this year that has enabled us to carry on supporting independent creative businesses, work with our community and champion making! Lets hope for a better 2021!

Special thanks to:
Arts Council England
who supported us with their Emergency Response and Cultural Recovery Funds.

London Borough of Waltham Forest and the Barbican
who enabled us to deliver the Kit Kite project for 1000 local residents during lockdown.

Access: The Foundation for Social Investment
for their grant to uncover new income streams and support our future business planning

The Mayor of London
for helping us to develop the Responders programme and support young people from the borough.