I know that Ali will be writing a detailed review of our visit to Origin at Old Spitalfields Market but I wanted to say what a privilege it was to accompany her. Ali is extremely knowledgeable about crafts and regularly visits exhibitions. She recognises exhibitors, can reference magazine articles and discuss themes which are inspiring them. The exhibitors respond to this with enthusiasm and are delighted to display their work and talk about exhibitions which have featured their work. One lovely exhibitor sighed and said "It is so refreshing to have an intelligent conversation!"
I was fascinated by the exhibitors as we walked around. They had stepped out of their workrooms to present their work to a wider public and they were part of their own display. There were textile artists wearing their scarves, milliners in extraordinary hats, jewellers glittering. My favourite was the Japanese ceramicist in a complex linen shift - when I held her featherlight bowls and turned them so that the cobalt glaze caught the light she smiled because she could see that I loved her work and it did not matter that I could not afford it.
I came away with a bowl and a mug by Sue Binns, a beret for MissM by Jo Gordon and a number of business cards.
I also came away with a completely different attitude to craft exhibitions. If you get the chance to visit Origin before it closes on Wednesday, seize it.
Ali, thank you for inviting me.