Sarah Mayhew Craddock gets creative at a Christmas making space

At a time of year when the consumer goods industry is booming, an interactive exhibition at an Oxford gallery showcasing work by some of the UK’s most accomplished designer-makers, reveals the resonance of process and the delight to be gained from delayed gratification.

The Old Fire Station, in George Street, is displaying work by three of the gallery’s best-selling makers in an exhibition that includes special commissions, one-off pieces, and workshops delving into the processes behind the practice of exhibiting practitioners: Miesje Chafer, Kina Gorska of Kina Ceramic Design and Kitty Farrow and Gift Wrap HQ of The Compartment Store.

The space’s retail co-ordinator, Harriet Peacock, said: “We’re passionate about craft as an art form, and about supporting local and UK designer-makers as they sell their own work.

“Come along, find out more about what they do, and create a unique gift you won’t find anywhere else.”

Oxford-based illustrator, textile and print designer, Miesje Chafer uses screen printing to transfer her bold and colourful designs to create distinctive, tactile fabrics that are transformed into functional and beautiful products ranging from purses to pillowcases.

Inspired by the range and quality of service offered in old-fashioned department stores the aim of The Compartment Store is to put ‘thoughtfulness back into gift giving.’ For this show, Kitty Farrow is opening up the store’s adapted wardrobe trunk doors to reveal a handsome range of handmade stationery, journals, tokens and tags in readiness for Christmas.

The third exhibiting maker is Yarnton-based ceramicist Kina Gorska, of Kina Ceramic Design.

From her studio Gorska creates eye-catching, playful porcelain crockery, such as body-like parts or usable objects.

Included is a contemporary porcelain tableware and homewares range. Kina combines clean simple forms with unexpected elements to create a range of striking quirky ceramics.

She said: “My designs invite their users to play with them and find their extra function.”

Describing the labour of love involved in the process of realising an artistic concept as a physical object, she explains the stages – from concept to sketch, clay model, plaster model, plaster mould, the pouring of the porcelain and the three-tier firing process: bisque firing, high firing and decoration firing, all required before her objects are finally ready to be used.

Peacock says: “In an age when you can go into a chain store and pick up something pretty but mass-produced, we want to show people what goes into making things by hand, and creating something beautifully individual. We’re hugely proud to support makers by providing a platform for their work.”

She adds: “Oxford has a great range of independent shops, with people producing amazing work. We’d love to welcome people into our shop to help them find the perfect present.

“Buying from us not only supports UK designer-makers, it also contributes to our work with Crisis, providing opportunities to get involved with unique projects for homeless people.”

* Meet the Maker: Miesje Chafer. December 19, 1–2pm and 2–3pm. Learn to make origami Christmas decorations. £5 Tickets: 01865 305305.