South Bank Winter Festival

South Bank Winter FestivalIf I tell you I’ve been to the South Bank Winter Festival, I suppose you’ll expect pictures of roundabouts and santas and gluwein and chestnuts roasting on a open fire. And you’ll be right, there will be all that. But, this being the kind of blog it is, there’ll mainly be pictures from the Designer Makers Christmas Market which you can find tucked away under the Queen Elizabeth Hall, and another round of suggestions for Christmas presents with a Japanese flavour.

The Designer Makers Christmas Market has more than fifty designers from across the UK on show, selling jewellery, ceramics, textiles, homewares and prints. I found four Japanese Designers exhibiting, and all of them have some very covetable and reasonably priced potential presents on show.

Let’s kick off with Keiko Uchida, whose collection of accessories in kimono fabric was launched earlier this year. Keiko was previously responsible for Muji Europe’s accessories range and helped to design a number of their bestselling items. She comes from an artistic family; her mother is a well known kimono designer in Tokyo.

Keiko Uchida

I was very taken with her colourful sleep masks,

Keiko Uchida

while a matching kimono and fan might be just the thing if we get a good summer in 2014.

Keiko Uchida

Next comes Shizuka Miruta, whose collection of white tin-glazed terracotta cups and saucers is called The Beauty of Little Things. It brings together a European and Japanese sensibility and reflects her interest in the beauty of homely things.

Shizuka Maruta

Shizuka Maruta

She also produces witty peanut-styled jewellery and I loved how prettily she wrapped her gifts.

Shizuka Maruta

Jewellery designer Aki Mori is originally from Wakayama, not far from Osaka, but she’s been UK based for a good number of years. Her delicate gold and silver jewellery is inspired by floral shapes.

Aki Mori

Aki Mori

Finally, a designer whose work I admired recently in Clerkenwell; Takae Mizutani with her witty take on breakfast china.

Takae Mizutani

It would be great to see these salt and pepper pots sailing across the Christmas breakfast table.

Takae Mizutani

After visiting the designers I had a stroll through the stalls of the Winter Festival, which stretches along the riverbank to Jubilee Gardens. It has plenty of places to eat, drink and make merry and plenty of people around to enjoy it. There’s a variety of stalls selling decorated dishes, snow globes, Christmas decorations and more, but for me it was all about the food and the fun, with colourful cheeses stacked up like Christmas baubles,

South Bank Winter Festival

a traditional roast chestnut stall,

Southbank Winter Festival

Santa looming over a bratwurst and lager stall with the reindeers taking flight behind him

Southbank Winter Festival

and of course the roundabout at the top of this post, all lights and colour and memories of childhood.

The Designer’s Market continues until 22 December. It’s open 11 am to 8 pm.

The Winter Festival Christmas Market will be there until 24 December. It’s on Queen’s Walk, either side of Hungerford Bridge and it’s open Monday to Thursday 11am – 9pm
Friday, 11am – 10pm Saturday 10am – 10pm Sunday 10am – 9pm.

Southbank Winter Festival

4 thoughts on “South Bank Winter Festival

  1. I love the silk masks and the jewellery, so gorgeous! I’ve walked through the market on a few occasions but I’ve not properly browsed and time is running out. May make a visit on Sunday (no rain fingers crossed)!

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  2. Oh, I love those cups! They’re beautiful. I’d love to go and admire them in the flesh (or the terracotta?) but the only chance I’ll get is this weekend, when I imagine it’ll be absolutely heaving. Shoving through huge crowds is not my idea of a relaxing way to spend a few hours – particularly not this close to Christmas.

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