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arts and crafts
you be of the age to remember Carnaby Street, W1, you may well
find yourself wondering, as you attempt to make your way up
Camden High Street, why you are experiencing this sudden flash
of déja vu - that's because Carnaby Street was hoisted
up out of the West End and dropped here on the fringes of the
London Borough of Camden some 30 years ago only no-one noticed,
or at least no-one's letting on. Of course, you realise, the
same day-glo jewellery and 60s paraphernalia is still here intact
with its union jacks and bright fluorescent paint box colours.
There is a lot of tourist time and money to be made out of the
60s and we loved them so much didn't we, that we can't bear
to let them go.... However,
don't let his put you off in your search for what the Camden
markets offer in the way of arts and crafts - there is a wide
selection here. Every visit to the markets is a unique experience
- there are always new things to see and buy: with arts and
crafts from all over the world: jewellery, paintings, sculpture,
ceramics, woodwork and art objects from Africa, Spain, Japan,
India, the South Seas and France to name but a few of the countries
The East and West Yards of Camden Lock
Market have a large range of goods both in the permanent
shops around the yards and on the stalls which change quite
often and are a good starting point for your visit to Camden.
Here you can find a range of jewellery, musical instruments,
children's wooden and metal toys, and next to the canal there
are lots of places to sit and watch the world go by. One of
the longest-standing jewellers is Roger Stone, in the
West Yard, near the canal. Roger has recently produced a range
of cufflinks in sterling silver, some in the shape of teapots.
Should you be keen to purchase some tribal body adornments then Tribu have a ground floor shop in Camden Lock Market Hall full of nose and ear jewellery in
bone and other materials. Also in this hall you really can find some 'designer'
bargains before they get snapped up by the mainstream shops
Upstairs overlooking Camden Lock Place there are
hand-made paper lamps and flower soaps; prints by a local Camden
artist and near the exit to the East Yard Fabrice Jouet
is selling small framed colour photographs of the rich colours
and textures of the Brittany coastline - ideal for creating
a calm space in your workplace.
Blue Rock - Fabrice Jouet
You can also have your meditation wand custom made by one of
the few remaining 'characters' in Camden Lock Market, Steve
Chard of Rainbow Visions. Steve uses precious
and semi-precious stones which he says have a balancing effect
on the chakras - if you don't know what a chakra is then visit
Steve's stall - he is a mine of information on all things weird
and wonderful. There is, he says, a resurgence of interest in
his wands and magical objects since the making of films such
Lord of the Rings.
||In the Stables Market in the Catacombs is Akwaaba
Galleries where you can browse amongst a huge collection
of African masks and linen wall hangings in rich shades of dark
chocolate, sand and burnt orange. Nearby in the Arches
you can find many small, inexpensive gift items such as giraffe
design letter-openers; jewellery made out of camel bone, decorated
in different colours; vases and bowls in all colour of woods
- some painted, some just waxed to reveal the pattern of the
The vast majority of shops and stalls in The Stables Market
sell clothing and antiques but there are a few stalls where
you can find designer jewellery such as bracelets made out of
antique forks and spoons with semi-precious stones.
the passageway heading towards the Triangle Arches further into
Stables Market and near to Cyberdog you can find more modern
ceramic and silver wire jewellery in bright translucent shades.
In the warehouse, to the right contemporary 'vintage' jewellery
is well represented here, much of the pieces have been created
anew, using coral, jet and silver filigree. Cyberdog
features a gallery of recycled art objects and sculptures made
out of old radio parts, tape-recorders and washing machines,
with flashing lights and LED's; more suited to a club or bar
than the home.
As yet Unknown art gallery is tucked away in the Stables Catacombs and features an ever-changing selection of original works from up-and coming artists. On the first floor of the old Gin Palace in Stables is Proud Gallery, two floors of outstanding & exclusive rock photography with free entry.
It has to be said that shopping in the Camden markets always
has that quality of serendipity: you may go looking for something
specific and then find yourself drawn to objects that you would
never have thought of buying. Added to that is the atmosphere
which remains unchanged through the years and which is rooted
in the architecture and industrial archaeology of the Regent's
Canal - this area is one of a few remaining examples of Victorian
London. After wandering around the stalls there is nothing better
than sitting by the lock with a cool beer or, in winter, a hot
chocolate watching as the barges glide along the canal.