Pullens Yards Open Studios
Clements Yard, Elephant & Castle, SE17 3QA
For those of you who haven’t visited the charming Victorian cobbles of Pullens Yards in Elephant and Castle, now’s the time! The Yards are home to a unique community comprised of artists, designers, craftspeople and creators in every avenue. This hive of creativity is made up of three streets: Clements Yard, Iliffe Yard & Peacock Yard. Built in the time of Queen Victoria, the streets are now the centre of London’s handcrafts.
Twice a year, in June and December, the artists, designers and craftspeople of Pullens Yards open their doors to share their creative talents – and the December Open Studios is here! There’s great food and drink, an endless possibility of finding unique, heartfelt Christmas gifts and lots of celebration of all things arts and crafts! We caught up with one of the organisers of the Pullens Yards Open Studios to find out a little bit more about what to expect.
Why do you host an open studio twice a year at Pullens Yards, and what can we expect at the Open Studio in December?
The studios open twice a year so artists can show their wares, and meet people, explain what they do, and maybe sell their items. The studios are where the artists work day-to-day. The artists themselves will be present in most of the open studios, and visitors will have a rare opportunity to see and talk to them about how they work.
All of the crafts practiced in the Yards have one thing in common: everything is handmade. In an increasingly robotic, mechanised, generic world, every piece in the Yards is unique. They vary in price, from a few pounds to a few hundred, but any would make truly special gifts or pieces for your own home.
Can you give us three reasons why people should come to visit the Pullens Yards Open Studios?
There are many reasons to come visit but here’s our top three! The destination: Pullens Yards are an unusual place to go with friends and family, rather than the usual day out. It’s a weekend pleasure to enjoy: there’s plenty to eat and drink as well as unique Christmas gifts to buy. The unforgettable atmosphere: experience skilfully handmade goods and live music on some of the last Victorian cobbled streets in London.
What artists can we expect to meet at the Open Studios?
Over 50 studios host a rich variety of artists and artist-makers; ceramicists, illustrators, jewellers, printmakers, furniture makers, rug, bag, doll and scarf makers, and more…
Several world renowned artists will be showing; ceramicists Billy Lloyd and Daniel Reynolds, painters Frank Bowling and David Cowley, lute and guitar makers Stephen Barber & Sandi Harris, and popular florist JamJar Flowers.
Why do you think venues like Pullmans Yards and events like the Pullmans Yards Open Studios are so important to London’s creative community?
Sir Terence Conran called Pullens Yards “the home of London’s hand crafts”. The people who work here are doing something increasingly rare in today’s world: working to learn and then apply manual skills. Computers, digitisation and virtual reality have no place in the Yards. They thrive on the idea that imagination and engaging with your materials are what matter most in creativity.
What is your favourite thing about the Elephant and Castle area?
It’s such a dynamic area, so mixed in terms of people on the streets – big contingents of South Americans, Africans and Italians, with all the cafés and food shops they favour. There’s two big universities, several big street markets, streets with lots of independent shops, and it’s just a stone’s throw from Waterloo and Soho.
Aside from Pullens Yards, where are your other favourite London hangouts?
I hang out here because I work here, when I am not working I love museums for their mixture of culture, ideas, cafés, and being great places to be with friends. Tate Modern is surely one of the best museums in the world, with everything from mind-expanding exhibitions to beaches to vast bookshops. And, one of the best balcony views in London.
Let us know if you visit the Pullens Yards Open Studios this December in the comments below!