The Pavilion Craft blog

Bringing you the latest news about our craft books


Author of Tie & Dye and artist Lizzie King will hold a one-off tie dye workshop, ‘Get Rich or Tie Dyeing’, with the CASS Sculpture Foundation this April. You will leave knowing how to fold, swirl and scrunch your fabric to make amazing patterns and effects.

Go all out with a flurry of tropical colours, or choose to use your own favourite hues - it’s entirely up to you! Dye, a pair of socks, and a plain T-shirt per person are all included in the ticket price. Rubber gloves and aprons will also be provided.

Where: CASS Sculpture Foundation, New Barn Hill, Goodwood, PO18 0QP
When: Sun 23rd April, 2-3.30pm
Tickets: £30.00 (members £30.00)

Buy tickets here.


The WI Fair is taking over London’s Alexandra Palace at the end of this month, with four days of crafts, arts, food, shopping, travel and much more. During the course of the fair you can meet our authors Sarah Hamilton and Chinelo Bally, who are giving demos at The Craft Theatre, and join Paper Home author Esther Thorpe for an origami workshop.

Origami diamond workshop
With Paper Home author Esther Thorpe a.k.a. Origami Est
Friday 31st March 2.15pm–3.15pm
Tickets are £8 and can be booked in advance here

Screen printing demo
With House of Cards author Sarah Hamilton
Saturday 1st April 12noon–12.45pm, The Craft Theatre

Freehand Fashion demo
With ‘Great British Sewing Bee’ finalist and Freehand Fashion author Chinelo Bally
Saturday 1st April 2.30pm, The Craft Theatre

The Craft Theatre demos are free, but visitors will need an entry ticket to The WI Fair, which is on at Alexandra Palace, London, 31st March – 2nd April.


If you are heading to the Spring Knitting & Stitching Show this week, make sure you swing past the Creative Living Theatre. Chinelo Bally will be there, signing books and sharing her tips for making clothes with the freehand cutting method. You can also watch the award-winning animation Nudinits. Sarah Simi, the animation’s creator, is there on Friday and Sunday talking about the inspiration behind the animation and signing copies of the Nudinits book.

Freehand Fashion with Chinelo Bally
Friday 3rd March 11.15am–12noon
Saturday 4th March 3.45pm–4.30pm

Nudinits animation screening
Thursday 2nd March 5.15pm–6pm
Friday 3rd March 3.45pm–4.30pm
Sunday 5th March 3.45pm–4.30pm

The Creative Living Theatre demos and screenings are free, but visitors will need an entry ticket to The Spring Knitting & Stitching show, which is on at London Olympia, 2nd–5th March.

Sarah Hamilton (Credit Fiona Murray)LR RGB

Sarah Hamilton is a London-based artist and card designer whose work is inspired by colour, nature and midcentury design. She is the founder of the Just a Card campaign, which encourages people to buy from independent designers and retailers to help them stay in business, even if it’s ‘just a card’. In her new book House of Cards she shares her passion for the very British tradition of greetings cards. We caught up with Sarah for a chat about her favourite craft.

What was the inspiration behind House of Cards?

The aim is to celebrate greeting cards, not only the many beautiful images and wealth of creative talent behind the designs, but also their wider cultural significance. Cards are so much part of our everyday lives, we mark so many occasions with them, yet their impact often goes unnoticed. They provide an income to so many, and also support numerous charities and galleries. The huge role they play in peoples livelihoods was the impetus to my starting the ‘Just A Card’ campaign, which emphases how vital every sale, even ‘Just A Card’, is to artists, designers and galleries. They’re great fun to make, as we hope lots of people will discover from the projects in the book, and they’re even more fun to share.

How did you go about selecting the contributors to House of Cards?

We were keen to showcase a wide range of mediums and varied styles so people could be inspired by new techniques and experiences, or sit back and relax and enjoy a wealth of stunning designs. Co-ordinating this was no mean feat however, though it helped that I already knew, or knew of, many of them for making wonderful artwork, from years of experience in this world. I’d met Jakki Brown from Progressive Greetings as she’s very supportive of Just a Card, and as she’s as passionate about greeting cards as me. I was thrilled when she agreed to write the history of cards chapter. Jehane Boden-Spiers is such a great champion of the artists she works with that I felt she’d be the perfect person to write an honest and informative chapter about licensing designs – she didn’t dissappoint – her chapter is filled with fantastic information. We also wanted to feature some international artists, and this is where Instagram joined the party as I’d spotted Lynn and Kathryn’s beautiful artwork there. 

How did you get into card making?

When I left Central St Martins I was desperate to continue screen printing, but there was the small matter of bills to pay, so I struck on the idea of printing cards. Having constructed a basic, inexpensive silkscreen press I set about printing a range of designs on off-cut paper scavenged from a local business. Necessity is the mother of invention if you’re a recent arts graduate! Fortunately lots of retail buyers loved them, which resulted in orders from stores including Paperchase, The Conran Shop and Designers Guild. Even now, after all this time, card making is close to my heart. I still produce hundreds of cards a year in my studio, alongside prints, drawings and homewares. I see them as pebbles leading people to my work and I’m often told people collect and frame them. The handmade press featured in House of Cards is the very same one I started on all those years ago too.

What is your favourite cardmaking/printing technique?

I began my card making career by hand printing all my designs. I’m a screen printer at heart, and love making cards using delicately cut paper stencils. I enjoy cutting the stencils as much as printing with them, as my bird and oak leaf project in House of Cards illustrates. Nowadays I mix my techniques and enjoy manipulating digital imagery. I often make paper cutouts of shapes on black paper, then scan these into the computer. This gives me the freedom and flexibility to experiment with scale and layout. Whilst all my designs begin as drawings, I find the computer a fantastic tool to extend my visual language. Prints look so different when you alter scale, repeat and colourways and this voyage of discovery is what I enjoy most about my work.

HouseofCards_LR_RGB(credit James Balston)

Where do you find inspiration for new card designs?

Like most artists my inspiration is far ranging, from nature, folk art, music, travels, 1950’s design – the list is endless. I wrote a chapter in House of Cards about gathering inspiration and also about my collections of pebbles, leaves, seed heads and objects. Natural forms recur thoughout my designs, as do images collected on my travels. I hope the chapter will help readers develop an eye for observation and be encouraged to translate this into their own designs.

Can you describe your workspace for our readers?

We have an unusual Mid-Century house in Dulwich, South London. It’s set in woods, with views over the trees towards the city beyond. My studio is at the top of the house with large windows which maximises light and views. It has a woooden floor painted white and is clean and tidy…ish, with shelves of objects and colour swatches pinned up for inspiration.

Tell us about the Just A Card Campaign, what made you start it?

The Just A Card campaign aims to encourage people to support artists, designers and independent shops by stressing that every sale, even ‘Just A Card’ is vital to their livelihoods. The idea came from the quote ‘If everyone who’d complimented our beautiful gallery had bought Just A Card we’d still be open.’ This simple observation, by gallery owners who’d recently had to close their gallery, prompted me to act. We so need to encourage people to support wonderful independent businesses, so they survive and flourish, otherwise we’ll lose them. The campaign goes from strength to strength. There’s now a wonderfully committed  team of  seven artist/gallery owner volunteers working on it. At Christmas we had a 1.3 million reach on social media. It makes me so proud to see how many people value our amazing creative community. Read about the campaign and meet the team on

Do you also like to send and receive cards in addition to designing them?

I love sending and receiving cards! Christmas cards especially are such a lovely way to keep in touch over the years. I wish more people would write personal messages inside – I love hearing what my friends and family are up to. There’s a very interesting chapter in the book about the history of cards, written by Jakki Brown from Progressive Greetings, which talks about our nationwide passion for sending and receiving cards. Jakki is as passionate as all of us at the Just A Card team are about the joys of a handwritten card.

9781910904572House of Cards by Sarah Hamilton is out now!

Photographs by Fiona Murray and James Balston

Hands up everyone who want to try out raku firing from seeing it on ‘The Great Pottery Throw Down’ the other week! Here at Pavilion Craft HQ it certainly made us itching for attempting our own raku-fired sake sets. It’s not a technique for the faint-hearted – the risk of pieces exploding or cracking is high, and the results of glazing are unpredictable. But when it works, it produces beautiful results. Raku pieces are traditionally shaped by hand rather than being thrown, and are usually decorative. The word ‘raku’ derives from a Japanese expression meaning enjoyment or happiness. Read on to find out more about this fascinating firing process.


A crackled or crazed finish is characteristic of raku ware. Here a thin-necked vase is carefully lifted out of the fire using tongs.

Chaotic, elemental, volatile: raku is one of the most spectacular, dangerous and technically demanding of all ceramics techniques. Glazed pieces are fired for a short time at a high temperature in a raku kiln, which is smaller than a regular kiln and pyramid shaped. They are removed from the kiln when they are red hot and then either left to cool in the air, covered in combustible material in a ‘reduction chamber’ or plunged into water. There is nothing gentle about the process whatsoever – steam hisses, smoke billows and sparks literally fly. The risk of pieces exploding or cracking is high, and the results of glazing are unpredictable. It is truly a high-wire act for experienced potters and novices alike.

‘Steam hisses, smoke billows and sparks literally fly’

The raku style, originating in the sixteenth century, was a significant development in Japanese pottery. From that period onwards, modest hand-shaped chawan tea bowls, often crackle-glazed in subdued colours, became an important component of the tea ceremony.

Ceramic pot pottery raku fired pot

Raku-fired pots, such as this simple tea bowl, are a key element of the traditional Japanese tea ceremony.

The British studio potter Bernard Leach (1887–1979) brought his own version of the tradition to the West, installing a wood-fired Japanese kiln at his St Ives pottery in 1922. Since then, many potters around the world have experimented with the technique, notably the celebrated American ceramics artist Paul Soldner (1921–2011), who said: ‘In the spirit of raku, there is the necessity to embrace the element of surprise. There can be no fear of losing what was once planned and there must be an urge to grow along with the discovery of the unknown.’ The use of a reduction chamber after firing was Soldner’s innovation.

Clays used for raku must be able to withstand immense thermal shock. To increase resilience to violent temperature changes, ‘grog’, or some other form of temper, is added to the basic clay. (Grog is clay that has already been fired, then ground down to a powder.) After throwing or shaping, forms are left to dry and then bisque fired, the timings determined by their size and mass.

Raku lends itself to experimenting with masking out. Patterns, lines and shapes can be created during the glazing process by covering sections with wax or tape that will burn off in the firing, leaving the clay body exposed. Wax is useful for creating curves, while tape gives a more linear effect. Glazes need to be applied relatively thickly for the best results.

‘A perilous process requiring nerves of steel, steady hands, long tongs and protective clothing to negotiate safely’

The final stage is where the unpredictability and drama comes in. After an hour or two of final glaze firing at a high temperature – around 1000°C (1830°F) – the forms are removed from the kiln while they are still red hot, in itself a perilous process requiring nerves of steel, steady hands, long tongs and protective clothing to negotiate safely.

What happens next depends on how the pieces are subsequently treated. In traditional Japanese raku firing, the final stage is to cool the forms slowly in the open air. Cooling them quickly, by plunging them into water, produces different chemical reactions in the glazes, instantly fixing them and giving much more vibrant colour effects, but at the greater risk of ruinous cracking and shattering.

Alternatively, fired pieces can be removed from the kiln and dropped into the potential inferno of a ‘reduction chamber’, typically a metal dustbin filled with some form of combustible material, such as sawdust – although one enterprising ‘Throw Down’ contestant used a mixture of dried gorse, bladderwrack and manure. The bin is then covered with a lid, which can be sealed with clay around its rim to make it more airtight. The heat from the fired pieces sets the combustible material alight and, as it continues to burn, oxygen in the chamber is reduced until it is pulled directly from the glazes and clay. After the charred debris has been cleaned away and the scrubbing process has been completed, any unglazed areas will emerge black, while glazes will have an iridescent sheen. Crackled or crazed finishes can be achieved by leaving the piece in the open air before the reduction process.


Extracted from The Great Pottery Throw Down by Liz Wilhide and Susie Hodge. Out now!

Raku tea bowl picture by Joanne Moyes/Ceramics John Moyes.


The world of pottery was brought to life on our screens by the BBC series ‘The Great Pottery Throw Down’. Now it’s back with a second series, airing on BBC2 on Thursday 2nd February at 8pm.

Pavilion is very excited to be publishing the companion book to the series. The Great Pottery Throw Down is a vibrant illustrated book, offering a complete introduction to ceramic history, culture, art, craft and manufacture, and celebrating its rich global heritage on every page.

To celebrate the launch of the new series, we are giving away 3 copies of the book. Simply enter your details below for your chance to win.

    Tick the box to receive our monthly newsletter straight to your inbox.
    Please read through our terms & conditions on: Competition is open until 19th February 2017 to UK residents only.
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In Tie & Dye, Lizzie King shows how you can hand-dye your own clothing, textiles and accessories. Lizzie makes these colourful carnival socks every year in the run-up to the Notting Hill Carnival, but they work just as well for Mardi Gras made with green, gold and purple dye – or own choice of colours.

Lizzie’s top tip: I usually dye a few pairs of socks at once – you can get multipacks from markets and big high street shops

To dye three pairs of socks, you will need:


3 pairs of white 100% cotton socks • elastic bands • rubber gloves • jug • spoon

Dye • salt • 3 squeezy bottles • bucket • 3 plastic bags



1 Place two of your socks on top of each other on a clean flat surface. This is so that you get a matching pair.









2 Accordion fold your socks, starting at the top of the sock and folding all the way down to the toes.









3 Now secure with a tight elastic band on each end of the folded socks. Position the bands so that the socks are divided into three equal sections. Soak your socks in water, then squeeze out the excess water so they are damp but not dripping wet.

4 Mix up your dye and pour each of the three colours into your three squeezy bottles.







5 Hold your socks over a bucket, take the red dye and pour gently over one end section of the sock. For this project you don’t want to overlap the dyes to make a blended colour. Pour the dye up to the elastic band.

Remember that you have two socks folded together so the folds are quite thick. If you don’t want much white left on your socks, then poke the nozzle of the squeezy bottle into the folds of the socks and squirt some dye in there.







6 Now take the yellow dye and pour it over the middle section. Again squirt some dye into the folds, if you want.









7 Finally use the green dye to dye the last section of the socks. Squirt some dye into the folds of the sock, if you choose to.









8 Repeat the folding, tying and dyeing process on all your pairs of socks. Give the socks a squeeze and put each pair into a separate plastic bag. I usually wrap the bag around the socks then secure with an elastic band so that the dye won’t leak out and soak into the other parts of the sock. Don’t forget: green + yellow + red = brown.

9 Leave the socks in the bag for at least 12 hours. Rinse under cold water, then take the bands off and hang up to dry. Wash in the washing machine at 30°c then allow to dry.

The dye may run a little the first time you wash your carnival socks, so don’t wash them with anything white. After that the colours will be fixed and they are ready for the road!

Enjoy your socks and don’t forget to share a pic of them using tag #TieAndDye.


Find more colourful tie-dye projects in Tie & Dye by Lizzie King, out now.