Continuing our amble round London's independent bookshops
This may be our first bookshop visit where we're more interested in what lies beneath. The Bookbox is a great bookshop, doing a lot with a very small space, but in its basement is an unexpected treasure: a pottery painting studio. Open during the days on Fridays and weekends (and by arrangement on evenings for parties), you can nip down here, buy a plate, mug, vase or anything else they have on offer, paint it and the shop glazes and fires it for you. We saw an exquisite half-finished teapot that a local woman keeps coming back to work on - when it's finished and fired it will be astonishing.
It's thirsty work and you can buy a cup of tea or coffee for a quid, or go with friends and take your own booze. If you're really lucky, the owner might have baked. With schools increasingly no longer having their own kilns, this is a great place to get hands-on with some very accessible art. The Bookbox is also building a mural from tiles made by local kids, which we think is brilliant.
The Bookbox, 53 Chatsworth Road Hackney. Pottery studio is open Friday and Saturday 10am-6pm, Sunday 11am-4pm. There's a £3.50 studio fee + cost of item, ranging from £13 for a teapot to £3 to a Christmas stocking name plate. Images author's own. Know a good bookshop? Email us at londonist (@) gmail.com.
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