DIY, local Markets and the best Turkish in Upton Park with K:SS Creations

As part of our exploration of East Edge talent, we met the lovely Sam Scarpa – a local creative who has just set up a furniture and jewellery workshop in her back garden in Upton Park. It was a drizzly Tuesday in October, and we drank Applecart Cafe’s finest coffee and chewed the East Ham fat (no not literal fat! it’s an expression guys, jeeeez). Scroll down for a blow by blow account of our catch up, as we talk DIY, local markets, and the best turkish restaurant on the Barking Road…


EB: We heard you are an East Edger… where is your hood? Are you a lifer or a newbie East Hammer?

K:SS: I live in Upton park, out the back of the stadium redevelopment, in a residential part. I used to live in West Kensington. I liked it but nothing happened there – it was kind of boring.

I wanted to buy a house so I mapped the city (where I work) as a central point and clicked on Upton Park. You know the station is really beautiful, so i went to google maps and clicked on the little man (laughs let’s call him Tim). So Tim and I went for a little walk around Upton Park on google maps and I thought, hmmm – it looks alright. The first time I came here, there was a celebration on – it was a sunny day and it had a real vibe. You know, people everywhere, it felt like a real community. Within 6 months, I had found a flat, well, it was more like a mould box than a flat actually. We had to take everything out. At one point I had an open plan bathroom- living room-kitchen so I could pee and watch the garden at the same time, haha! I did a lot of it myself – my bathroom sink was held up by a chair for 2 weeks and at one point I had no floor. I can’t believe I’ve been here 18 months now!

EB: Tell us about YOUR little corner of Far East {London}, what’s to love?

K:SS:  I love the community feel… I know my neighbours! And Community events like the Forest Gate festival and Woodgrange market. Oh, and Under the Stars… The first year, I went along not knowing what to expect – it was pouring with rain and I thought there would be no-one there. It was packed and amazing. People just chat. It’s lovely.

My foodie tip is ‘Alex’s’ on Barking road, just down from Tippy’s (of course I could have said Tippy’s but I bet everyone say’s that, right?). From the outside it looks like a takeaway but they also have a restaurant – a family affair run by two brothers. They have the most incredible attention to detail, and are so friendly –  they just love having people in. The meat is amazing (sorry, it is not for veggies!) – they do amazing lamb things with yoghurt, you know, proper turkish dishes.

On weekends, we ( Sam and partner Nick) love exploring… We’ll read East Blam (EB does happy dance), Whats On Newham (a nifty council app with all the local goings on listed) and LoveEast Mag to find out what’s on. We also love the markets like Wanstead Farmers Market, and the parks. We are big walkers so love Wanstead Flats, Wanstead Park and Epping Forest. I also want to recommend the boxing class at the Katherine Road Community Centre. It’s mental and a lot of fun. There is just so much available to do around here. This weekend we were at a Cheese and Beer festival in Stratford!

EB: Please can you explain K:SS creations for people who can’t be bothered to read the whole article, err, you know, the tweet version?

K:SS: It’s handmade, minimalist industrial jewellery and furniture. The idea is to make personalisation and bespoke affordable. Everything is handmade and customisable – I only ever make 10 items of anything, and can make things to order too.

EB: Sounds awesome! How did you get started?

K:SS: I was at my last job for around 3 years -a small start up. I enjoyed it and learnt a lot about marketing but I was getting a bit bored without any creative input. When I did up the house I had so much more fun with a drill and a brush than at work so I started making furniture for the flat. I couldn’t afford to buy it all – houses are expensive and I had all the tools!

The first bit of furniture I made was the Yomi dresser (a drinks cabinet). I wanted something open that would show glasses hanging and I couldn’t find anything that I liked so I made it myself. Lots of wood died in vain, but in the end, I made it.

I work from home, out of my spare room (when we don’t have a lodger) and garden. It’s amazing. I would never have been able to do this in Kensington. There are so many opportunities in Newham.

EB:  (in shock and awe!) So you had never actually made anything before?

K:SS: Er, no! (Laughs).

My dad is an artist so I grew up at the french equivalent of B&Q. So although I had never made furniture before everything felt familiar. Apparently as child I made stuff all the time, so when my parents moved out of my childhood home, I came across all this weird stuff I had made. It was a moment of ‘what am I doing with my life’ so I came back on the Monday and quit my job. Nothing motivates you to succeed like not having a pay check!

EB: Tell us about the name… is it a Prince thing (I just want your extra time and your…), haha! 

K:SS: Well my initials are KSS. So initially it was meant to be K-S-S but things run away with themselves don’t they, and people just read it as Kiss Creations so I go with that.

EB: What’s next in the K:SS-iverse? Can we expect world domination soon?

K:SS: We’ll be at quite a few local markets this year, but the big thing is I am moving to sustainable and ethically sourced concrete (as concrete is not great for the environment), so thats a big change. I will also be working with a jewellery collective, hoping to do pop up in Newham and Hackney if we can find the right space for it. I have just finished a great program with Allia Future Business, along with 33 other Newham based businesses, which was great for networking.

The dream would be to have a shop. How long it will take, we are not sure, but that is the long term plan. I really like the Newham side of things – I started it because I wanted to work here, and when you tell locals something is made in Upton Park they are so supportive. It’s lovely.


You can find Sam’s products on her website, or follow her on Facebook and Instagram. You can also catch her in real life and throw your pocket money at her at one of these awesome local markets…

 Urban Makers (Merry Makers @ Here East) – Wed 28 Nov, 5-8pm

Old Spitalfields Market, Shoreditch Sat 1 Dec, 10-5pm

Greatfield Community Market, East Ham – Sat 8 Dec, 11am – 2pm

For more information on our lovely hosts, the Applecart Cafe, you can find them here or check out their latest theatre offering as part of Voila festival. Tickets are on sale now…

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