Monday, 24 October 2011

Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair

On friday a group of friends from college (Bev, Colleen, Joy, Jackie and myself) met up and travelled to Manchester for the Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair. Having visited it last year we knew that we would be in for a treat and we weren't disappointed. The contributors are selected by a prestigeous panel of experts from gallery curators, lecturers andcreative directors. The categories include ceramics, textiles, glass, jewellery, lighting, metal and wood.
Because of our degree course we were probably more interested in the textile products but certainly not exclusively so.

This young artist Yu-Ping Lin produces textiles and jewellery inspired by Origami and was very happy to let me handle and turn her amazing 3D constructions.

Another young jeweller working with gros grain ribbon, under the name Maneggi   produces an incredible selection of affordable pieces. Jackie and I were delighted with our purchases, especially as it means I have now officially started my Christmas shopping.
Rosie's Armoire have a collection of french vintage inspired accessories but I was particularly inspired by her brooch collection as I'm just getting geared up to produce some myself based on my own drawings of all things natural.

I also liked the way Anna Wales combined little felt balls with precious metals to produce some exquisite jewellery.

Jackie and I had a lovely chat to the textile artist Caroline Kirton who has recently featured in Embroidery magazine. She told us that her work is inspired by observing her teenage daughters and their friends. I was taken with her use of text, also inspired by teenagers.

Clare Lane was exhibiting some huge canvases incorporating printed, stitched and mixed media inspired by the urban landscape. I was a bit aghast when I realised that the two designs, based on the Transporter Bridge and the Angel of the North, that I had been commissioned to do for a client in Abu Dhabi and had just sent off for printing, were as bit as Clare's biggest ones!

We also enjoyed a long chat to the artist behind &Made who had some simple but beautiful cushion made with quality materials. She told us about her studio in the Design Centre in the northern quarter of the city centre, so when we had completed visiting all of the GNCCF stands we took ourselves off there. It was well worth the visit so next time you are in Manchester pop in. We can recommend the little cafe in there where we stopped for a welcome cuppa and slice of cake.


  1. Seems like MUCH more than a year since we all visited the Fair with the college. Looks like it was another excellent year for craft work-some lovely examples. I am off to Manchester myself, for a rock concert. I also hope to visit the Whitworth's art,textile and wallpaper design collection, as there wasn't time last year.
    Good luck with your jewellery collection :-)

  2. PS forgot to congratulate you on your commissions for Abu Dhabi........your design career is obviously on the up BRILLIANT NEWS!!!! Glad your lovely designs are being recognised in the marketplace.

  3. Thanks Chris but it must sound grander than it really is. I'm just experimenting with some fabric brooches but not sure how they will turn out. Having worked really large scale for my Final Major Project I thought it would make a nice change to do some more delicate things.
    Enjoy the Whitworth. Paul and I went a few years back to see an exhibition about "Journeys", as it included some Japanese woodblock prints featuring the road from Edo to Kyoto.