Tuesday, 16 December 2014

The Julian Francis Collection of prints and illustrated books at MMU Special Collections

Image and Word

The Julian Francis Collection of Prints and Illustrated Books

19 January – 27 March 2015

This exhibition of 50 prints and 50 illustrated books has been selected from the highly regarded collection of Julian Francis and spans a period of eight decades, starting from the end of the First World War, with an emphasis on the interwar period. The exhibition highlights the use of creative printmaking in both commercial and private presses and explores how artists work differently when creating wall-mounted pieces and book illustrations. Significant, and less well-known, artists are represented including Edward Ardizzone, John Farleigh, Barnett Freedman, Lucian Freud, Eric Gill, Enid Marx, Agnes Miller Parker, John and Paul Nash, John O’Connor, and Eric Ravilious.

Also on display will be a selection of material from the artists’ archives held at MMU Special Collections, giving further and unique insights into the artistic practices of some of these key figures in British art of the last 100 years.           

Image: Cover design and illustration by Barnett Freedman for Memoirs of an Infantry Officer by Siegfried Sassoon, Faber & Faber, 1931. © Estate of Barnett Freedman.

Opening Times
Monday - Friday  10am-4pm
Thursday  10am - 7pm
Saturday  12noon - 4pm

MMU Special Collections
Manchester Metropolitan University 
Sir Kenneth Green Library
All Saints
M15 6BH  

MMU Special Collections are part of the North West Craft Network.

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Three new members for the North West Craft Network!

The North West Craft Network is a gathering of curators, galleries, museums, Arts organisations, collectors and makers based in the North West of England, UK. Founded in 2012, our goal is to strengthen and promote high quality craft within the North West.

The North West Craft Network is delighted to welcome three new members. Lighting designer Claire Norcross, Jeweller and Silversmith Rachel Elizabeth Wood, and Vanessa McDermott, the recently appointed Director of Gawthorpe Textiles Collection.  

Here's a little more about them:

Aperture, Claire Norcross
Claire Norcross

Claire Norcross is best known for the range of designs produced whilst she was head of lighting at Habitat. Claire’s approach to lighting is to create sculptural objects which are illuminated and this is evident in her Ribbon, Aperture lights as well as the recent Crystalline light which was launched as part of the Design Reunion project for Habitat.
Claire’s design process is more closely related to that of a designer-maker, yet her work has developed a commercial edge and encompasses a wide range of materials, from paper to metal and glass. Claire is currently working on new ranges for her own company, Luminosity, as well as developing a number of freelance projects from her studio in Preston.

Rachel Elizabeth Wood

Rachel Elizabeth Wood is an international contemporary British jeweller & silversmith specialising in handmade bespoke pieces for all sporting and country enthusiasts.
Since launching Rachel Elizabeth Wood as a brand, Rachel has become one of the leading contemporary British jeweller/silversmiths whose work is collected internationally. Rachel's work has also been exhibited in a variety of prestigious institutions including The Goldsmiths Company and the Victoria and Albert Museum and The British Museum as part of Queen Elizabeth 11 Diamond Jubilee Celebrations.
Her contemporary jewellery and silversmithing combines precious metals and rare tropical woods. She specialises in wax carving using a selection of micro hand tools to ensure that her animals and figures take on a presence and character that are true to form.

Vanessa McDermott - Director, Gawthorpe Textiles Collection
Gawthorpe Textiles Collection is one of the finest collections of lace, embroidery and textiles in Europe.  Housed at Gawthorpe Hall in Lancashire, the collection was amassed by Miss Rachel B. Kay-Shuttleworth (1886 – 1967).  She was renowned for her expert knowledge and skills in needlework, and for her dedicated work with local communities.  Miss Rachel turned her ancestral home into a Craft House in order to keep alive the textile skills and techniques she feared were being lost.   - See more at: http://www.gawthorpetextiles.org.uk/about#sthash.hnBsTpy2.dpuf

Gawthorpe Textiles Collection is one of the finest collections of lace, embroidery and textiles in Europe.  Housed at Gawthorpe Hall in Lancashire, the collection was amassed by Miss Rachel B. Kay-Shuttleworth (1886 – 1967).  She was renowned for her expert knowledge and skills in needlework, and for her dedicated work with local communities.  Miss Rachel turned her ancestral home into a Craft House in order to keep alive the textile skills and techniques she feared were being lost.

Bringing a wealth of experience from community Arts projects, Tate Liverpool and Social Housing, Vanessa McDermont has recently become Director of Gawthorpe Textiles Collection. She hopes to continue to build on the legacy of Miss Rachel Kay Shuttleworth through creative public programming, supporting local makers, brokering new strands of community engagement and developing fresh ways of reframing the collection.

For more about the North West Craft Network, click here

Opportunity for maker studio share in Manchester

Jeweller Eve Redmond is looking for a fellow maker - not necessarily a jeweller - to share her studio at Manchester Craft and Design Centre with her. 

Here's what she says:

"Debbie O'Neil who I have shared my studio with for 11 years has handed her notice in. She is off to concentrate on her other business. So I'm looking for another maker to share with starting in the new year. Preferably an established maker. I'm happy to redo the studio and freshen it up and get rid of a lot of unnecessary stuff we've been hoarding for years. I'm being positive and looking at it as a fresh start. 

I can only cover the studio on Tuesdays & Wednesday so the person would need to be able to be there Mondays, Thursdays & Fridays and every other Saturday. 

It doesn't have to be another jeweller either! I want somebody committed!"

If you are interested please contact Eve by email redmondeve@yahoo.com and her mobile is 07930 604345

Thursday, 27 November 2014

The Maker Movement, Design thinking, Materiality, Multiples......a host of craft connections in Manchester

From documentaries about the Maker Movement to discussions on materiality, there's some deep and clever stuff going on in Manchester in the next few weeks that will interest makers and people connected with craft.

‘Maker’ & ‘Design Thinking’ Documentaries Screening
Cordingley Lecture Theatre in Humanities Bridgeford Street Building, University of Manchester
Thursday 4 December

Architectural Modelmaking, Bespoke Design & Construction. As part of an ongoing look at the role of Modelmaking in design, B.15:45 presents a screening of two highly acclaimed documentaries on the design and making field.  The two documentaries will be shown back to back from 17.30 on Thursday 4th December in the Cordingley Lecture Theatre in Humanities Bridgeford Street Building (Kantorowich Building where the B.15 Workshop and Exhibition are located).  
Each film lasts approximately 70 minutes. 


About the SEED B15 Modelmaking workshop

Material Matters Seminar
Manchester School of Art, MMU
Wednesday 10 December 2014

The exhibition in Special Collections looks at how different materials have been used in art, craft and design over the centuries and across cultures. Historic objects from MMU Special Collections and contemporary works by makers from Manchester School of Art illustrate how the choice of material changes how we shape and utilise objects; how the use of some materials hasn’t changed over centuries; and how new materials impact on object design and development.

The exhibition shows the ongoing importance of materiality to the artist and designer, and how far materials give expression to their work. The seminar will continue this discussion with presentations and conversations between practitioners and those interested and involved in material practice.

All are invited to send Alice Kettle (a.kettle@mmu.ac.uk) a sentence or 2 on your thoughts about materiality by December 8th 2014.
These will be distributed as a collection of thoughts for discussion.

Chaired by Alice Kettle, Senior Research Fellow, MIRIAD Manchester School of Art
Open event to all

(Dis) order: A compulsion to collect 
The Holden Gallery,  Manchester School of Art
27 November to 12 December 2014
This exhibition provides a focus for art works which gather together multiple things in order to make something new. Often, it is only when we see a collection of things all in one place that we have a better understanding of difference.

Featuring the work of Ian Hamilton Finlay, Susan Hiller, Torsten Lauschmann and Allen Ruppersberg

Little Northern Contemporary Craft Fair

Ok, so we're getting a bit boring about buying unqiue, handmade craft gifts this Christmas. But, honestly, what's not to love about it?

We've just received this information from the people at Little Northern Contemporary Craft Fair - the little sister of the Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair that happens in October.

Little Northern Contemporary Craft Fair
7 December, Altrincham Grammar School for Boys

Looks like a fabulous array of lovely crafts to buy for others and yourself. 

Featuring 45 specially selected designer-makers and artists selling unique handmade gifts for a bespoke Christmas from one off jewellery and fashion accessories to beautiful and functional ceramics, textiles and artworks for the home. 

Don't miss it - 7 December, Altrincham Grammar School for Boys. Check out the LNCCF web page here.

Great Northern Events, the brains behind the fair, are part of the North West Craft Network.

Buy authentic handmade craft gifts this Christmas in the North West!

Ring by Chris Boland at Little Northern Contemporary Craft Fair
Christmas is a wonderful thing, but it can feel a bit, well.....commercial.  Duck out of it all and you risk being branded an Ebernezer. Embrace it wholeheartedly and you feel a bit like a part of your soul is sucked into a black hole with every purchase.

But there are ways to negotiate the line between abstention and submitting totally to the siren call of the beautiful but treacherous consumer monster.

Buying handmade crafts is one way to do that. Crafts offer some of the most gorgeous and original gift ideas at any time, from jewellery to toys to gifts for the home. Plus by buying locally you support an artist, boost your local economy and pump energy into your community.

So circumnavigate the Christmas gift trap by buying local craft. What could be lovelier than buying something unique, handmade and buzzing with authenticity for your nearest and dearest? I think that's what you call a win-win situation.

The North West has many brilliant makers and plenty of places to buy their work. Here are just a few:

Little Northern Contemporary Craft Fair, 7 December 2014 at Altrincham Grammar School for Boys
An off-shoot of the wonderful Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair

Available at the Atkinson, Southport
The Atkinson, Southport
Their shop sells a range of delightful crafts for all ages

Manchester Craft and Design Centre

The Craft Shop at the Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester

Bluecoat Display Centre, Liverpool

Blackwell House - Cumbria
Sells lovely crafts in their shop  - all in the setting of a brilliant Arts and Crafts House. Part of Lakeland Arts

Gawthorpe Textiles Collection - Padiham, near Burnley
Closed for winter at the moment, but they sell fabulous knitting patterns inspired by the collections online via their Ravlery shop at any time. Great for the crafters in your life!

Harris Museum and Art Gallery,  Preston
Features a selection of small-scale craft pieces in their shop, usually by Preston-based makers

The NW Craft Network aims to promote and strengthen high quality craft in the North West. For more about the Network, click here.

Friday, 21 November 2014

Workshop results for the symposium: Building the market for collectors of contemporary craft in the North West

Image by Chris Payne
A bit chilly, maybe, but studio 6 at the Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair was a hotbed of ideas and discussion this October.

The North West Craft Network organised the symposium BUILDING THE MARKET FOR COLLECTORS IN THE NORTH WEST in conjunction with Great Northern Events, who are the brains behind the Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair.

We had four mini-workshop sessions addressing how we can build the market for collectors of contemporary craft. The results are published here. Lots of interesting stuff to absorb and digest, but it is noticeable that marketing features strongly in the section about what we should do, and building relationships (even, in one case, facilitated by sherry), comes over strongly in the 'what has worked' section.

Great to get together curators, makers, policy makers, agencies, collectors, directors and more to put out heads together and see what we can do.

The workshop results will feed into the future plans for the North West Craft Network so watch this space for the group's next steps.

Workshop 1
Ideas: practical to aspirational; general to specific

Do some research is needed into why the non-purchasing attendees of crafts fairs don't purchase.  They're obviously interested in craft, but could we investigate what is holding them back from buying?

Acknowledge snobbery
Getting craft from local makers on TV shows
Craft needs marketing
Craft Magazine on wrong shelf
Posters in public places
Cinema adverts
Get Art Schools to carry the ‘craft’ brand
We need to talk to brand and advertising and TV
Prada trusted brand – do we need a brand?
Have large brands advocate individual makers like they do with designers!!
Brand confidence
Raise awareness through a popular medium – Television – there’s too much cooking and baking!
More high profile personality to advocate
Use the word ‘Design’. Poor craft connotations are negative
Crafts mag off bottom shelf – should be with designer mags
How do we tap into brand led society
Grayson Perry – clear honest presentation
Sponsorship of craft exhibition by fashion design house

Show people it is not intimidating
Take time to talk to visitors
Talk about what you are wearing and what you buy
Wear what you buy
Communicate quality and craft stories to a wider audience (currently non-buyers)
Exhibit stories of why people craft (ordinary people)
Stress the ‘renaissance of quality’ in handmade items

Respect for makers
Communicate the crafters personality
Create aspirational pieces within my work
Be visible as a maker

Too few outlets for the region
Emphasis on degree/MA shows and further this to advocate and promote craft – free space
Taking craft to different levels by curating different shows and kinds of retail shows
Curate exhibition on a range of platforms
Have opportunities to bring related craft alongside Art/Craft exhibitions
New venues for new audience

Architects collaboration
Collaboration – bring in other institutions
Support each other and work to create opps!
Can galleries help? USA?
Networks – talk to people

Be an advocate for craft

Learn a craft yourself?
Direct engagement
Buy, buy, buy!

Curating exhibitions in a new way to attract new audiences
Promote work that is not only your taste
Seeing craft in different venues
When buying something from GNCCF, seller to give a card, saying something like ‘congratulations, you are now a collector’
Try to bring the fashionista’s market to craft
Mini craft shows with makers in office blocks

Stories of why people buy
Talks lectures – interior designers
Gallery: Talks and events for our public about craft
Re: Gallery Sector: Educate the public on the  levels of training and emotional input that makers put in
How to value time

Workshop 2

What has brought great engagement, sales or audiences?
What is your experience?

Positive attitude
Being engaging and likable
Being a good/nice person
Being approachable
Passion about your work
Authentic as a person – authentic work
Creating good work

Building a relationship with the customer
Building up relationships over time
You tell the story of the piece
Personal connection – hearing it straight from the maker
Sharing your story
Telling a story about my work – NOT sell the work
One on one conversation
Engaging with the audience – creates market
Never questioning my audience’s ability to understand or relate to my work
Want to be a friend of the maker/artist
Being there with your work and information the viewer

Social media
Digital portfolio
Website and marketing
Mailing list
New pieces of work promoted well.

Lecturing and demonstrations
Raising awareness of skill and creativity

Persistence – trying all avenues – not giving up
Repeating something – perseverance
Being visible and getting out there
Exposing friends to craft who wouldn’t normally buy craft

Exhibitions that are accessible
Get your work out there
Galleries are a barrier?
Finding the audience
Group exhibitions
Meeting the audience!
Gallery shop: Running events for people on our mailing list to come for private views to buy craft
Finding the right audience for your work

Let people help you
Networks for makers for mutual support
Engagement with focused makers to get involved with

Showing craft in the gallery space, presented as wearable art. Art/Jewellery crossover
Exhibiting art and craft together. This is an important route to getting the considerable audience for "art" to cross-over  into critically engaged "craft".
New events, fresh ideas for events, unusual locations
Immerse yourself in the commercial world
Public collections - allow public PR: open interpretation

Mentoring (both as mentor and mentee) appropriate to your stage of career

Endorsement by major galleries e.g. exhibitions

Do we have to differentiate between buyers and collectors?

Sherry for customers
Friends groups and patron groups
Showing that they are buying local

Workshop 3

Be a proactive maker

The value of buying something original
Enrichment of life

Talk to people and share my knowledge and experience
15 years of experience
Time and conversation at shows

Meet up to set up group
Build confidence of collectors as strong-minded independent thinkers

Opportunities for makers to meet potential customers
A platform for artists/makers and public to come together
Exhibitions – the opportunity to bring audiences and buyers together through events
Galleries could obviously offer shows and artists workshops and talks
Space in gallery shops and display cases
Open days where makers are there to speak through work at galleries
Curated and promoted contemporary shows to promote contemporary craft
Exhibition space

Using social media to promote contemporary craft
Shared mailing list clients
Share mailing lists Northwest

Workshop 4

Positive energy
Makers to be amazing self publicists (like Louise!)

Radio /TV presence
TV coverage showcasing workshops and makers
Strong digital audience

Making connections – more symposiums – more talking encouraging others to meet and discuss – common passion
More association

Maker support

Access to collectors (to develop the market need to understand the current market)
Invading the commercial world
An audience that is interested
We need an audience

More time and resources!
A job that pays – more opps for curators
Arts Fund awareness
Other ways to generate income

As a fine art curator I need educating about craft
Talks about how a piece could change their like
Promote long terms benefits for collectors
Potential buyers to be educated
Lectures from makers open to the public

Opportunities to connect with makers
More events in the NW
A secondary market
To support and promote for contemporary craft
Collectors group – share work
Open studios/meet the maker/local

Sale Arts Trail Christmas Bazaar

Sunday 23rd November 2014 12-7pm

Another brilliant opportunity to get a craft fix and buy an authentic handmade gift - Sale Arts Trail Christmas Bazaar opens this weekend. There are plenty of new & established makers presenting their work

Follow this link to Facebook to find out more

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Christmas Shopping launch at Manchester Craft and Design Centre

What if we all brought authentic, handcrafted gifts by talented North West makers this Christmas? The world - and certainly the North West - may well be a better place!  What's more, it's all laid on for us by wonderful people such as Manchester Craft and Design Centre.

They invite you to join them at Manchester Craft & Design Centre on 22 November, 2-5pm for the start of their Christmas season.

They've got the always-amazing Northern Quarter Boys Choir providing a festive backdrop of carols and feel-good tunes, free mulled wine & mince pies, a craft activity for all ages and seasonal specials at Oak St. Café.

Mmmmmmm. What's not to love?

Manchester Craft and Design Centre is a member of the North West Craft Network

Sunday, 2 November 2014

Jerwood Makers Open comes to Gallery Oldham!

15 November 2014 - 1 March 2015
Elemental Symmetries by Shelley James

November sees Gallery Oldham give a warm North West welcome to a touring show of cutting-edge craft.

The annual Jerwood Makers Open is a major commission that gives early career artists £7,500 each to develop new work and take artistic risks. Chosen from over 240 applications, the selected makers not only include two collaborative duos – the first time in the award’s four year history – but also offer a range of projects across different disciplinary backgrounds, from architecture and spatial design to more traditional craft-based skills in ceramics and glass.

This year the artists selected are ceramicists Hitomi Hosono and Matthew Raw, artists Revital Cohen and Tuur Van Balen, glass artist Shelley James and spatial storytellers FleaFollyArchitects.  Each has taken the opportunity to develop new ideas central to their individual practices. Between them they are experimenting with material, technical, conceptual and narrative concerns.  From a modern day Tower of Babel to a full sized pub front the result is a fascinating and varied exhibition by makers pushing the boundaries of their craft.

For more about the artists, click here
For visiting information about Gallery Oldham click here

Gallery Oldham is a member of the North West Craft Network

Friday, 31 October 2014

Material Matters at MMU Special Collections Gallery

IMAGE: © Manchester Metropolitan University Special Collections
22 September – 12 December 2014

Material Matters
is an exhibition that looks at how different materials have been used in art, craft and design over the centuries and across cultures. Historic objects from MMU Special Collections will illustrate how the choice of material changes how we shape and utilise objects; how the use of some materials hasn’t changed over centuries; and how new materials impact on object design and development.

To complement the historic collections, contemporary work by makers from the Manchester School of Art who work in both traditional and new materials is included, showing the ongoing importance of materiality to the artist and designer, and how far materials give expression to their work.


Opening Times
Monday – Friday  10am-4pm
Thursday  10am-7pm
Saturday  12noon – 4pm

MMU Special Collections Gallery
3rd Floor, Sir Kenneth Green Library
Manchester Metropolitan University
All Saints
M15 6BH

Tel: 0161 247 6107

MMU Special Collections is a member of the North West Craft Network

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Cleo Mussi at the Bluecoat Display Centre, Liverpool

Cherry Blossom Dreams, Cleo Mussi
The Bluecoat Display Centre is currently playing host to one of the UK's most significant Mosaic artists. With just a few days left until the show finishes, it's worth making the trip to mighty Liverpool to see the work of Cleo Mussi.

Cleo Mussi solo – Strange but Kawaii

12 September – 8th November 2014

This new show in Liverpool is a development of a joint show Cleo, 50:50 Inspired by Japan: Mosaic Textiles and Paper which was the result of a trip to Japan with her husband, the textile artist Matthew Harris, in 2010.

Mosaic mutants with teacup bodies and parrot heads, inspired by the Japanese mania for mobile phone charms, sit alongside more traditional wall-mounts of kokeshi dolls and shrines. ‘Japan is such a modern culture, and yet it’s got such an ancient culture within it. I loved all the mass-produced imagery,’ she says.

Cleo Mussi is an established Mosaic Artist and respected within the Applied Arts both Nationally and Internationally. Originally training at 
Goldsmiths in the late 80s she graduated from the textile department run by and a team of practicing artists and technicians who were knowledgeable and passionate about materials techniques and process. This quiet evolution in her working practice shows how the processes in her work have developed and matured with an obsessive emphasis on ‘Making and Materials’. Her interest in recycled fabrics, knowledge of pattern, print, weave and stitch translates easily into reclaimed ceramic.

Cleo Mussi is known for her humorous twists and attention to detail as observed in her solo touring installations: ‘The Crowd’, ‘A-Z- a hand book’ and ‘Pharma’s Market’-A live stock and produce show’.

She has also completed a number of large commissions for public spaces including The John Lewis Partnership in Solihull and The BBC Asian Network in Leicester.

For further information contact Samantha Rhodes by email at crafts@bluecoatdisplaycentre.com

Bluecoat Display Centre
The Bluecoat
College Lane Entrance
L1 3BZ
Tel : +44 (0)151 7094014

Admission Free
Open Monday – Saturday 10am – 5.30pm. Sundays noon – 5pm

The Bluecoat Display Centre is a member of the North West Craft Network
Cleo Mussi at the Bluecoat Display Centre

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Director of Bluecoat Display Centre reviews Symposium: 'Building the Market for Collectors of Contemporary Craft in the North West'

Saturday October 11 6-9pm at the
The Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair 2014

Angela Mann, Co-Director of GNCCF opening the evening
Bravely billed to take place from 6-9pm on a Saturday evening, the organisers of the recent symposium accompanying the Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair risked the pull of the sofa from the ubiquitous X Factor and Strictly, and instead challenged the brain cells of the invited 50 professional art world attendees to concentrate on the topic of “Building the market for collectors in the North West.”

The setting was the Old Granada studios where over 150 individual contemporary designer makers stands showed over the long weekend. The space itself was huge and cavernous, with a slightly industrial “New York” loft feel -and while it was occasionally just a little chilly, it offered an enviably spacious way to view the incredibly diverse range of exciting individual work by established and emerging makers. The symposium was further complemented by the Ornament exhibition curated by Kelda Savage, who worked with leading North West based galleries to show collectable contemporary craft along with key pieces drawn from the collections or recommended artists.

Stimulating presentations by James Beighton, the former curator of MIMA, Jo Bloxham, a collector and curator and Louise Gardiner, a practicing artist and maker, set the scene and opened the questions and discussions regarding the collectors market. My neighbour remarked how clearly and cleverly Beighton explained the way the context of a craft piece changed once it became part of a public collection in response to a question raised from the floor.

The final summary of the night by the Chair of the Crafts Council, Professor Geoffrey Crossick, impressed me personally. In it he referenced the regular euphemisms of “the collectors market” and emphasised instead the importance to individual artists survival rates from the sale of work. Crossick also made the relevant point of the role of the gallery in achieving these, and suggested that a useful addition for future similar events could be the perspective of a contemporary craft gallery with retail 

Dr Maureen Bampton
Bluecoat Display Centre

Images: Chris Payne


The audience

James Beighton, former curator at MIMA

Tim Milne of Artomatic talks at MMU Special Collections

PHYSICALITY is a language…The most powerful communications tool is what you don’t think about

As part of the Design Manchester 14 Festival, Tim Milne, of ARTOMATIC, will be talking objects and materiality in the Material Matters exhibition at MMU Special Collections on October 29th October at 12.00 and 2.00pm 

ARTOMATIC helps companies and agencies talk to their customers through the human language of objects and physicality. We devise, create and/or manufacture physical objects that tell stories.

The talks are free but spaces are limited. To book click here 

Programmed as part of Design Manchester 14

Monday, 29 September 2014

What is Jewellery? Exhibition opens at Manchester Craft and Design Centre 3 October

Christelle Bileci-Haddow  Mouse fur & silver ring (TMC Alumni 2014)
Expect the unexpected! 

Work made from unorthodox materials, crossing boundaries of fine art/jewellery. A curated selection of pieces made from a diverse array of makers and materials, featuring techniques such as taxidermy, leather, paper, fishing wire, expandable foam, metal, wood, resin and other materials that challenges the notion of wearable jewellery. 

The Manchester College Lecturer Eve Redmond, curates a Jewellery exhibition of international, national, former staff and FdA Jewellery and Applied Arts alumni as part of Manchester’s Free for Arts Festival 

The exhibition runs from 3rd October-12th October in the Space2 @ Manchester Craft & Design Centre.

Open daily Monday-Saturday 10am-5.30pm  Sunday 11am-5pm
Launch Friday 3rd October  3.30pm-5.50pm

Check out their Facebook event here

Min-Ji Cho  Rubber glove necklace  
Jo Pond  ‘Re-Tin’ & citrine  

Sunday, 28 September 2014

Top NW Museums bring stunning craft to Ornament at GNCCF

Propagation Project: Super Jumbo Nigella, Wave, Junk Mori (see below for more details)  

Some of our North West Museums are keen collectors of contemporary craft, and 2014 sees a unique event at Manchester's Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair that tells us something more about the top quality craft that can be found around the region.

Curated by Kelda Savage, ORNAMENT is a selling exhibition of contemporary craft by some of the UK's most eminent makers. It will run alongside the main fair and add something extra special to the mix of craft and design on display.  The show will tell the stories of some the UK's our best artists and makers, and of the North West Museums who have collected their work.

Not only that, there will be the chance to buy additional pieces by these artists - a fantastic opportunity to invest in a unique and remarkable handcrafted object to enrich not only your own life but future generations!

So go along and see mesmerising work by Alice Kettle (collected by the Whitworth); Bob Crooks (MMU Special Collections); Caroline Broadhead (Jo Bloxham); Kate Malone (Blackwell, the Arts and Crafts House); Junko Mori (Touchstones Rochdale), Michael Brennand-Wood (Bluecoat Display Centre) and Walter Keeler (Gallery Oldham)

Great Northern Events is a member of the North West Craft Network

More image details - Propagation Project: Super Jumbo Nigella, Wave.  This is the largest piece of Junko’s work produced to date.  Photo courtesy of Junko Mori and Adrian Sassoon

Saturday, 27 September 2014

How can we build the market for high quality contemporary craft in the North West?

Louise Gardiner (Speaker at the NW Craft Network Symposium) -
You Blow Me Away for COLLECT 2012 at The Saatchi Gallery

Key players within the national and North West craft community will come together on October 11 in Manchester for a vibrant symposium.

The Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair will be the host for this important event, and the symposium will be nestled right at the heart of this wonderful craft event in Old Granada Studios.

The participants will be around 50 invited curators, gallery owners, makers, collectors, museums (including many of the North West's most signficant craft venues), policy makers and educators – all people with a major part to play in building the market and their own unique perspective on how it can be done.

Three highly regarded speakers will set the scene

James Beighton, the former curator at MIMA 
Louise Gardiner, internationally renowned textile artist 
Jo Bloxham, Trustee of the Craft Council and an important collector and curator of contemporary Jewellery.
And then the group will go on to collectively and individually explore how we can all help to build the market for collecting of high quality craft.

The event is organised by the North West Craft Network in partnership with the Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair

Craft heaven! 9-12 October at the Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair

160 makers; 'Ornament' a new selling exhibition by some of the North West's most collectible artists; the Great Northern Graduate showcase of what's new in the craft world, and much, much more. What's not to love about the Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair!

Great Northern Events, the brains behind the fair, are part of the North West Craft Network

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

New North West Craft Network member! MMU Special Collections

Cow in a field (After Thomas Bewick's Kyloe Ox). Paul Scott’s Cumbrian Blues, 2007

MMU Special Collections.  Inspiring learning and creativity since 1898.

Top quality craft can be found all over the North West, and our recent North West Craft Network member MMU Special Collections has some real treasures. Here's their invitation to you to go and discover....

Tucked away inside the library of Manchester Metropolitan University, you will find MMU Special Collections. Described by one visitor as “serene and lovely”, our gallery space showcases the breadth of our art and design collections and archives which cover the historic, the modern and the contemporary. Recent exhibitions have featured Art Nouveau objects, children’s book illustrations from the 1960s, and products designed using cutting-edge digital technologies. Our Reading Room provides open access to our book collections, including more than 2,000 Artists’ Books, and our learning space is used to enable hands-on access to material. Our collections and archives continue to grow to reflect current practices and technological developments. The Manchester School of Art Collection includes contemporary craft and product design by makers and designers such as Assa Assuach, Claire Curneen, Patrick Jouin, Junko Mori, Gareth Neal and Jim Partridge. 
Access to MMU Special Collections is free and open to all.    
New Generation Gravity Stool, Jólan van der Wiel, 2014
MMU Special Collections, 3rd Floor, Sir Kenneth Green Library, Manchester Metropolitan University, All Saints Campus, Oxford Road, M15 6BH.
T. 0161 247 6107
Find us on Googlemaps

Full image details:

Cow in a field (After Thomas Bewick's Kyloe Ox). Paul Scott’s Cumbrian Blues, 2007, photograph courtesy of MMU Special Collections, © Paul Scott
New Generation Gravity Stool, Jólan van der Wiel, 2014, Photograph courtesy of Jólan van der Wiel, © Jólan van der Wiel

Friday, 19 September 2014

Craft shines at Asia Triennial Manchester 2014: Swags and Tails at Manchester Craft and Design Centre

Join the lovely people at Manchester Craft and Design Centre to celebrate their new exhibition, Swags and Tails by Kashif Nadim Chaudry, which launches on Saturday 27th September 2-5pm
There'll be free refreshments, family friendly activities and acoustic violin with a Bollywood twist.

Chaudry's work is painstakingly crafted, blending his tailoring heritage, personal conflicts with sexuality and faith, and a taste for mischief.  
He'll be discussing his work at a special artist's talk during the launch event, and the exhibition is part of Asia Triennial Manchester 2014.

Hope to see you there!

Manchester Craft and Design Centre is part of the North West Craft Network. Click here for more.

After Ford 151 - Blackwell’s Dark Place

10 October - 20 December 2014
It’s Arts & Crafts, but not as we know it. 
As part of The Nuisance of Landscape: Grizedale – The Sequel exhibition, Grizedale Arts have crafted After Ford 151 – Blackwell’s Dark Place upstairs in the beautiful Oliver Thompson Gallery. 
This ambitious installation explores the notion of Arts & Crafts as a resistance movement and its evolution through modernism to become a cornerstone of how we understand the contemporary. 
It presents Grizedale Arts’ own polticised history of design - a brave new world of objects and ideas that serve as a provocative reassessment of the Arts & Crafts legacy.
Lakeland Arts

Lakeland Arts are part of the North West Craft Network. Click here for more.

Two fabulous exhibitions of contemporary craft at Touchstones Rochdale

September sees two exhibitions of unique contemporary craft open at Touchstones Rochdale one of the North West's key galleries showing top craft from international and regional makers. 

Rosa Nguyen - Sanctuary. 

26 September - 22 November 2014
The preview is on Thursday 25 September 6pm-8pm and will be opened by Professor Stephen Dixon, ceramicist and Professorial Research Fellow in Contemporary Crafts at Manchester School of Art.

The exhibition is part of Asia Triennial Manchester 2014

And if that weren't enough, there's also an exhibition of Jilly EdwardsWanderlust tapestries opening the same evening. The exhibition runs 26 September - 22 November 2014

Both shows are part of our Contemporary Forward series supported by Arts Council England.

Touchstones Rochdale are part of the North West Craft Network. Click here for more.

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Tactile Too - fantastic opportunity for recent textile students and graduates

Calling all North West students and recent graduates!

The Whitworth Art Gallery is looking to commission up to four contemporary textile makers to develop a textile handling resource as part of The Whitworth's 'Tactile Too' Textile handling Resource.

Applicants must be practising textile makers based in the North West of England. This includes students currently studying in the North West and students who have graduated from other colleges but who are now based in the North West.

Candidates must either be in their final year of their degree or have graduated no more than three years ago.

All applicants must respond to the theme:  Textiles Transform: Extra/Ordinary

The theme has been developed to explore the concept of the sensory nature of textiles, that they have the power to evoke personal emotional responses based on memory and subconscious perceptions. It is important to ensure that these ideas are clearly explained and demonstrated in the proposal submission and the tactile handling resource.

The deadline for submissions is Monday 15 September 2014

For more information about the commission and how to submit click here

For more information about Tactile Too and the artists whose work makes up the resource, click here

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Job Opportunity - Freelance Evaluator for Art: Audience, Development, Discourse and Skills

Great job opportunity for a freelance evaluator for Art: Audience Development Discourse and Skills - a project from from Contemporary Visual Arts North West. Click here for more information.

The deadline for applications is 12 noon, Wednesday 17th September 2014; interviews will be held in the week commencing 29th September.

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Job Opportunity at Manchester Craft and Design Centre!

A great opportunity at Manchester Craft and Design Centre, one of the North West's most significant craft and design venues. If you've got some flair for marketing and digital stuff, this could be for you! Check it out here.

Closing date for applications: 10am Monday 1st September 2014.

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Three events to strengthen North West Craft

Louise Gardiner, You Blow Me Away DETAIL for COLLECT 2013
Three fantastic events are coming up that will help to boost contemporary craft in the North West: A symposium, plus two events for emerging makers and curators

In October 2014, The North West Craft Network will invite key players in national and regional craft to come to together for a symposium to explore; 'Building the market for collectors in the North West' at the Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair in partnership with Great Northern Events.

And that's not all. In February 2015, an event for emerging makers will be hosted by the newly re-furbished Whitworth Art Gallery and in May 2015 the Network will organise an event for curators in conjunction with COLLECT at the Saatchi Gallery.

For more details about these events as they emerge, get in touch at craftnorthwest@gmail.com and we will send you the information when it is ready.

For more about the North West Craft Network, click here.

Image: Based in the North West, maker Louise Gardiner created the 'You Blow Me Away' series of Embroidered and appliqued tumbleweed for COLLECT 2012 at the Saatchi Gallery. Check out her website here, or follow her on Twitter @Loulougardiner
Louise is an opening speaker for the NW Craft Network's symposium 'Building the Market for Collectors of Contemporary Craft in the North West' at the Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair, above.