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

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