Friday, 4 December 2015

Buy handmade crafts and share the love....

Chris Boland ring
Buy Handmade crafts this Christmas! Resist the siren call of the green-eyed consumer monster without turning into Ebernezer Scrooge.

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.

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
An off-shoot of the wonderful Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair

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
Reopening after refurbishment in Spring 2016, you can still buy 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.

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Seriously good Craft in the UK's North West this December

Natural Makers, Touchstones Rochdale
A host of seriously good Craft exhibitions and events that span pondering the meaning of art, making, material, process through to brilliant possibilities for Christmas presents. And making stuff. Enjoy...

You can also see and (if you're an organisation) add new events in our publically available Google Calendar here

Opening this month

Modern Japanese Design at Manchester Art Gallery. 4 Dec to January 2017.

The Pilcrow: launch. More about the pub that Manchester built (or is building, to be precise) here 4 December.

Little Northern Contemporary Craft Fair. Altrincham Town Hall, Market St., 
 WA14 1PG (NEW venue!) 6 December.

Natural Makers at Touchstones Rochdale 12 Dec To 27 Feb 2016. Stuart Cairns, Laura Ellen Bacon, Adam Buick, Sharon Adams.

Sculpting Stories at Gallery Oldham, including studio ceramics from their collections. 19 Dec to Summer 2016

On now
Art_Textiles at the Whitworth. To 21 Jan

Back to Black. Contemporary jewellery at Manchester Art Gallery - extended to 31 January

Jarred: Ceramics from the Collection is on at Touchstones. To Spring 2016

'All Wrapped Up' & 'Esben and Wolfe Screen Prints' The Craft Shop at the Royal Exchange Theatre. To 3 Jan at

All That Glitters at The Bluecoat Display Centre to 16 Jan 2016

Exploring Wonderland at MCAD to 14 Feb

Coming soon
New gallery space opens in January 2016 at MMU MarketPlace Studios, Stockport. Keep an eye out here

Monday, 21 September 2015

Making the NW Craft Network a Network

Ever since the North West Craft Network got started we've wondered how to create a balance between working size and inclusion. Too big and we can't manage and afford meetings. Too small and we get loads done and can meet easily, but we don't represent the whole.

Anyway, we were discussing this in the NW Craft Network Steering Group meeting and Kate Day, the Director of Manchester Craft and Design Centre, came up with this way to think about it (see her scribble on the right):

From now on, what was called the NW Craft Network will be the NW Craft Network Development Group.

The NW Craft Network Steering Group will still be the Steering Group

Anyone who cares about craft in the NW is free to join the Network - and can join for free at the moment, although we might have to review costs if we are to be sustainable in the long term.

But for now, let's make hay while the sun shines and sign up for nothing. Network members will recieve news and updates about what's going on with craft in and around the North West, consulted by web polls and email about relevant issues and will be invited to any events that we organise.

We'll take a week or so to update our web info with our slightly tweaked identity, but in the meantime: Welcome to the North West Craft Network.

To sign up go here
More about the NW Craft Network

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

North West Craft Network wins funding!

Makers & artist James Maskrey at The Whitworth
The North West Craft Network has won funding from Arts Council England for the second year of an already successful project to strengthen craft in the North West.  Together with small but significant funding contributions from leading North West craft venues; Gawthorpe Textiles Collection, Manchester Craft and Design Centre, The Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair, Bluecoat Display Centre, Gallery Oldham, The Whitworth Art Gallery and Bolton University, the Network is all set to put craft in the region firmly on the map.

At our Networking event at GNCCF
In 2015-16 the Network aims to put together an ambitious three to five year programme of activity that will make a real and lasting impact on the health of the North West’s craft sector.

The programme will build on the already considerable strengths of craft in the region but also address the particular challenges that the people making, curating, selling and buying craft in the North West face.

During the year the Network will create opportunities for the North West’s craft makers, curators and stakeholders to collaborate, share knowledge and shape a plan for the future. A key part of this will be two Network events; a day conference at Bolton University and a curator development day at Manchester College. In addition they will partner up with the likes of Great Northern Events (the people who run The Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair) and Manchester Craft and Design Centre to support their existing maker and curator development plans.

The Network will also inject into the programme data gathered from last year’s work, which included maker and curator events at The Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair, The Whitworth and COLLECT at the Saatchi Gallery. To this, they will add targeted strands of new research into potential partnerships, exchanges, international collaborations and appropriate income streams.

Since it started in 2012 the Network has gone from strength to strength. One of the tasks for this year will be to address the issues of organisation and funding that this success has created so that the Network can become a permanent agent of support and development of craft in the region.

Craft has great potential to grow in the North West. As a region it has some top quality craft venues, as a glance at this list of venues that are concerned with craft attests. From public institutions around the region, including – to name just a few - The Whitworth, Manchester City Galleries, Gallery Oldham, Gawthorpe Textiles Collection and The Harris Museum and Art Gallery in Preston, to commercial concerns such as the Bluecoat Display Centre, and maker spaces such as Manchester Metropolitan University’s Marketplace Studio in Stockport and the Manchester Craft and Design Centre. There are fantastic collections, vibrant shows and new commissions taking place. Manchester hosts one of the UK’s main craft events in the form of the Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair; not to mention a host of talented and respected professional makers; world class education and research in the field and a thriving amateur economy. But even so, the current economic climate presents tough challenges.

Markets for intensively produced, contemporary fine Craft are thin. Many buyers go elsewhere to build their collections, and there are still relatively few regional opportunities for exhibiting and selling. Part time work – often an important contribution to the income of both budding and established makers - is diminishing, creating a pull towards London and the South East. Curators find themselves stretched across a huge range of departments from fine art to science and critical writers who can explore, analyse and share the experience of craft among the community are few and far between.

The North West Craft Network was set up in 2012 to address issues such as these and build on the many good things happening in the region.  It represents publicly funded museum collections, Further and Higher Education Institutions, commercial galleries, crafts agencies and practitioners at all stages of their careers. This year’s project will be another bold step forward for the group, aiming to channel the knowledge, skills and enthusiasm in the sector in to a plan that will make the North West Craft Sector and robust and vibrant player in the creative industries of the Northern Powerhouse.

For more information contact the NW Craft Network Co-ordinator, Victoria Scholes at or +44 (0) 1625 421768

To read more about the North West Craft Network and to see a list of current members of its development team, click here

To join our mailing list, contact with 'I want to join the NW Craft Network mailing list' in the subject line and we'll add your name. 

Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Inside the world of curating. A visit to COLLECT 2015

This was my first visit to COLLECT, the International Art Fair for Contemporary Objects. The North West Craft Network awarded bursaries to a number of curators in the North West, and I was one of the recipients.
The excitement built in the couple of weeks before as galleries which were displaying filled my inbox with information about the artists who would be showing at the Saatchi Gallery. An invitation to apply for the Craft Council’s Museum Purchase Fund also arrived, with the opportunity to bid for pieces from the fair which would be purchased by the Crafts Council.
I had three main aims from the fair:
The first was to solidify my ideas as to which artists I will shortlist for our Contemporary Art Society Craft acquisition later this year. I was still in the initial research phase for this and have been visiting as many exhibitions and artists as I can. COLLECT was a great opportunity to see work by some makers I am interested in, and of course, see work which I was previously unaware of.
The second was to meet some of the makers who are represented in our collection, several of whom I’ve had e-mail and phone contact with but have never actually met face-to-face – Natasha Daintry and Ann Sutton in particular.
The third was to meet other colleagues from across the country who are also working alongside makers.
The morning session was the private view, at which speeches were given by Rosy Greenlees, Director of the Crafts Council and Geoffrey Crossick, Chair of the Trustees of the Crafts Council. My highlight of this section was the announcement that Gallery Oldham was one of the three museums across the country awarded work under the Crafts Council Museum Purchase Fund. We were awarded ‘Patience Flower XXIII’, 2014 by Vipoo Srivilasa and ‘Journey Jar’, 2015 by Adam Buick.

The afternoon part of the Curator Day was key note sessions followed by two case studies of recent acquisitions with the Contemporary Art Society. The first key note was a really interesting presentation by Tulga Beyerle, Director of the Dresden Museum of DecorativeArts, in which Beyerle described working in a small overlooked museum in Germany. Beyerle’s museum had little in the way of twentieth century craft so she had decided to start from scratch with a twenty-first century craft collection. While the context in Dresden is really different from the context in which I work, there was lots to take from Beyerle’s presentation, and her pragmatism, commitment and enthusiasm was really infectious.
Next up was Alastair Hudson from MIMA who spoke about the challenges of ensuring that museums remain valued by the communities they serve, rather than merely being tolerated at best. He talked in detail about loads of really exciting initiatives happening in Middlesborough. There’s not space to go into detail about them here – but do go and have a look at their website.
Next came the two case studies from curators who had recently received funding from the Contemporary Art Society – Fiona Slattery Clark from Birmingham Museums and Katherine McClung-Oakes from Bury Art Museum. It was really helpful to me to listen to their experiences as I am at the early stages of my first experience of the process this year. 
So all in all, I had a really great time at COLLECT 2015 and learnt a lot. There was a real buzz around the show. It was exciting to see so many private collectors supporting the sector. I personally really enjoyed bumping into makers who I’ve only met recently like Michael Eden, and catching up with others like Halima Cassell who I’ve known for a while. It was SO brilliant to spend that much time in a space which was brimming with lovely, lovely things.
Rebecca Hill
Exhibitions & Collections Coordinator (Art)
Gallery Oldham

Monday, 8 June 2015

Advocating Craft - 4 great tips for a healthy craft practice. Jade Mellor reflects on 'Building the Market for Contemporary Craft'

Four great tips for healthy craft practice from artist and maker Jade Mellor on what she took from the NW Craft Network's symposium and networking event at the Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair.

Always thoughtful, Jade had drawn on her own experience as well as the advice from our three great speakers and the other event participants to make some sound points. Nice one Jade.

See Jade's tips here.

Friday, 13 March 2015

A creative response to Making It: building your craft future at the Whitworth

My name is Tasmin Williams and I’m currently in my final year of a Three Dimensional Design Degree at Manchester School of Art. I specialise in ceramics, exploring clays tactile qualities through hand built forms created to be held and touched.
Last week I attended the North West Craft Network event, ‘Making it: Building your craft future’ at The Whitworth Art Gallery. I was given the opportunity to respond to the day’s events through the medium of clay.

The talks and 1:1 surgeries delivered by established crafts people covered so much insightful information and facilitated the opportunity to network with these experienced practitioners along with like-minded individuals who all have a passion for crafts. The artist talk that really inspired me was that given by Halima Cassell. It was fascinating to see how her work has progressed from when she was a University graduate and continues to develop throughout her career as a practicing artist.
Being in a room with all of these incredibly creative people was a great opportunity for me to further explore the relationship between the clay material and human touch.

I decided to document the day through a series of objects made by the participants taking part in the day’s activities. Giving each person a ball of clay, I asked them to play with the clay and create anything they wanted to. The series of objects made were fantastic.

There was such a wide variety of shapes and textures and almost every participant that had a go enjoyed the experience with one lady describing it as therapeutic. Most people were tentative in the way they picked up the clay at first but once they had rolled it around in their hands for a while they became more comfortable and familiar with its malleable properties. I feel the area in which each person practices affected the way they interacted with the clay. For example, a lady who purely works in two dimensions spent most of her time adding patterns to her object using the fine metal tools.
I found the event incredibly helpful and it has provided struggling and up and coming craft practitioners with tools they can use to move their practice onto its next stages and I am very privileged to have been part of such a fantastic opportunity.

Check out Tasmin's Blog

Making It: building your craft future at The Whitworth, Thursday 5th March 2015

The Great Hall at the Whitworth
Making It: building your craft future was the second of the North West Craft Network’s events. Aimed at early career makers, the programme contained a mixture of speakers, workshops and one-to-one surgeries.
 "A chance to talk to Craft professionals in person, one-to-one's and hearing people own stories - All great!" event partcipant

The day kicked off with an introduction by CJ O’Neill. CJ shared some great examples of makers across a range of media and styles. She introduced the importance of having great images of your work, which turned out to be a theme which recurred throughout the day.

Drying Pots with an electric blanket
Halima Cassell outlined her career so far. The highlight for me and many others was definitely Halima’s photo of herself tucked up in bed with a couple of pots, which she was drying with an electric blanket in her one bedroom flat earlier in her career! She gave a really honest account of some of the challenges and trickier times, while also showing what you can achieve with great ideas and a lot of persistence.

Pencils at the ready!
Rachel Kelly talked through the process of getting her business up and running. She had really some good practical tips like consider confidentiality agreements when working with large companies to develop new ideas, research your clients before you pitch to them and make sure you really focus on your work at meetings/pitches.

After this we broke up into smaller groups for the one-to-one surgeries. This was a chance for makers to ask experienced professionals a specific question. People providing surgeries included makers who are already running successful businesses, curators and craft event organisers.

Katia Stewart telling her story
Next Katia Stewart, Talent Development Manager from the Crafts Council, began by speaking about her career as a maker and went on to talk about how the Crafts Council can support makers at different points in her career. There was frantic scribbling across the room as she showed her slide containing top tips for a successful Grants for the Arts application.

The final speaker of the day was James Maskey. He spoke about his career as an artist and also his experience of working with other artists at the National Glass Centre. James’ most quotable quote of the day was definitely “Make work you love – it will really sing!”.

The formal part of the day concluded with CJ O’Neill leading a session about Our Craft Future. This was a space to reflect on where you are now, where you’d like to be and how to get there. It pulled together the themes from through the day such as understanding your market, networking, good images and many more.
 "I liked meeting so many creative people. The talks were really inspiring and relevant to my practice. I made pages and pages of notes!" event participant
I wasn’t able to stay for the social part at the end of the day (boo hiss!) but that was the bit where everyone got to have a wander around the newly refurbished Whitworth, have a glass of wine and continue discussions begun throughout the day. My impression was that the event was great success, with participants and organisers learning from one another. My personal thanks go to Victoria Scholes for organising it and the staff at The Whitworth for hosting it. Here’s to lots more marvellous North West Craft Network events!

Rebecca Hill
Exhibitions & Collections Coordinator (Art)
Gallery Oldham

Find out about the NW Craft Network here

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Sale Arts Trail

Louise Dewsnap
I love local art fairs! They show the energy and talent of so many people and inject a shot of pizazz into our communities.

Here's an opportunity to show great craft as part of Sale Arts Trail. Note that they're being super-strict about the deadline this year, so don't miss out!

This is what the lovely people organising the whole event say:

In case you haven't seen our updates on social media, we have confirmed that our next art trail will be the weekend of Friday 10th - Sunday 12th July 2015 at various venues around Sale.

We have now opened our application process online for Artists and Makers to apply on

Last year we had over 900 members of the public come to the preview and to the venues over the weekend and we are hoping that with added venues including more open studios we will have an even bigger attendance this year. We are also hoping to gain funding to pay for artist talks and demonstrations this year so please make sure you mention this on your form if you would be interested in getting involved.

We are inviting applications from artists, photographers, ceramicists, textile artists, jewellers, wood, glass, mixed media.

If you would like to apply for this year's event the deadline is Monday 16th March 2015 so just over four weeks to go. Due to tight time deadlines, we won't be able to accept any applications that come in after this date so please make sure you apply in time.
Apply here

Thursday, 15 January 2015

Super Jumbo, Super Ace!

Junko Mori, Super Jumbo. Image courtesy Adrian Sassoon, London
Back in May 2012, I spent an intense hour running around the Saatchi Gallery in search of the best thing I could possibly find at Collect, the Craft Council’s international fair for contemporary objects.

I was one of nine curators from across the UK shortlisted by the Art Fund to have the chance to pitch to their acquisition committee in situ, next to the object you wished them to purchase for the collection you represented, in the hope that they would. After a nervous wait in the cafĂ© with all the other curators, one by one everyone’s phone rang and the news, positive or negative was passed on. For me, the day turned out to be an enormously exciting one. The Art Fund’s committee agreed to purchase my chosen object, Junko Mori’s Propagation Project; Super Jumbo Nigella, Wave presented at Collect by her representing gallery, Adrian Sassoon 
Junko Mori making
I had followed and loved Junko’s work since it started to appear after she graduated from Camberwell in 2000 and Super Jumbo was (and still is) her largest work to date. Made following the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in her home country of Japan, it mimics the form of a wave; her signature repetitive elements this time being petals of the Nigella plant.

Almost as soon as it arrived at Touchstones Rochdale in summer 2012, the piece went on display in an exhibition of contemporary work from the collection called A Century Later. It was an immediate hit with both our visitors and our staff. Everyone had their own interpretation of what it was; a sea urchin, a bear and a myriad of other things. The following spring it came out again, this time in an exhibition combining historic and contemporary work from the collection on the theme of the sea.

And it hasn’t just stayed in Rochdale. In October 2014, the piece went on loan to Ornament, at the Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair and later this year it will return to Manchester – this time to Manchester Art Gallery’s exhibition Eastern Exchanges: East Asian Craft and Design which runs from Thursday 2 April - Sunday 31 May 2015.

Ever since acquiring Super Jumbo at Collect I had been pursuing the idea of a show which would bring more of Junko’s work to Rochdale, working with both Junko and Adrian Sassoon. This became A Common Ground which is currently on display at Touchstones Rochdale and runs until Saturday 7 March. It also features two other Japanese-born, UK-based artists, the ceramicist Ikuko Iwamoto and the jeweller Kayo Saito. All three have a shared interest in the natural environment as a source of inspiration for their work.

If you’d like to hear Junko Mori talk about Super Jumbo and her practice more generally, join us on Saturday 21 February from 2pm to 3pm at Touchstones Rochdale. Junko will give an informal talk in the exhibition space. The event is free, but pre-booking is required by phoning us on 01706 924492.

Through the acquisition of one piece, we have brought fresh perspectives to existing works in the collection, curated a contemporary exhibition bringing together three artists for the first time in a public gallery and are enabling opportunities for it to be seen by a wider audience through loaning to other exhibitions. It has also had a huge impact on my life in another way too, but that’s a whole other story!

Yvonne Hardman
Art Gallery Officer
Touchstones Rochdale
January 2015

Images courtesy of Adrian Sassoon, London

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Making It : Building your craft future. A day for emerging makers at the Whitworth Art Gallery

The Drayton Egg, James Maskrey
Thursday 5 March 2015
10.30am – 6.30pm followed by Thursday late at the Whitworth 

Join us for a day of talks, workshops, 1:1 enterprise surgeries and networking

Where: The Great Hall, The Whitworth Art Gallery, The University of Manchester,  Oxford Road, Manchester, M15 6ER. Click here for directions.

Fee: £10

Open to: makers in the first few years of launching or revisiting their contemporary craft practice who are based in the North West of England.

To book your place, click here

Come and hear top speakers addressing what it means to make a living in the craft sector; network with other makers and craft professionals from across the North West; answer questions relating to your creative business and get support to shape your craft future.

Organised by the North West Craft Network in partnership with the Whitworth and Manchester Craft and Design Centre, the day will take place in magnificent setting of the Grand Hall in the newly refurbished Whitworth Art Gallery.

Speakers Halima Cassell, Rachel Kelly and James Maskrey will address what it means to make a living as a creative practitioner, bringing insights from their own creative and business journeys.

Respected maker, educator and thinker in the field of ceramics, CJ O'Neill, will guide you through a reflection on your own practice and create space for relating the information and experiences of the day to your own plans. And Katia Stewart, Talent Development Manager for the Crafts Council Talent Development Team will give her insights from many years supporting and promoting artists in the North.

 For more information about the speakers, click here.

Graffiti-d Installation, CJ O'Neill

Craft professionals from all walks of North West life will be on hand to chat and advise both informally, and also via two 1:1 surgeries.  You'll be able to sign up to put your pressing craft questions to any of these advisors on the day.

1:1 surgery advisors include makers Jane Dzisiewski, Eve Redmond, Nell Smith, Clare Knox-Bentham, Harriet Lawton, Emma Blackburn and Jo Hartley; Beth Hughes, Curator at Lakeland Arts in Cumbria; Sam Rhodes, deputy director at the Bluecoat Display Centre in Liverpool and Ann Marie Franey, co-director and founder of the Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair.

To find out more about the 1:1 surgeries and the advisors, click here.

Finish it all off with a glass of wine and conversation at the same time as taking inspiration from the collections as part of the Whitworth's Thursday Late programme.

To book your place, click here 

Questions? Contact Victoria Scholes at

For an outline of the day, click here.

Organised by the North West Craft Network in partnership with the Whitworth Art Gallery and Manchester Craft and Design Centre

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Leading makers and thinkers speak at contemporary craft event at the Whitworth

Rachel Kelly Interactive Wallpaper: Garden Design Humpty
Making It : building your craft future
Thursday 5 March 2015
10.30am – 6.30pm followed by Thursday late at the Whitworth

The Great Hall, The Whitworth Art Gallery, The University of Manchester,  Oxford Road, Manchester, M15 6ER.

Click here for an overview of the day, speakers, who it's aimed at, and fees

To book your place, click here

Speaker Biographies

Halima Cassell
Halima Cassell
Combining strong geometric elements with recurrent patterns and architectural principles, Halima’s work utilises definite lines and dramatic angles in an attempt to manifest the universal language of number and create an unsettling sense of movement.
Born in 1975 in Pakistan, brought up in Manchester and now living in Blackburn, Lancashire, Halima’s varied, multi-cultural background is tangibly present in her work.
Fusing her Asian roots with a fascination for African pattern work and a passion for architectural geometry, Halima’s work is intense yet playful, structured yet creative; substantial yet dynamic and invariably compelling in its originality.

Rachel Kelly
Rachel Kelly: Interactive Wallpaper
Rachel Kelly is an award-winning textile designer based in the English Lake District. Rachel is renowned for her website Interactive Wallpaper, where she sells innovative wallpaper and wall sticker kits. Rachel’s profile has been established by working to commission with manufacturers, public bodies such as the BBC and NHS, and a range of private clients. 


James Maskrey
James Maskrey, Shackleton's Scrimshaw
James Maskrey has a career in hot glass spanning over 20 years. He has exhibited widely internationally and has been recognised for his own work with inclusion in many public and private collections including the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Crafts Council. He has also facilitated glass projects for many other artists who have included Richard Slee, Bruce McLean, Magdalene Odundo and William Tillyer. He currently works for the University of Sunderland at the National Glass Centre.

CJ O Neill
Lumo-floral plate, CJ O'Neill
CJ is a researcher/maker/educator based in Manchester and is a Senior Lecturer at Manchester School of Art teaching on BA(Hons)Three Dimensional Design and MA Design.  She is also a PhD candidate at MIRIAD.  Re*presenting: artistic interventions exploring everyday ceramics is part of her ongoing investigation exploring issues around authorship, value and collaboration through the use of everyday ceramic objects in combination with both hand and industrial processes. 
CJ has undertaken numerous commissions for ceramic lighting and tableware for both domestic and corporate clients as well as exhibiting and lecturing internationally. 

Katia Stewart
Katia Stewart is Talent Development Manager at the Crafts Council and manages the national Hothouse programme for emerging makers. With a background in craft and design Katia has worked in a range of creative and cultural development agencies and continues to explore her own creativity through a variety of other projects.

To book your place, click here

Organised by the North West Craft Network in partnership with the Whitworth Art Gallery and Manchester Craft and Design Centre

Making It : building your craft future - outline of the day

Solas Gold Installation, CJ O'Neill
Thursday 5 March 2015
10.30am – 6.30pm followed by Thursday late at the Whitworth

The Great Hall, The Whitworth Art Gallery, The University of Manchester,  Oxford Road, Manchester, M15 6ER.

Click here for an overview of the day, speakers, who it's aimed at, and fees

To book your place, click here

10.30        Registration  (plus tea and coffee)

11.00        Introduction and welcome

11.15        Speaker: CJ O'Neill
11.55        Workshop with CJ O'Neill

12.15        Speaker: Halima Cassell   
12.55        Lunch

14.00        Speaker: Rachel Kelly

14.40        1:1 Surgery (sign up on day)

15.10        Speaker: Katia Stewart

15.50        1:1 Surgery (with tea and coffee)

16.30        Speaker: James Maskrey

17.10        Workshop (lead by CJ O'Neill)

17.50        Wrap up

18.10        Evaluation and networking

18.30        Thursday Late opens (wine will be served)

Halima Cassell
Click here for an overview of the day, speakers, who it's aimed at, and fees

To book your place, click here

Organised by the North West Craft Network in partnership with the Whitworth Art Gallery and Manchester Craft and Design Centre

1:1 Surgeries bring emerging makers together with craft professionals at Whitworth event

Halima Cassell: conference speaker
Making It : building your craft future
Thursday 5 March 2015
10.30am – 6.30pm followed by Thursday late at the Whitworth

The Great Hall, The Whitworth Art Gallery, The University of Manchester,  Oxford Road, Manchester, M15 6ER.

Click here for an overview of the day, speakers, who it's aimed at, and fees

To book your place, click here

1:1 Surgeries: How they will work
Have you ever wished that you were able to get a load of craft professionals in one place and ask them all those pressing questions that you have about your creative business? Well, the North West Craft Network have engineered just such a situation.

Included in the programme for Making It : building your craft future, there will be two 1:1 Surgeries, offering you the opportunity to sign up on the day to ask a question of one of our advisors - all professionals in the craft world with a host of experience at their fingertips.

You'll have 10 minutes per question, and subject to space, there will be the opportunity to sign up to speak to more than one person. So get thinking about what you need to know. Check out the advisor biographies below to see who is most likely to be able to give you the information you need and come prepared with a few questions that could help to take your business forward.

Jane Dzisiewski
Jane Dzisiewski is a studio jeweller. She originally trained at MMU in printed textile design, then went on to run two businesses importing and supplying promotional clothing and merchandise, returning to college to study applied arts after she sold these on. Alongside her craft practice, Jane also works as a digital media, marketing consultant and is frequently invited to deliver artist talks on developing a brand with no budget.

Eve Redmond
Eve Redmond graduated from Central St Martins College of Art & Design in London in 1993. She is based in Manchester Craft & Design Centre where she sells her handmade collections and creates one off pieces for commissions and exhibitions. She has established a reputation for fresh & innovative jewellery. Contemporary but classic, she creates jewellery that embodies simplicity and strength. She divides her time between her studio and teaching at The Manchester College where she is Course Leader in Jewellery.

Nell Smith
Nell Smith is an award winning surface designer, creating fresh, modern work by hand using a variety of techniques. Specialising in screenprint, her bright, eye catching designs adorn a variety of products from organic cotton children’s clothing to contemporary works on paper.

Since graduating from MMU's MA Textiles course in 2008, she has been running her business from a studio at the Manchester Craft and Design Centre. She also teaches and leads workshops and she is always happy to accept commissions and loves to create designs based on customer's favourite animals.

Jo Hartley
Joe Hartley is a designer.  In 2012 he graduated from Manchester Metropolitan University in Three Dimensional Design.  He now work from his workshop in Manchester where he uses his hands to produce objects from wood, cloth and clay. The things he makes are the result of an interest in day-to-day tasks.

Beth Hughes
At Lakeland Arts Beth is a curator at both Abbot Hall Art Gallery in Kendal and Blackwell, The Arts & Crafts House in Bowness-on-Windermere. At Blackwell Beth has curated a number of contemporary craft exhibitions including New Glass – Ancient Skill, Contemporary Artform, a partnership exhibition with the Contemporary Glass Society and a major exhibition of ceramics by Danish artist, Bodil Manz.

Sam Rhodes
Same Rhodes is Assistant director of the Bluecoat Display Centre. Situated in the heart of Liverpool, the Bluecoat Display Centre is a haven for enthusiasts of everything exquisite in the field of contemporary craft and design.
The Bluecoat Display Centre is a nationally and internationally recognised contemporary craft and design gallery that has been established since 1959. They sell, exhibit and promote over 350 selected contemporary craftspeople each year working in a broad variety of media.

Clare Knox-Bentham
Clare Knox Bentham creates illustrative installations in bright-coloured plastic using heat-extruded EVA and lacquer. She also creates jewellery which alludes to precious lacquerwork, moulding to the body and blurring the line between liquid and solid. Clare also manages Marketplace Studios in Stockport, an incubator community for new creative businesses of Manchester School of Art graduates. 

Ann Marie Franey
Ann-Marie Franey is co-founder/director of the award winning Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair and its spin off the Little Northern Contemporary Craft Fair.  She set up Great Northern Events with business partner Angela Mann over 8 yrs ago. Since then they have built up the GNCCF into one of the leading shows in the UK and are key players in the North West craft scene.  Not only can Ann-Marie offer advice on setting up in business but she has a wealth of knowledge to share on making a success of your craft enterprise, giving you advice on how to get your work selected for leading events and galleries, marketing your work, building up your PR and profile and of course selling your work to the public.  

Harriet Lawton
Through the exploration of ceramic and textiles, Harriet Lawton’s practice highlights the beauty of objects, in particular china mementoes.  Contemporary interpretations of traditional patterning, her design pieces and objects feature remediated marks, patterns and motifs taken from various cultures and eras. Harriet graduated from Embroidery at Manchester School of Art in 2013, and has since completed commissions for The Whitworth’s Tactile Too archive and Wakefield Museum’s “Artists in the Atrium”.  

Emma Blackburn
Emma creates contemporary interventions with museum collections and their audiences. Recent projects include 3D textile works responding to Helmshore Mills Textile Museum: ‘The War and The Weft’ exhibition, and ‘The Great Peoples Poppy’ for a Mid Pennine Arts event called 'Truce’. Emma is currently seeking Arts Council Funding to support an exciting residency at the Lancashire Conservation Studios, Preston.

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Organised by the North West Craft Network in partnership with the Whitworth Art Gallery and Manchester Craft and Design Centre