During my friends hen weekend in Manchester, I was very excited to find that that weekend Manchester was also holding the Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair. So with massive hangovers I dragged my friends off to find it on the Sunday morning. I was little worried that the name may actually big the fair up a little too much, calling yourself Great is quite a statement but gladly I was not disappointed.
The standard of work was amazing with far too many great makers to name them all,click on the link above to look them all up, but some really caught my attention.
The Manchester Craft & Design Centre, is a great place and I normally visit them every time I'm in Manchester, so it was nice to see them here. They're based in the Northern Quarter of the city, and are open design studios filled with unique works of art and crafts. They also have an awesome cafe.
Gemma Truman I love glass, the weight the lustre, it captures me every time. I have a small collection of Caithness glass given to me on special occasions, so Gemma's stand had me hooked as soon as I saw it.
Her stand felt very organic, and although her droplets were beautiful, with droplets of colour running through their centres, it was the hanging Kiota nests that captured me. These are based on a community of nests created by African weaver birds, and the workman ship of both the glass and weaving was stunning.
I'd love to have a community of these hanging from a window in my home.
Alix Swan This makers stand captured the child in me, her Red Ballet shoes badge caught my eye, but then her dolls, the mini books, stories in a box, wow, just wow. I expected the small stories to suddenly leap from there boxes and dance in front of us.
Her stand was a wonderful treasure trove of fairy tales and imagination, I think some friends will be getting Christmas presents from her site this year.
Caroline Kirton Her smile shone out from the back, which instantly made me want to talk to her. Too often I find it hard to talk to makers about their work, I'm nosey I want to know why they choose their subjects. I love talking to makers and was glad that Caroline was so open. I saw some of her work in the reception area, machine embroidery using vintage fabrics to create a story through the image.
I love machine embroidery work, but a lot of it is very stylised and basic in it's feel.
In Caroline's work she uses the stitches instead of a pencil to convey her feelings, it had a very young and graphic quality the likes of which you'd see in a fashion magazine, and to start with I thought she was a young artist conveying their own experiences. It was lovely to realise she was using her work to make a connection with her teenage daughters, and view the world through their worries. Her work really appealed to me, their concerns are exactly the same as I had as a teen, and even though my daughter is still very young, I know one day I'll have to deal with her having these issues too.
I hope Caroline's daughters are really proud of their Mum, she's an amazing artist.
There's was so any wonderful artists, I may mention some others soon, but in the meantime go look at these lovely makers sites. Just in time for Christmas.