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The Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair 2012 Review Pt 2 Bruce Aitken, Rachel Elliott, Astrid Weigel, Chrissy Silver, Liz Cooksey, John Grayson and Naughty Dog.

October 8, 2012

More from the wonderful Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair 2012 that took place thursday to Sunday last week in Manchester. To start us off here’s some stylish woodwork from clock maker Bruce Aitken. I was drawn to the natural woods he used like cherry, ash, yew and walnut. These weight-driven pendulum clocks require winding daily, but hardly a price to pay for their gentle ticking away of the day, and bearing in mind each one takes about 90 hours of labour to create, they are more a work of art than just a groovy grandfather clock !

Next I came across the animal inspired glasswork by Rachel Elliott. Her sculptures are created using a water jet cutting machine mixed with an abrasive grit. The machine is controlled by a computer following a digital outline taken from a hand-drawn silhouette.

Once cut, the pieces are then hand screen-printed and finally fired in a kiln to make them water and light resistant. Rachel was showing a brand new range of cufflinks with that well known 70’s icon, the space invader. There’s a great interview with Rachel on UK Handmade here.

Astrid Weigel trained as a textile designer and now works from the west of Scotland producing contemporary soft furnishings. I love her use of colour and strong sense of line.

Ceramist Chrissy Silver uses a process involving pressing twigs, leaves and wild flowers into porcelain before forming them into delicate bowls and lanterns.

When the vessels have a candle placed inside, the flowers almost come to life, like when a negative is held up to the light. Flowers that have pressed deeper into the pottery leave a heavier imprint and thus create a whiter light where this happens. Beautiful, peaceful, fragments of nature silently captured into a permanent form.

More flowers but this time in textile form. Subtly colourful work by Liz Cooksey, who uses a range of hand and machine textile techniques to produce richly decorative embroideries. My photographs don’t do her work justice as it was behind glass and suffered from a lot of reflection. Click on here name to appreciate this Manchester designer’s rich tapestries.

I couldn’t fail to include these charming vintage inspired tin toys by John Grayson. John describes himself as a narrative metal smith who uses traditional metal forming and decorating processes to create whimsical, humorous and decorative objects. The Steam Launch, Racing Car, Paddle Steamer and Fishing Boat pictured below range from £125 to £985. I was amused when he pushed them along to reveal their moving parts. Great to see these vintage references.

Last but not least for today comes a company called Naughty Dog. I’m hoping that for the sake of designer Diane Marie Watson who’s a busy mum of three kids, aged between 3 and 17, that the name of her company is an amusing one and not a fact. I’m sure she has enough to cope with working at Cleveland College of Art and Design without a mischievous pooch to contend with too ! I like to imagine he sits around (in his favourite armchair) and gets drawn a lot (whilst he sighs a bit) and isn’t naughty at all lol.

The final part of my ‘pick of the best’ to come on wednesday, be sure to come back then.

9 Comments leave one →
  1. Diane permalink
    October 8, 2012 11:16 pm

    Hi thanks so much for including my work on your blog it looks great, I had a great weekend regards Diane (naughty dog) oh and I have a cat !!!!

    • October 9, 2012 8:34 am

      Hi Diane, you’re very welcome. I think you’re products are great and I can now see scope for a follow up range ‘Careless Cat’ lol ! Glad to hear the weekend was good for you. Hope to see you again.

  2. October 9, 2012 11:35 am

    My daughter Lottie spent all her savings on a naughty dog cushion and has cuddled it all week end. Shame Diane sold out of the dogs – I know Lottie would have adored these too!
    Delightful work made by an equally delightful woman!

    • October 9, 2012 11:50 am

      Thanks Ann Marie, I agree with your thoughts 100% and I’m sure Diane will be busy making more pooches as we speak and I feel there’s a good christmas present idea sorted out already.

  3. Diane permalink
    October 9, 2012 3:06 pm

    Sound like I better get making some more of the little dogs, thanks for lovely comments 🙂

  4. October 9, 2012 3:12 pm

    Well done you!!

  5. October 14, 2012 1:23 am

    Thanks for featuring my work too!

    • October 14, 2012 8:41 am

      No problem Rachel. Loved your quirky animals. Look forward to seeing what’s next.


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