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Fishink in Manchester. MCDC, fig and Sparrow, Common, Shudehill Studios and 2022NQ.

July 11, 2013

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On the way into town on tuesday I came across this beautiful garden, such a welcome blast of colour in the strong sunlight. In Manchester, I firstly wandered in to see the girls at fig and sparrow and noticed that they had put my Fishink Cards and Notebooks on their shelves, fab to see them nestled in there, let’s hope they’re a success.

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I then headed over to Oak Street and the Manchester Craft and Design Centre to see the rest of the studios I’d missed the other week. There was a crowd gathered outside Home Sweet Home enjoying the sunshine and goodies on sale there.

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Inside the Craft and Design centre I chatted to Lee Page Hanson about his ceramics. Lee had graduated from Sunderland Polytechnic and had been at the MCDC since 1999. His style had been influenced by artists such as Wassily Kandinsky, Antoni Tapies, Paul Klee & Kura Te Waru Rewiri and Potters John Maltby & Claudi Casanovas. Working predominantly in white clay bodies, Porcelain & Earthenware, Lee manipulates and shapes his ceramics using plaster press moulds to produce textures and accentuate with oxide. His work involves experimenting with geometric shapes and some figurative images. Using coloured slips, paper resist, under-glaze pencil, lace & wallpaper embossing and on glaze lustre decoration and combing these techniques to form a ceramic collage.

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Interesting to see a range of styles and imagery in his work. Apparently the lustres and gold and silver glazes have been particularly popular with his customers over in the USA.

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Next I chatted to Nell Smith about her clothing company called simply Nell. Inspired by Japanese cartoons and Scandinavian textiles, Nell produce a range of babywear rompers, hats, t-shirts using 100% organic cotton and people friendly inks and artwork lol

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This tiger caught my eye in his ‘card rack’ cage. Nell was busily working away as we chatted, screen printing with one hand and taking orders with the other, a talented lass. She mentioned that she’d had orders through her online shop from France, China and Norway that day ! No wonder she was busy. Lovely child-centered designs and ethos.

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Sharing Nell’s workspace is lighting designer Jane Blease. Sustainability is at the core of Jane’s designs, minimising waste through imaginative and efficient use of materials. Jane takes inspiration from everything around her – nature, landscapes. All of her work is organic, either in form, pattern or materials used. In her current collection Jane intricately embroiders geometric patterns into wood veneer using colorful threads. This unusual combination of materials makes her work truly unique.

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After a catch up and cuppa with Andrea in her stylish &Made shop. I chatted to the centres’ Marketing peeps about an exciting new idea I’ve had that I’ll share with you in a few weeks time, if it all comes together. Around the Northern Quarter I spotted some more interesting Manchester Graffiti. There’s a new exhibition opening in the Gallery space in the Craft and Design centre this coming saturday. It’s called ‘ Forming Words ‘ and runs until November 9th. More info here. The exhibition will open with a free, family friendly launch between 2-5pm on Saturday 13 July. This will be a chance to see the new works at the MCDC  plus enjoy afternoon of entertainment and free refreshments.

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Then I popped into another favourite haunt of mine Common Bar. It’s a glorious mix of chilled and colourful folk, surrounded by great food, beer and art exhibitions on the walls. Suddenly I’m in heaven lol. Some interesting artwork from NY illustrator Jon Burgerman.

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The pic for the Indy Man Beer Con is a four day Beer Festival featuring different brewers and different beers on both cask and keg, food stalls, music and pop up tastings, talks and seminars. It runs 10th til 13th October and tickets for £6 are available on the site now.

The main featured artist in ‘Common’ was Billy and Alex who is Alex Godwin, an English artist focusing on painting outside and inside and keeping happy. Inspired by some real life events and people, the observations made from living in unfamiliar surroundings and keeping a positive perspective on life. The distinctive shapes, colours, characters and symbols in Billy’s work are created with an intention to communicate a colourful and happy visual message in a simple attempt to make other people smile and be happy too. Billy has exhibited her work around the UK, Germany and Belgium and her paintings can be seen decorating the streets of London, Berlin, Madrid, South Africa and beyond. It certainly made me smile and left me with a real positive feeling.

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Check out some of Billys’ other projects here to truly experience the scale and colour in her stylish, upbeat work.

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One other mention for Manchester based folk. On Saturday 27th July there is a

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and an after party at 2022NQ you can find out more details here.

For those you you who don’t know, Shudehill Studio is a new creative space in Manchester city centre, run by two graduates from the Manchester School of Art, 2012. The Studio aims to offer affordable studio space and exhibition opportunities to local artists and recent graduates. This summer the studio will collaborate with M20 collective to host a visual arts and music festival called “NQ Pop-up”.  Parts of the northern quarter will be exposed to a selection of exhibitions and performances, across a variety of unconventional venues. From ‘bars to car-parks’. This is a great opportunity for artists and musicians. Free entrance to all. 2022NQ will play host to the after party, the coming together and networking of the artists, contributors and participants of the day, offering showcase of music from hiphop-funk and soul, to house, dnb, bass and electronics from dj’s in the local area – and it’s free entry all night!

Another great day in Manchester. Thanks to all involved for answering my questions and letting me study, capture and display their work here.

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