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GNCCF Manchester 2018 Part 1

October 15, 2018

Hello everyone and apologies for the slightly later post time today as I’ve been chasing my tail trying to assemble and get this out to you today. It’s turned into a bigger post than expected, so I’ll be releasing part 2 later in the week. Over the weekend I visited the Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair and took in a broad selection of the 150 of the UK’s most talented designer-makers and artists. The show is now in it’s eleventh year and also had new events in both Newcastle and Sheffield during 2018.

Let’s start with a jeweller who’s work I’ve seen develop over the past few years, Libby Ward. Libby’s design approach is based on experimental methodologies, she has a passion for juxtaposing unusual and an unexpected mix of materials using a myriad of making processes in order to create thought provoking jewellery. The tactile nature of Libby’s work aims to connect people with textures and re-evaluate how they perceive preciousness through materials.

Libby’s work always feel organic, unearthed somehow, and never fails to surprise and delight.

Lovely to chat with ex-ceramist Karen Suzuki who is now a textile artist with a company called Nameless Wonders. Her work shows, creativity, expression and is often a little on the dark side… in a Darth Vader kind of way lol

I thought her Prancing Pup was a great nod to her days as a ceramicist, and her pigeon looked like he’d just flown in to join the show! Lovely work Karen.

Next up we have a selection of homeware ceramics from Judit Esztergomi. Judit makes wheel-thrown and press-moulded tableware. Her simple and round forms provide the blank canvas for her patterns, with her favourite decorating techniques being sgraffitto and inlay. Inspiration has various sources: the folk pottery of her motherland, Hungary; the country’s waving landscape silhouettes; the wind as it blows meadow grasses.

I think that Judit has a great eye for colour and love how her ceramics have a fossil like quality to them. The pieces on the shelf show how her wonderful sense of movement in the decoration, makes your eye float along each piece. Her meadow collection and groggy clays also spoke to me of rustic, countryside travels.

A few fun, yet practical, kitchen spatulas from wood turner and ex-toymaker Tim Foxall. Obvioulsy the rather sedate looking dogs caught my eye.

I really admired the detail and skill in the work of Lucy Jean Green. Her beautiful framed hand cut paper automata were too difficult to capture well behind glass  so here’s a few images from her website.

And this wonderful three part Owl, all apparently made to scale ! Impressive work.

For the ephemera collector among you, you can’t fail to admire the work of Paper pioneer Jennifer Collier. She creates exquisite sculptures from vintage materials in conjunction with stitch; a contemporary twist on traditional textiles. The papers serve as inspiration and media for the work, with the narrative suggesting the forms. This marriage of unlikely materials transforms old papers into something unique, delicate and complex.

Great to see vintage turned functional with this array of hand assembled paper lampshades.

Less functional, but equally as wonderful, are these Penguin Books Cup and Saucer, typewriter or camera.

A greatly re-purposed book of British Birds turned nesting box. A stitch in time as they say !

Last entry for today comes from Lydia Mary. Lydia is a print designer and illustrator specialising in screen printing to create illustrative and playful ranges of textile and paper homewares and accessories. Illustrating the world around her, she is heavily influenced by the narrative and decorative nature of folk and outsider art.

Her work has a child centered yet sophisticated feel to it. Fun and quirky and full of the kind or lines that makes you smile. Cards, prints and colouring wall charts, there’s something for everyone here.

Please join me later in the week for part 2 and remember to leave your thoughts and comments below. Thank you.

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10 Comments leave one →
  1. October 15, 2018 3:08 pm

    Really enjoyed this post – especially as I wasn’t able to go to the event. Thanks!

    • October 15, 2018 3:52 pm

      Great news Linda, part two later this week. It was a good show.

  2. Elaine W permalink
    October 15, 2018 7:39 pm

    Thank you for sharing all these wonderful quirky works of art, without your posts I wouldn’t have found some artists of interest. Look forward to the next one.

    • October 16, 2018 12:25 pm

      Great to hear Elaine, do pass the link to my site onto any friends who might also like them.

  3. October 15, 2018 7:58 pm

    Great review – thanks for sharing with those of us who didn’t visit first hand.

    • October 16, 2018 12:28 pm

      Thank you Ink and Clay, that made me smile as it’s why I do this : ) Much appreciate your comment.

  4. Deirdre O'Sullivan permalink
    October 16, 2018 7:24 pm

    That was superb to see, Craig! Great to see the latest trends in craft work from the other side of the world. Those paper cups and saucers remind me of the famous surrealist fur cup and saucer by Meret Oppenheim – bizarre and amusing! I hope you treated yourself and bought something nice? I wouldn’t be able to resist that textile pigeon or one of those charming wooden spatulas!

    • October 16, 2018 8:14 pm

      I remember that furry cup too. Always difficult to find just one thing to buy when you’re surrounded by sooo many amazing things. I did find a little something for a friend’s birthday.

  5. Ann-Marie Franey permalink
    October 16, 2018 8:07 pm

    Thanks Craig for a lovely independent and informative review of the GNCCF and highlighting a cross section of makers at the show.

    • October 16, 2018 8:17 pm

      Thank you Ann-Marie, as one of the organisers it’s wonderful to see how your show has developed year by year from the first event set in the school, all this years ago. Still a pleasure to cover the show on my blog. Part two out tomorrow.

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