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GNCCF Manchester 2018 Part 2

October 17, 2018

Welcome back to this weeks second post, featuring some of the exhibitors from this year’s Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair. See my previous post here for more of the designers who attended.

Mandy Cleveland starts us off today with some beautifully illustrated, framed and re-purposed envelope art.

I hadn’t come across the great print designs from Posner and Posner. Makers of hand-printed, contemporary textiles, their designs and illustrations focus on line, repeat pattern and colour contrasts. With distinctive fabric which is screen printed in their studio and used for homewares, clothing and accessories. The collection sits together colour-wise very well and the patterns feel fresh and vibrant.

When I first saw the floral sculptures from Linda Southwell I thought they were made from felt, as their surface suggested the same texture. On closer inspection I discovered they are in fact ceramic and made from either a groggy clay or a fine porcelain. Inspired by a variety of plant forms, Linda’s sculptures bring the outside in and give a permanence to natural forms. Great patience Linda, they look amazing.

I loved the art pieces from Rachel Cooke. She makes multi-textured, wall-hung and wearable art using her own handmade ceramics, salvaged materials and vintage tiles. Rachel enjoys working intuitively, experimenting with different texture and colour combinations to make each piece unique.

For me, Rachel’s work has a timeless retro feel to her art forms. Beautiful ceramic/mosiac, suggested landscapes with a splash of other media to add variety, texture and shape to each artwork. She also runs classes so you can make your own art, check out the details on her site.

Miriam Griffiths is one of two companies showing wonderful knitwear that caught my eye. Based in Sheffield, all the pieces are lovingly made from high quality, locally sourced fibres with a focus on using natural materials. Great to see some Menswear pieces too.

The second knitwear company was Heather Chamberlain. Luscious greens and linear shapes defined Heather’s collection. Autumnal scarves, wonderfully soft to the touch with a naturally rolled edge. I wanted a jumper made out of them.

Some familiar and striking work from The Courtyard Pottery’s David Ashby.

David’s work is a familiar ‘face’ on my blog. He lives and has a workshop in Grassington in the Yorkshire Dales. His work is wheel thrown and slip decorated, with a mixture of wax resist, inlaid colours and scraffito. He’s inspired by the paintings and intuitive mark making of painters like Antoni Tapies, Robert Rauschenberg and Jean -Michel Basquiat. Bold, busy and distinctive.

Next to David was G R Hawes  with some beautifully coloured and shaped glass pieces. ” My work encompasses small batch production for galleries and retail outlets through to large scale lighting and bespoke commissions for individuals, hotels around the world and well respected lighting and chandelier companies. My work includes the use of many traditional glassblowing techniques combined with a very contemporary edge. ” I really admired the shape within a shape, colour within a colour idea.

Hiro Takahashi had an intriguing stand with a collection of small containers on the top of each sat a small creature, these were her ‘Soul Houses‘. Hiro’s ceramic work focuses on intricate textures, forms and architectural pieces. Her distinctive narrative approach can be seen in other works: Message box and Tree of life. They all depict a reflection of her life in past & present.

I also admired Hiro’s mosiac or fragmented animals. Each beautifully textured and looking like its been unearthed from some ancient architectural site. Fascinating work.

I wonder why these retro looking shapes caught my attention ! Great work from Line Mortensen, who is a Danish contemporary mosaic artist based in Scotland. Her Scandinavian heritage and architectural background shines through in her sculptural objects which are imaginative, detailed, textured and abstract.

Finally, my favourite artist from 2018’s show is Frances Noon. Based in Slaithwaite, West Yorkshire, Frances makes small, humorous sculptures of animals and birds. She uses jewellery techniques to shape and solder base metals, these are combined with a coloured wooden element to form woodland scenes, boats and sheds where an incongruous scale is predominant and humour prevails.

There’s so much love and joy that shines out of her work, it made me smile as soon as I saw it. Spending more time browsing her pieces, just made me like it all the more. It’s definitely the stories that each piece conjures up in the viewers mind (or perhaps it’s just my imagination that works overtime) that makes each artform both precious and absorbing.

A cool collection of sheds above and some quirky creatures below.

Some great wall plaques too. Pop over to her site here and see more for yourself.

Many thanks to everyone who kindly allowed me to photograph their beautiful work and took the time to talk a little about how they make, mould, form and fabricate the great array of crafts I’ve seen again this year at the GNCCF. Do pop over to their sites, buy something direct from the makers, share my posts so that more people can get to see what fantastic talent we have in this country. As ever, your comments are very much appreciated too.

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