Visiting The Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair in Manchester

The Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair is the perfect place for an aspiring maker, graduate or craft lover (of any type) to visit. This year the fair took place at the stunning venue of Victoria Baths in Manchester. I went along to visit for inspiration, to catch up with my favourite makers, meet some new faces and to kick start the wheel of ideas for when I might apply in the future.

During the event there was so much to look at, I needed a break every now and then to take it all in! A stunning venue packed with professionally displayed works of art that have taken years to perfect. I've selected a few of my favourites from the exhibition to share with you.

Glass work by Giles Fearon

I really enjoyed the way that graduates' work from various universities were displayed within the changing cubicles around the sides of the main pool area. Each cubicle created it's own mini exhibition space framed with original tiles.

I thought recent Manchester School of Art graduate Giles Fearon's glass pieces looked beautiful in these tiny exhibition spaces. The spot-light cast a lovely reflection onto the original tiles behind the work and the glass itself gave an impression of water which was interesting with the pool setting.

Another graduate who's work I enjoyed was that of textiles artist Vivienne Beaumont.

Vivienne's work captures beautiful life moments in illustrated machine embroidery. I love the gentle colour palettes in Vivienne's work as well as the way the stitches create texture and pattern to produce a textiles piece that appears at a glance to be a painting.

Glass work by Catherine Mahe

Throughout the rest of the exhibition, more makers had set up their displays in one of the two original swimming pools, the dance hall or around the balcony at the top of the building. It was interesting to walk around the exhibition space as the floor levels changed in the swimming pools, the decline to the deep end kept you aware that you were stood in the pool itself.

As always, it was very lovely to have a catch up with and to see new creations by Catherine Mahe. Her colourful glass work is instantly recognisable from a distance and the intricate details bring you in for a closer look.

'Stumpy City Pigeon' by Karen Suzuki

For anyone who has been near my Instagram stories recently, you will have seen my current fascination with the pigeons that keep visiting our garden. I was thrilled to see this 'stumpy city pigeon' by Karen Suzuki. This poor little fella looks like he's had better days. I thought this piece was quite fitting for a Manchester City Centre venue where unfortunately the majority of the pigeons are a bit tatty.

Karen has captured a great personality within this textiles piece.

Marged Owain

After years of talking to Marged Owain over emails, we finally met in person at the GNCCF event- it was a very exciting moment for me.

Marged had some beautiful - and very reasonably priced work on display including these tapas dishes and honey pots that were sitting by butter paddles, brooches and earrings. It was lovely to see how her work has developed over the last few years and in preparation for this event too. I can't wait to see what she comes up with next.

Jean White

I was also able to have a lovely chat with Jean White who has just finished studying her MA at The Manchester School of Art. She has taken her years of illustration skill and knowledge to apply her designs onto clay to create 3D pieces that contain either a positive or negative imprint of her hand etched design. I thought the colours that Jean chooses for each piece work really well together and have a very delicate feel to them.

I thoroughly enjoyed the Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair this year and was very excited to be back visiting the beautiful venue of Victoria Baths. This event has been one that i've visited many times over the last few years, the high quality of the work on display always leaves me wanting to push my own work further to see what I can achieve. I'd love to apply to this event in the future and have my own stand to create into my own little 'world' for the weekend. I'm going to shoot off and create now whilst i'm feeling so inspired!

As always, thank you for reading my post. Did you visit the event? Who were your favourite makers?

#GNCCF #GNCCFManchester #VictoriaBaths

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