. . . where I think, design, experiment, make, display, meet, discuss, re-home . . .
Last summer a selection of my collages were bought to feature in the bedrooms and suites of a stunning new hotel, the King Street Townhouse in Manchester’s city centre. The hotel opened earlier this year and I was recently invited to take a look around to see them in place. The hotel is beautiful, intriguing and unique and I am so delighted to be a part of it and to be amongst such an eclectic gathering of fabulous artworks.
” When finding Art for our Hotels, I’m looking for something, a bit different & occasionally quirky, that’ll add to the ambience & atmosphere of a room, giving our guests cause to look, not the run of the mill you often find in a hotel bedroom.
I arrived at the Manchester Craft & Design Centre hoping to do just that. I came across Clare Hillerby, her collages are individual, each one carefully & cleverly created separately, the only downside it can make them hard to choose from!
I really like her eclectic mix of objects & artefacts, bringing old & new in a colourful & imaginative composition.
Her art sits well with our bedroom design. “
Interior Designer of King Street Town House & Eclectic Hotels, Manchester
A very exciting thing happened in Manchester a couple of weeks ago, in the northern quarter in fact where my studio/shop is. It became our turn for the citiesofhope.global project to visit us. 9 renowned street artists came and made our streets even more intereting. The images discussed social issues which you can find more about on their website.
I was even more excited to find two artists working just outside the craft centre so I was able to snap some work in progress shots of those. Others I found in progress too and I returned this evening with fingers crossed that none had been over painted (LOST HOPE has already!).
I am excited to be taking part in the Little Northern Contemporary Craft Fair . . . this Sunday! It is now at Altrincham Town Hall, and across the road is the award winning Altrincham Market. I’d like to be at both places at once on Sunday!
I hope you can join us at this lovely event, there will be around 40 makers from many craft disciplines. I will be taking my jewellery, collages and cards. I’ve been busy making new jewellery recently and I’m working on new collages and cards this week!
Last month I took part in the #marchmeetthemaker challenge over on Instagram. It was open to any creative business that wanted to take part, a subject was set for every day of the month. I thought I would share the project in full here . . .
Day 1 | Brand Image . . .
I created my own handwritten logo a couple of years ago to reflect my interest and use of old handwriting. Then when I moved to my own studio / shop last September it was given a fresh look by having it laser cut in wood. I originally wanted to paint it but it looked right left alone along with my shop branding. I have old wood furniture against a pale grey wall inside.
Day 2 | You . . .
Day 3 | Workspace . . .
This is the jewellery making side of my workspace at the back of my shop, which continues across the back wall and then behind into a long simple bench area I created for making cards and collages, (or doing admin). All of my work is made in the studio, and it’s the perfect space, have great light and fab windows either side of me, one with the best view of the craft centre.
Day 4 | Tools . . .
Day 5 | Can’t live without . . .
My awesome mum and my amazing fella firstly and mostly . . . then work wise it would be coffee before I start making to make me human, paper and pens, or a mountain of notebooks, my diary and a selection of inky black pens and pencil to write, make notes, lists and record thoughts.
Day 6 | Raw materials . . .
The first image is of a silver order I had just received. I make everything from scratch using silver sheet, wire and tube, and gold tube for the rivets. Postcards are next, Manchester is really good for vintage fairs which I go to as often as I can (I have the man in my life interested in vintage now and we are a good ephemera hunting team!). I also use old stamps and linen maps. I (we!) also hunt for old wooden rulers. I started buying rulers back in Edinburgh, they add a very warm and friendly feel to my work. Lastly here are a sample of the semi-precious beads I scatter through my collection. Always good quality and a great addition of colour and texture.
Day 7 | How & Why . . .
Why? I need some new simple every day wear earrings to suit some recently made necklaces.
How? I’ve prepared the hooks and stems, crazy how long such little things take. I lay out the ideas next to me at the bench on clean white paper, to stop me being distracted, which kind of works! I want to use semi-precious beads in them to link with the necklaces but give colour and interest on their own.
Day 8 | Where . . .
My walk from Piccadilly Gardens in central Manchester to the Craft Centre, is about 7 minutes across Thomas Street and up Oak Street in the Northern Quarter, then upstairs to my studio / shop.
Day 9 | Goals . . .
To get my cabinets stocked up! Now that I have more space with the new shop, and also to try and keep up with what is being designed in my head, its hard to keep up! It is a constant shifting to accommodate the unexpected order or deadline, then back to my schedule, adding in some random ideas as the inspiration takes me, if I leave it until I have time, sometimes I loose the inspiration for it. I also would like to open an online shop at some point this year.
Day 10 | Favourite small business . .
Lizzie Stewart illustration
Ness Donnelly stitched drawings
Cathy Cullis embroidery
Day 11 | Post run . . .
Day 12 | First ever sale . . .
A bangle from my Degree Show which I sold at New Designers to a very lovely French lady, I will never forget it!
Day 13 | Feedback . . .
One reason I wanted a shop at the Craft Centre was so I can meet the people who like my work and buy from me, it’s the best way to progress. I have a lot of conversations about my work, the display and, I didn’t expect so many conversations with guys about these old pegs I use for hanging pendants. Random, but I do love these little old things!
Day 14 | Creative friends . . .
Plenty here at my making home, Manchester Craft & Design Centre.
Day 15 | Inspiration . . .
Day 16 | Time to relax . . .
If I’m out, and not at vintage fairs, I’m a bit of a wanderer and love exploring the city and adding to my collection of photos of derelict, urban textures, ghost walls, road markings and graffiti.
Day 17 | Photography . . .
Day 18 | Shelfie . . .
Day 19 | Helper . . .
On Mondays I am extremely blessed with the help of the ultra lovely, friendly and happy Tamara. X
Day 20 | Sketchbook . . .
I generally design by playing with previously made but unused metalwork elements, sometimes along with card models. I fill a sketchbook in about a year or so with ideas and doodles of repeated shapes to warm up, and the occasional drawing of objects around me. If I’m lucky enough to have time!
Day 21 | Work clothes . . .
Day 22 | Best seller . . .
As most of my work is either one-off or limited edition, I cant really have a best seller, but, these studs are the first items I made using stamps and I always have them in stock in a nice selection of coloured stamps, maps and postcards. They are a good, or best friend!
Day 23 | Studio playlist . . .
On this day I was working on a brooch commission while listening to the radio. I get bored easily so I move between radio, silence, watching documentaries, or listening to my own music, though I have to be selective in a studio with visitors!
Day 24 | Milestone . . .
I moved to Manchester 4 years ago now with the hope that it was firstly a good idea, which it was. And also that I would get my own shop at Manchester Craft & Design Centre, which I have! I now need to make the most of having the shop and focus on some new goals.
This is an image taken from the current exhibition at the Craft Centre, Ceramics by Verity Howard.
Day 25 | Packaging . . .
A sample of the stamps an their colours. Stamps, maps and beads give my work colour, and they are sitting here on white cartridge paper which I use to texture my silver by passing layers through the rolling mill. The paper comes out with lovely prints from the silver, and they are a perfect addition to my collages and cards.
We open Monday to Saturday, 10 am to 5.30 pm, though as I have a helper I am at the studio Tuesday to Saturday. We can work outside of those hours too.
It takes me around an hour to get to work by bus and I love my route. I pass the Museum of Costume, the Whitworth, Manchester Museum and travel through Curry Mile and the universities to the centre of town.
Day 28 | Organised . . .
Day 29 | In action . . .
Day 30 | Books or Blogs . . .
Books! Though I do have a few favourite blogs I regularly visit, I love books. Beautifully illustrated books, or books by illustrators. I love old map books, and I am a big Nigel Peake fan.
Day 31 | Customers . . .
Customers, I can’t tell you how much I appreciate you. Without you I couldn’t continue my work, without my work, I would be nothing. Thank you X
On my way to the shop to start a sale over on Facebook today, exciting! It will start around 11am all going to plan and will continue until 5pm on Monday. I’m attempting to clear some space, including head space for some new work. Here are a selection of what’s on offer, feel free to comment or email if you are interested in anything or pop over to Facebook for the full collection and details. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Every year Manchester Craft & Design Centre host an exhibition titled Future Makers to celebrate talented new makers who graduated the previous summer. Each studio can invite a maker they deem one to watch and I am very excited to have invited ceramicist, Josie Seymour-Jones who graduated from Hereford College of Arts. She will be the first Future Maker I have selected for my Studio/Shop, and I cant wait to see the work arriving next week. If you visited the Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair last October, you may have seen her work there already. You are welcome to come and view Josie’s work (that she is busy making at the moment!) from its launch on Thursday 25th February (6pm to 8pm). There will be around 11 other Future Makers exhibited around the building.
Future Makers runs until Sunday 29th May 2016.
“I work in porcelain to create ceramics with subtle surface qualities
Treating the clay as a canvas, I approach the work as if it were a painting, building up layers of colour to create a pictorial composition
Observing traces and marks in the landscape, the pieces are made in a way which reflects the delicate nature of the porcelain
I am a graduate of Hereford College of Arts in Contemporary Design Crafts, and currently work from my hometown in north Wales”