Our Northern Quarter

One of the things that pulled me to Manchester was the Northern Quarter, it has such a great creative atmosphere. A year after I arrived here I managed to move my studio to Manchester Craft + Design Centre in the heart of the Northern Quarter, 5 years further on, I still love the Northern Quarter, and of course have my own studio / shop.

There are a few things going on here at the moment that make it worth a visit . . .

Bee in the City continues until 23 September, over a 100 bees decorated by various artists are situated all around the city. We have a large and a few baby bees at the Craft Centre and you can pick up a trail map here too.

Heritage Open Weekend continues this weekend, 13 to 16 September. An annual festival allowing people to visit places that are often hidden or to find out more about our history. MCDC will be joining in this Saturday 15 September with free tours and a ceramic workshop, and of course all of our studios will be open as usual.

Our next exhibition will also be open on Saturday, A Journey Home, it launches this Thursday and continues until 17 November. It is the first UK solo show by Eunmi Kim, her ceramics explore what it means to be Korean and traditional Korean art and is part of Asia Triennial Manchester. I have been following Eunmi’s preparations over on Instagram, her work is beautiful and I can’t wait for this!

You can really make a day of this area as there are so many nice shops and cafes to choose from, and restaurants and bars for a little later on. One of my favourite cafes is Fig + Sparrow on Oldham Road, I love the interior as much as the food.

Whenever I’m in need of a florist, there are two that I always support, Northern Flower on Tib Street (opposite MCDC and next door to Sugar Junction, a very popular cafe) as well as Flourish at the Market Street (shopping high street) end of Tib Street, they both always have such an great interesting choice.

Back on Oldham Street, near Fig & Sparrow, there are plenty of vintage clothes, record and book shops. Oldham Road leads north from Piccadilly Gardens, the city centre and the Northern Quarter leads on to Piccadilly train station, so it’s an easy walking distance.

Around the corner is a shop most makers at MCDC couldn’t live without, Fred Aldous as it supplies so much for our making lives

But while you’re wandering around the Northern Quarter remember, look up and look down, look around, there are so many works of street art everywhere, painted bees of course, things from last years Cities of Hope and changing pieces, just keep wandering!

And if you’re looking at this one then look left to find, another bee, and MCDC!

Hope to see you soon!

Cities of Hope

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!). 

Last few days

Starts with some sparkly trees on Canal Street!

Then a trip to the Whitworth Gallery to see the We Face Forward exhibition, some of which spilled out into the park.

Keep seeing these two poems from the bus on the way to the studio so at last I got a chance to see them close up . . .

Couple of great walls found in the Northern Quarter . . .

Two more pendants on cottons with oval postcards and dots of stamps I made at the start of the week; a couple of things I made later in the week are coming up soon . . .

Day out in Stockport

This was actually the Sunday before last but its been so busy this week, I’ve had to leave it until now. I ventured out on my own to Stockport, not such a big deal if you know that its not that far and very easy to get to. I’ve been lucky to have new friends taking me places so far, but this one I knew I wanted to spend time wandering and wandering, so off I went! The Vintage Village was on again, amazing! And I also went to the Staircase Museum, supposed to be really haunted, but I didn’t see anyone, shame!

Some lovely adverts, always my favourite thing to find
The old market place where the fair takes place
Beautiful ornate buildings with cinema and more vintage
Advert for a tailors by my new favourite furniture shop
Wandering around the market place
Curious date inscribbed into the floor
Went to the Staircase House Museum
Beautiful orange walls
Inside every floor was from a different period
Layers of walls from its stages of life
The rooms were based on who actually had lived there
My favorite, the 20’s room, and the least spooky
more old faded signage …
Lots of tudor style buildings dotted around the town
People getting married at the Plaza, their names in lights

Bye Edinburgh!

I will shortly be saying goodbye to Edinburgh! I came here for college (Edinburgh College of Art) and remained here for 14 years-ish. Its a beautiful city but its time to find a new home. I’ve been inspired by Edinburgh massively, its given me a love of cities, and the colour grey! I have a couple of weeks left so have found myself looking over photos from the last few years that have been an inspiration. The textures, walls with disappearing old ads painted on them many years ago and the architecture . . .

This building is on my walk to the studio, and is beautiful, but I loved it when the walkway towards it was adorned briefly with yellow scaffolding. Scaffolding is like jewellery being worn by the building, and reminds me of constructing jewellery, work in progress!


On a lovely lane towards Stockbridge


Love the work that has gone into this perfectly gold sign in St Stephen Street


Another advert on both sides of a doorway at the end of Chambers Street, Straw and Felt Hatters


Love this building, off Nicholson Street


Nice wall! Could easily be a painting or tapestry


An Antony Gormley at the entrance to the Gallery of Modern Art. There are a series of these but have only managed to see about half of them


Foxy get off the roof! Its a 2D metal cut out on the top of a building off Broughton Street


Up in Leith, I love old tatty shop fronts, really honest looking and a proper fishmongers I reckon


On Leith Walk, lovely disappearing tailors sign


Stencil grafitti ... this was in Bruntsfield and there's another to come soon ...


Stick No Bills ... always thought of this as being on posters and more of a modern thing


Have no idea what kind of brances, the shop itself no longer exists


Beautiful wall ... looks like a tapestry


Another sign on the Royal Mile with a lovely hand, there's another hand sign somewhere here that I've been searching for...


Would love to see what these sections where advertising, just for a minute, then let them to go back to this


This entrance on the Royal Mile is very collage-y and stitch-ery dont you think!


I dont think this is there anymore, it was on Victoria Street


Gorgeous layers of blue and gold writing either side of a door on the Bridges




A few days in Manchester

Spent three lovely sunny days in Manchester last week (reasons why to come another time!) Lots of wandering was done, from staying on Canal Street to visiting the Royal Exchange where Dazzle will be held at Christmas this year, to the People’s Museum and Spinningfields, lots of wandering around the Northern Quarter and an essential visit to the Manchester Craft and Design Centre, really worth a trip.

Lustre and time in Nottingham

It’s been a busy ol’ week after taking part in Lustre 2010, it was a lovely show, great makers and great visitors, thoroughly enjoyed it. Then a day off on Monday in Nottingham exploring. It’s a beautiful and very friendly place to be, loved it. And of course took a sqwillion photos… I stayed in the centre of the city with an amazing view out from the hotel room. It was also just round the corner from Debbie Bryan’s shop who I have exhibited with a few times in New York and so a visit to her shop was essential. I could have moved in, so lovely! A really unique shop for craft seeing and buying: www.debbiebryan.co.uk

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From the busiest street in Edinburgh

I’m back to my blog after a break for my flat move – to one of the busiest streets in Edinburgh! I would be all un-packed if it wasn’t for a fear of trying to make actual book cases out of those flat things on my living room floor! I’m happy to be living in a building with a great sign on the side of it, right up my street indeed, image below… Things are going well with Dazzle which ends on Monday, I’ve been a couple of times, some lovely work. And the exhibition in the US is still on, have no idea what’s happening there yet, so we will see. I’m currently working on an order for a new store opening in Switzerland, jewellery and collages which is great. I will post more information once it’s started there. I’ve also sent off work to an online gallery based in Western Australia, which I will also post about once that has been launched.  So some exciting things due to happen.

10 sleeps to go

I have 10 sleeps before I move flat! So excited,  if it had been any more than 10 it would be just embarrasing to count! I wanted to preserve the things I like the most about the inside of my current flat before I go.











We had the bathroom re-fitted a while ago and during its gutting discovered layer upon layer of wallpaper including this one full of lovely old boats. Sadly it’s no longer there, I would of kept a wall of it!   

This one remains – but in the back of a cupboard.

The edging of this room always makes me feel I’m inside a giant wedding cake.

I love the centre rose too.