Every step: The design process of Joseph Hartley @ Manchester Craft and Design Centre

By Sophie Arnold

Bread-making may not be the focal point of most exhibitions, but one Manchester-based artist is defying convention by placing the humble loaf at the heart of his latest artistic endeavours.

An artist who could quieten those that question the necessity of art, Joseph Hartley’s exhibition at Manchester Craft and Design Centre focuses on usable objects that are also easy on the eye.

Inspired by his love of food, Joseph’s work is a collection of items with practical applications, made from simple materials and by simple processes.

Each piece is individually crafted and displays the techniques used to make it, resulting in objects that reveal rather than conceal their making.

The main exhibition focuses on The Makery which was initially designed for Joseph’s 2012 graduate portfolio from Manchester Metropolitan University.

It consists of objects that aid in making bread and was inspired by Joseph’s love of the craft.

Exposed and clean, the objects are made from just three materials, wood, clay and cloth and most have multiple uses.

The apron folds into a sack to carry and store bread, while the bread peel doubles as a serving board and the canonical lid of the flask can be used as a beaker.

The beautifully-crafted pieces evoke nostalgia and celebrate the art of home-making.  

The smell of baking bread transports the viewer from the busy Northern Quarter to a country house kitchen, warming feet by the agar.

The exhibition is part of the centre’s Future Makers project which displays the work of emerging talent from a wide range of disciplines.

Nestled amongst the bustling streets of Manchester’s Northern Quarter, the Craft and Design Centre is known for its innovative exhibitions.

Joseph earned the nickname Butcher, Baker, Designer, Maker by drawing inspiration for his craft from working in the Lancashire meat, bakery and cockling industries.

Small and succinct, the exhibition juts out from the promenade that runs through the centre.

The simplicity of the pieces and their arrangement in the tiny space draws every visitors eye from the surrounding bustle of jewellery and craft shops.

Set to one side is a bread making workshop, where everyone can watch the man himself at work, using his own designs to their full wonder.

Joseph will also be running two ceramics workshops at the centre on April 13 and April 20.

For more information visit www.craftanddesign.com

The exhibition runs until June 26.

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