‘Creative capital of the North’: Manchester art scene buzzing as craft fair comes to town

Live artists in action are the latest additions to this year’s Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair at the Old Granada Studios on Friday October 9.

The event which attracts more than 6,000 people provides the opportunity for 175 designers to exhibit their crafts from fashion and jewellery to glassware and metalwork.

New for this year are Salford Installation, Artist Stephen David Graham and Artist in Residence, MMU graduate Harriet Lawton who will be producing live work.

Ann-Marie Franey, a previous producer and director for Old Granada TV Studios, is one of the founders behind the event along with Angela Mann.

She said: “It is a fair which champions the best designer makers in the UK and also gave Northern makers a platform of a high standard.

“It should be an enjoyable, entertaining and uplifting experience.”

Angela Mann claimed that Manchester is ‘arguably the creative capital of the North’ and the event ‘is going to be mind-blowing, promising a fantastic day out’.

Emphasis is on active engagement and participation allowing the public to discover how things are made and to get involved with the creative process.

“There is a growing fascination with how items are made and a desire to own pieces with their own story and provenance and craft is booming as a result,” said Ms Mann.

Makers Dozen, are a Manchester art-set demonstrating at the fair, encouraging participants to assist with them in their pop up studio.

Ms Franey said: “We want to evolve the show, each year we try and give our visitors something extra to add to their experience.

“We want people to engage and understand the making process and appreciate how talented our exhibitors are by inspiring them.”

The art fanatics search the breadth of the country on the lookout for the latest, most diverse talent that their panel of curators, buyers and academics selected from.

“Manchester is a very happening cultural destination with some amazing galleries including the Manchester City Gallery and the Whitworth,” said Ms Franey.

“With a leading School of Art at MMU training lots of new talent, there’s lots going on in the fields of art, craft and design.”

Dan Morrison, a local artist and engineer from Todmorden who describes his company BLOTT WORKS work as ‘Functional Sculpture’ will be exhibiting at the event.

Mr Morrison’s structures are influenced by industrial machines, mechanisms, components and hard materials like wood and concrete with a strong practicality and heritage.

BLOTT WORKS have also been commissioned by northern theatre company IOU over the years to produce sound and art installations for their interactive, immersive shows.

Mr Morrison said: “It is very important to me that BLOTT WORKS is in the North West amongst the hills and old mills.

“It feels completely right to be doing a big craft event up here.”

The event will be previewing  at the Old Granada Studios on Thursday October 8 from 6:30-9pm continuing over the weekend October 9-11 from 10am.

Advanced tickets cost £6 and are available here to or they cost £7.50 on the door.

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