Gabbie’s view from the Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair

Early on Friday afternoon Laura and myself decided that we were going to visit the Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair in Manchester.

When we arrived we were greeted with the hustle and bustle of people showing enthusiasm towards different types of arts and crafts that were within the building.

As we were in the old Granada studios we first entered the old studio two which was the main exhibition area. This is where there were situated different types of sculptures, glasswork and film.

There was one particular glassmaker that interested me. There were a few different pieces that Bob Crooks had made which were very intriguing. Bob Crooks looks at the different ways in which you are able to exploit the many different properties of the materials he uses through the experimentation and technical understanding of his craft.


There were also many other interesting pieces, which were created by other talented artists such as Caroline Broadhead and Junko Mori, which had interesting ways in manipulating steel and other metals.

The other sections of the Craft fair were individual exhibitor stands that amazed me with the different details and intricate work that people were able to create with metal and other media. There was only really one stand that had furniture but there was many ways that the craft fair made up for this. There were a large amount of individual that did hand printing and surface pattern, which showed amazing up-coming talent. One individual particularly showcase this talent with the variety and detail within their work. Stephanie Lawton uses a range of different medias in which she has drawn elaborate detail and intricate patterns, which are qualities that she has tried to maintain throughout her practice. She also combines both hand drawn and digitally drawn elements to create a graphic and illustrative feel.


On another stand there was a product designer that seemed to specialise in different interior products. The collection that was on at the exhibition was called WIRED. Katie Askwith explained how she has a keen interest in ‘how things are made’ and wanted to expose the industrial construction techniques and drawing attention to the skills and materials normally gone unnoticed in their current product range.


As I have a personal love for different fabrics and embroidery. My favourite exhibition had to be Louise Gardiner. The way in which she combined the skills and artistry of embroidery with different fabric and texture was stunning. There were different pieces that were on the walls that had been also applied onto cushions and scarfs; one of the pieces that stood out to me was called ‘You blow me away.’


Within Louise Gardiner work she used the combination of exciting and intricate free machine embroidery with the passion of drawing. To create every individual piece there are many different techniques using rhythmic, repetitive drawing, intense and intricate stitches, paints, appliqué and inks. Louise explained that every piece of work is unique and labor-intensive, intuitive and spontaneous. These original and energetic embroideries celebrate the rich and colorful medium of thread and illustrate her lust for life.


There were many other artists that had beautiful exhibits that I would love to talk about but this blog would go on forever. There were definitely some very talented individuals that showcase their different skills that were incredible and would make you want to buy a lot of what they were showing. I definitely think going to the Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair gave me an insight into the up-coming talent within different areas of craft, which I hope will be promoted so that their talent shown to other people. This experience has definitely given me few ideas and people to look out for within the future.