It’s a bit delayed but I wanted to share some of the incredibleness of the GNCCF with you – I know it sounds like some sort of European train station but I’m referring to the Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair in Manchester….and GREAT it was. A few people had mentioned this to me and a couple of flyers had been put on my desk at real-life-job and it just so happened to be the weekend I’d arranged to meet a couple of dear friends in Manchester. It didn’t take much persuading to drag them into a huge room full of sparkly loveliness and home accessories from heaven!
The talent in the fair was just incredible, I think I went a little bit glazed (and tried not to drool) when we first arrived as I struggled to soak it all in. The first thing that struck me was that every designer / maker was of the highest standard and the set-up of the fair meant it was much less a fair and was actually a professional gallery space, with each artist having a mini craft gallery area to themselves. For me, it was almost as interesting looking at how each artist had exhibited their pieces as the objects themselves as I’m constantly struggling and thinking about how to display my jewellery in the best way. I came away with all sorts of ideas so maybe I’ll be able to try some out at a few of my slightly more humble Christmas craft fairs!
Some of the jewellery was breath-taking and I came away feeling a mixture of being massively inspired whilst hugely inadequate and unskilled. Almost all the exhibitors were doing or pursuing this as a living and had trained and developed themselves in a professional setting, whereas my largely self-taught ‘hobby’ seemed a bit amateurish in comparison. Happily the ‘inspired’ feeling was stronger than the ‘inadequate’ feeling (I’m a cup-half-full kinda girl!) and it’s made me more determined to try and work towards a particular stand-alone ‘collection’ which I could then maybe, one day, confidence levels permitting, approach some shops and galleries with. In the meantime I intend to better my jewellery-making self and attend some courses starting with a chain-making course at London Jewellery School (there were some AMAZING pieces of handmade chain jewellery at the fair) and maybe next year (if I get some requested vouchers towards it for Christmas…hint hint family and friends!) I’ll do a two-day stone setting course in London too.
So below are just a few of my favourite jewellers I discovered on the day…..and it was also great to bump into Hannah Nunn, maker of beautiful lamps and owner of a very favourite shop of mine in Hebden Bridge full of delicious contemporary lighting. Hannah writes a wonderful blog and my pic is one of her lamps in our house! I’ll be visiting Radiance before Christmas no doubt.
By far the most incredible pieces I saw on the day were made by Victoria Walker. Her stuff absolutely blew my mind – she makes unbelievably intricate articulated flowers, check out her website and watch the videos of how her kinetic lockets work, just amazing, it must take an age to make one.
I also loved Anna Calvert’s stuff, she was my inspiration for the chain making course I want to do, her bracelets were beautiful.
A few others to mention are Emily Knight – especially loved her little bicycle earrings and chain (with one of the bikes acting as the clasp), Goldfinch jewellery – lovely clouds and woodland creatures and Jennifer Kidd (more amazing chains). My non-jewellery favourite had to be Holly Levell, a textile artist who made everyday objects squishy! Not sure I could cope with too much non-edible chocolate in the house though, and I’ve just noticed on her home page that she has my favourite crisps ever (scampi fries) in fabric too! There were so many talented artists and designers it’s hard to mention them all but hope you enjoy browsing my highlights and I recommend a visit next year.