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Decorative Arts student Olivia McCulloch reflects on her work placement here at the Craft Centre...

Day 1 at the lovely Craft Centre & Design Gallery

After a tour of the gallery and a couple of meet & greets with the team, I began my placement by reviewing the three new summer exhibitions – Figure That, Catherine Green & Mandy Pattullo’s print exhibition and Paul Jackson’s solo ceramic showcase. The team wanted a fresh pair of eyes to look at the display and to consider how the overall curation of the space was done – it was a big responsibility to take on as I was no critic but there was really not a bad word to say about it. Each exhibition had its own originality and certainly ticked all of the boxes in terms of the selection of materials used, to the diversity of processes but maybe I’m biased seen as I’m a lover of printmaking and ceramics!

I also had the opportunity to select a number of makers’ works and re-display them in the Craft Centre’s Library cabinet upstairs. It was my first attempt at a display and I can tell you, it may look simple but a lot of thinking has to go into it! You can get a little obsessed over what colour a vessel looks like next to another (would you believe it or not). It was a great little taster into how the team put things together – they are constantly changing the way every piece of work looks in the gallery to give customers something new and sparkling to admire.

Day 2

Press and publicity day! Working alongside the manager Jane, we sat down and she explained the process of press releases, newsletters and social media of The Craft Centre. After looking at past archives from when the Centre first opened, to now, I had a much better insight into how they were written and how the events on were considered, and not to mention how much the gallery had come on since 1982! I also had a look at their past campaigns and how they embraced Le Tour Yorkshire as an example of it benefitting their publicity (the image to the right is a glass sculpture piece made by Jane O'Neill who was inspired by this big sporting event coming to Yorkshire). It was interesting to see that from social media and monthly newsletters including upcoming events on in Yorkshire, the Craft Centre could also inform visitors of any new collections or exhibitions showcasing in the gallery. As I had never worked in a gallery before, it was really beneficial for me to see what goes on behind the scenes of exhibitions and just how much effort that goes into the advertisement aspect.

Day 3

I had the wonderful opportunity of being out in the gallery today dealing with the public. I was jewellery co-ordinator (Sarah) and educational co-ordinator’s (Gwyneth) buddy for the day which was really exciting as it was a more hands on experience. Once I had been shown around the jewellery sections, I then had the chance to display a few cabinets of my own! This was an inspiring challenge for me as I’m in the creative field already, the aspects of presentation you have to consider can really make an impact on the overall look of a display.

Both Sarah and Gwyneth were really helpful and gave me tips for each project set throughout the day, for example, Sarah was planning a different image for displaying their upcoming exhibition ‘Intrinsic’, so I fortunately had the chance to test out a new display idea. So to be sure to visit the touring exhibition because it will certainly be something to see! Below are some images of the work you'll be able to see in the show; left - brooch by Joanne Haywood, centre - earrings by Hannah May Chapman and right - brooch by Liz Willis.

Day 4

After some finishing off of bits and bobs from throughout the week, I managed to have a good wander around the gallery to reflect on some of my favourite pieces. As a ring hoarder, I would have to say my favourite jeweller was Ruth Praill alongside Sarah Packington and the new collection from Annabet Wyndham.

I never really realised how much talent goes into craft until you actually work in the field yourself, so to see such a delight of designers work this week, it has definitely opened my eyes in term of inspiration as a final year student. It has been an honour to work at The Craft Centre, so just a big thank you to the whole team – Jane, Hayley, Gwyneth and Sarah for making it such an enjoyable and beneficial experience!

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