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All things Great up North!

Now in its 8th year, the award winning Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair comes to Manchester’s Old Granada Studios this weekend for a fantastic weekend of contemporary craft.

Attending the preview last night I think it’s safe to say that inspiring founders and organisers of the show Angela Mann and Ann-Marie Franey have set out on another exciting journey for this year’s show to make it as exciting as ever: "We always thrive to develop the show in new ways and our aim this year was to try and bring craft alive by involving you, the audience, in the process of making.” As part of this aim the show has invited Louise Gardiner (displaying some of her beautiful scarves with us this November) to demonstrate her working methods with her sewing machine throughout the weekend. She’ll be creating original and energetic embroidery pieces embellished with inks and applique as well as showcasing her collection of scarves and interior products. Also demonstrating over the weekend will be Victoria Dawes with a combination of wheel throwing and hand building techniques. She’ll also demonstrate how she develops intricate surfaces on the clay bodies. We were lucky enough to receive a selection of her mugs, plates and lidded vessels last week for the gallery and already visitors have enjoyed seeing her collection here. Visit the GNCCF website for details of other talks and events throughout the weekend including a ceramic workshop with Zoe Lloyd, visitors being invited to assist with a new project by Makers Dozen and exciting news about a ceramic installation by Stephen David Graham

Highlights from the show this year were marvelling at Juliette Hamilton’s new pieces on show including a fantastic willow Fox head, a brilliant willow Badger head and a highly impressive Highland Cattle Head, not to mention some quirky little chickens dotted around her glorious display of willow creations and some very wise looking owls.

Proud Winner of Best in Show this year, Jennie Gill was another highlight (pictured above on the right). We’ll be showcasing her stunning silver, gold and semi-precious and precious stone rings in our annual exhibition of rings from 16th January next year and can’t wait. It’s always a pleasure to see her work and she was so pleased to have received this award; very well deserved indeed. We also spied Emily Thatcher’s beautiful new range of jewellery at the show too, she’ll be joining Jennie as part of the ring exhibition next year (pictured to the left). Chris Boland’s jewellery, fresh from Paris Fashion Week, were also a delight to see. We’re very excited to be welcoming him here for our In the Spotlight exhibition which starts on the 1st December (pictured above centre).

The great thing about the Great Northern Contemporary Craft Show is seeing how much it has grown over the years as well as continuing with their regular features. Great Northern Graduates, a favourite of ours, was as strong as ever and last night we were able to catch up emerging ceramicist Hannah Tounsend who we first met at New Designers this year. We’ll be hot on her heels with exhibition opportunities for the New Year and we’re excited to see how her work develops. Another strong section of the show is those makers highlighted mid-career who took part in the Craft Council’s Hothouse programme of professional development. We spoke with Brittany Delany who will be showcasing her fabulous new ceramic vessels incorporating wood and leather with us next year in our annual Made with Love exhibition (which starts on the 16th January). She was excited to be revealing these new pieces for the first time at a trade show as they’ve always just been showcased in galleries and we’re delighted to be able to work with her next year. Visit our website's What's On section to keep up with our forthcoming exhibition programme

We also enjoyed Karen Elizabeth Donovan’s jewellery display. We’ll be welcoming her as part of our Winter exhibition programme in our British Jewellery Show from the 18th November. We first discovered her work at this year’s One Year On section at New Designers. To find out more about our British Jewellery Show visit!the-british-jewellery-show/cn37

The GNCCF is proud to support and raise funds through a their show raffle for The Oasis Centre, a small local charity which aims to bring about lasting positive change in the lives of some of the most vulnerable and disadvantaged adults in Gorton, East Manchester. The Oasis Centre is a lifeline for over 60 people a week including families living on benefits, long-term unemployed, asylum seekers and refugees, homeless people, ex-offenders and those struggling with alcohol and drug problems or mental illness. Be sure to buy a raffle ticket on your way in to help support this worthy charity.

We’re already looking forward to the Little Northern Contemporary Craft Show on Sunday 6th December at Altrincham school for boys so pop the dates in your diary folks if you haven’t already! Thanks to all of the fabulous makers, organisers, volunteers and contributors of this great show; another great success, and very much deserved. We hope visitors who haven’t yet been enjoyed themselves as much as we did. For information about opening times and directions how to get there visit

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