Posted by Rachel Westall on 15 August 2023
Now in its 16th year, this award-winning event brings together over 200 of the most talented makers and designers from across the UK including printmakers, ceramicists, jewellery makers, textile and glass artists, metal workers and silversmiths as well as furniture & lighting designers. Each of the exhibitors has been specifically selected for their outstanding craftsmanship and talent.
Housed in the iconic Victoria Baths in Manchester, the GNCCF is an opportunity to view and buy original handmade pieces from established artists as well as new graduate talent showcasing their work for the first time.
Organiser, Ann-Marie Franey, says: "Already a firm favourite with those in the know, the GNCCF offers an unrivalled line up of designer makers from all over the country, each one selected for the quality, desirability, and innovation of their work. We're delighted to be back in the beautiful and extraordinary venue that is Manchester's Victoria Baths. It's such a charming and quirky exhibition space, with its sunken swimming pools, balconies and changing booths, all used to great effect as a backdrop for the exhibitors' stands. Visitors tell us they love exploring the space almost as much as the craft on show."
Co-organiser, Victoria Scholes, agrees: "It's a stunningly crafted interior, with its jewel-coloured tiles and stained-glass windows and so inspiring to see such high-quality craftsmanship all under one roof. It feels quite a privilege to share that with the thousands of visitors who come through our doors every year and to provide a platform for so many new and established artists and makers."
Ann-Marie Franey continues: "We're proud that the GNCCF is regarded as one of the top fairs in the country and a must-see event in the city's cultural calendar. It's a great day out – a once-a-year opportunity to meet the makers and buy something with more than just monetary value. Craft says something in a world still dominated by fast-fashion and throw-away culture: it says that something was made with love and designed to last, with materials that were selected carefully and handled with great skill and accomplishment. The Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair offers visitors the chance to get hands-on with some truly beautiful craft and design."
Highlights this year include:
· Green Graduates, with their exciting ideas to heal the planet, including last year's super-successful Matzero ( www.matzero.com ). Discovered whilst exhibiting at GNCCF22, product design student, Sri Hollema, is taking huge strides to improve living conditions for displaced refugee communities with her ingenious solar-powered heated mat. Her design has secured over £1m in backing and is being rolled out as we speak!
· Work by eminent artists selected for The Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust www.qest.org.uk which this year includes contemporary furniture designer Sofia Karakatsanis and fine enamel jewellery from Harry Forster Stringer.
· A showcase of new work by the Birmingham Institute of Jewellery, Fashion & Textiles, including the intricate and unusual art of watchmaking, as well as recent MA graduates from Manchester School of Art.
· Free maker demos and hands-on textile and print workshops, as well as bookable masterclasses to learn new craft techniques led by leading makers.
· Work by mother and daughter, Nehal and Erum Aamir, who take very different approaches to their ceramic art.
· Performances by Laura Mathews, last year's Best in Show, with her stunning interactive animal puppets and sculptures.
· Tableware by Sue Pryke, guest judge on TV's Great Pottery Throwdown.
· A new initiative to showcase and sell the work of small Northern businesses that make supplies for the craft industry, including popular materials and craft-kits.
· An ongoing collaboration with the Manchester-based Oasis charity, bringing together 70 clients, including the homeless, people living with long-term mental health conditions and asylum seekers, who have each created a unique mug that tells their story, to be exhibited at the show.
· Onsite café, selling delicious lunches and snack from an all-new menu of local produce.
The Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair begins with a special preview evening on Thursday 19th October (6pm – 9pm), then opens to the public on Friday 20th October and Saturday 21st October (10am – 5pm) until Sunday 22nd October (10am – 4pm).
Advance tickets: £8/£7 concession (plus booking fee)
On the door: £9.50/£8.50 concession
Preview tickets: £15 advance, £17 on the door
Advance tickets are now on sale via the website. Anybody who buys advance tickets before 30th September will be entered into a prize draw to win one of 4 prizes of £50 to spend at the fair.
For further information on the show, search #GNCCF or visit: www.greatnorthernevents.co.uk