Art

Cupcakes and contemporary craft.

Dan Feeney
Posted

At Spinningfields, The Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair enters its third year. Dan Feeney gets crafty

Tamasyn Gambell - Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair

The recent boom in cupcake makers is surely the gastronomic equivalent of displacement activity. Instead of facing up to impending economic gloom, it seems that creative folk are instead spending their time crafting cakes, and putting effort into toothsome pursuits. But to be fair, long before sweet treats came to the fore, jewellery and craft making were on the rise – as evidenced by the growing popularity of this month’s Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair.

Now three years old, the fair is an established event that showcases the wares of over 150 of the best designer-makers in the fields of ceramics, glass, jewellery, metal, wood, lighting, textiles, furniture and paper. A relaxed atmosphere allows both public and trade to meet the artists, discovering the stories and techniques behind the objects on sale.

With over 6,000 visitors last year, the fair represents one of the better efforts offered by Spinningfields – it succeeds in bringing a sense of creative community and life to Hardman Boulevard, an area of the city that can, at times, feel a little cold and corporate. It is something that the Spinningfields team must be only too aware of, and, instead of leaving Spinningfields to the white collar workers, it continually strives to pull in other visitors – thanks to a programme of events that ranges from outdoor cinema, an art auction, a duck race down the Irwell or this winter’s skating rink. With the success of events such as the craft fair, then, it’s a strategy that does appear to be paying off.

But back to the craft fair, whose highlights this year include Maxine Sutton’s embroidered and screen-printed textiles; leather bags and accessories from Wolfram Lohr; April Neate’s colourful and playful aluminium-based jewellery; and environmentally friendly paper designs and products by Tamasyn Gambell. Despite a £6 entry fee, the Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair does still offer the public affordable access to up-and-coming producers, and a chance to pick up the best new crafts before the festive rush hits.

Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair, 21-24 October, Spinningfields. £6/£5. Images (top to bottom): Tamasyn Gambell; GNCCF.

Culture Guides

Food and Drink

Discover the best food and drink that the North has to offer in our expert guide to food and drink in Manchester and beyond.

Cinema

This month, we round up some of the disreputable treasures and genuinely ambitious pieces of film art that are screening around Manchester and the North.

Exhibitions

A number of radical exhibitions feature in this month’s Exhibitions guide – which includes cutting edge-digital art and giant, endangered animals at MediaCityUK.

Families

Theatrical adventures reflecting on our changing world, sleep walks, a ridiculous art race through the forest, and our guide to Just So Festival.

The Real Story: Live with Lauren Elkin

Literature

Spring is well and truly in the air, and there are plenty of prose and poetry events blossoming this month across the North West, and the chance for budding writers to scribe some site-specific stories.

Music

As we enter festival season, the likes of bluedot, Cloudspotting and Manchester International Festival offer the chance to see some of the biggest artists on the planet in our own backyards…

Theatre

This month’s theatre guide is full of fresh starts and exciting new relationships, with just a twist of darkness mixed in for good measure.

Destination Guides