Material Journeys at Manchester Craft & Design Centre

Maja Lorkowska, Exhibitions Editor
Ceramic Candlestick Holder
Ashley Knight

Material Journeys Exhibition at Manchester Craft & Design Centre, Manchester Until 30 March 2024 Entrance is free — Visit now

Manchester Craft & Design Centre celebrates the 17th annual Manchester Met Graduate Award winners with a brand new exhibition: Material Journeys.

Every year, the Centre chooses students whose work draws particular attention, with its ambition, potential and palpable excitement for the medium it’s created in. This time, the accolade was awarded to Marilou Turner, Ashley Knight and Thomas Radburn – BA (Hons) Product Design and Craft graduates whose work excelled at innovative use of traditional materials. 

Marilou Turner is a metalsmith, whose collection Weathered Vessels came from research about place-oriented design and the way that artefacts recovered from the ground can carry unique markings due to the chemical makeup of the soil. This is visualised using patination and its different types to create bold, vibrant colours on metallic surfaces. The vessels themselves are satisfyingly shaped using what appears to be sheets of metal, layered and wrapped around each other. They communicate a brief moment where the object is frozen in time with its markings and scars.

Copper trinket bowls
Marilou Turner

Ashley Knight is a ceramicist, specialising in hand-built ceramics one-off pieces created from stained clay. Her collection on display at Material Journeys emphasises the artist’s preference for never making the same thing twice. Each piece in Living Heirlooms is unique yet designed to collaborate with the other pieces perfectly in different variations. The pieces update the traditional idea of family heirlooms as objects passed down in the event of someone’s death and instead work as ‘living’ pieces, constantly in use and part of daily life.

Tom Radburn works with glass and the magical processes behind its creation. Similarly to Turner, he pays particular attention to place, and chooses to work with materials sourced from important and significant geological locations. This directly informs his use of colour and form while also keeping a close eye on reducing the impact on the environment. He gathers materials such as sand, plant ash and shells which are then processed to create beautiful, shimmering objects. Radburn’s key purpose is to question the use of traditional gemstones in jewellery by illustrating that more sustainable practices can result in similar qualities without ethical questions. 

This year’s graduates are undoubtedly talented and showcase impressive levels of innovation in their chosen material fields. Visit Material Journeys and admire creative young minds at work.

Material Journeys Exhibition at Manchester Craft & Design Centre, Manchester Until 30 March 2024 Entrance is free Visit now

Where to go near Material Journeys at Manchester Craft & Design Centre

The exterior of Manchester Craft & Design Centre.
Café or Coffee Shop
Oak Street Café

Oak Street Café at Manchester Craft & Design Centre does fresh, healthy salads, soups, sandwiches, quiches and, best of all, cakes.

Common Bar in Manchester's Northern Quarter
Bar or Pub
Common Bar

Northern Quarter stalwart Common Bar in Manchester serves excellent pub food, fine cocktails and decent coffee. It’s a firm Creative Tourist team favourite.

Home Sweet Home, Manchester

Home Sweet Home in Manchester’s Northern Quarter is a cafe and milk bar that does a mean line in cake, puddings and all things sweet – but its savoury menu isn’t half bad either.

Deadstock General Store
Northern Quarter
Deadstock General Store

This small shop has a well-curated range of stock that focuses on vintage homeware and gifts. From Japanese hemp socks to botanical paperweights and HAWS plant misters, each object is beautiful, practical and well made.

Café or Coffee Shop
Ziferblat Manchester

Ziferblat is a pay as you stay café in the northern quarter, where everything is free – except the time you spend.

Sweet Mandarin

Gordon Ramsay-approved Northern Quarter restaurant run by three sisters, featuring some of the city’s finest Chinese cuisine.

V Revolution

V Revolution cafe specialises in Vegan “junk food” – it’s a fun concept with wickedly good results.

Bar or Pub
Cane & Grain

Essentially three bars under one roof, Cane & Grain encompasses a rib joint and tap room, hidden speakeasy, and Tiki-themed Liar’s Lounge.

NOTE Thomas Street

The sister store to NOTE’s original Tib Street branch, here you’ll find footware, clothes and brands inspired by the skateboard scene. If it’s a new board you’re after, head to Tib Street.

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