Thursday, 28 October 2010

Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair

At the weekend I visited the Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair in Manchester. Now in it's third year, this is the leading selling event for contemporary craft in the north. Each year the fair has got bigger, and this year saw the addition of an extra pavillion, which accommodated a new feature for 2010, the Great Northern Graduates section. This featured 14 of the best new designers from the North's craft and design courses. My favourites of the graduates were Jess Edwards who makes embroidered textile works that cross the boundaries between textiles and photography, and Catherine Carr who makes crocheted glass vessels inspired by the role, memories and skills that women have of working in the textile industry.

On the whole I felt the fair was very good, I was there on the Sunday and it seemed to be well attended. For me though there were to many jewellers working in a to similar way. The stand out makers for me were ceramacist Adam Frew, who makes pots made from porcelain decorated with inky cobalt drawings. The imagery is simple and narrative and has a great spontaneity. Judith Davies's porcelain vessels which have a delicate ethereal quality which to me looked like abstract paintings in ceramic form, together with the work of Elspeth Edmondson exhibiting side by side the work complemented each others really well. Elspeth's work investigates the structure of paper in combination with the letterpress print process.

Adam Frew
Judith Davies
Elspeth Edmondson

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