Twelve new designers, who are amongst the UK's best up-and-coming creative graduates, have been selected to exhibit in the Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair’s Great Northern Graduates showcase. The event takes place from 12-15 October at Upper Campfield Market, Manchester.
The handful of talented graduates, from seven different universities around the UK, was selected by curator and lighting designer Claire Norcross from their degree shows and from this year’s New Designers event in London.
The collective will exhibit alongside over 150 of the UK’s leading designer-makers at this award-winning not-for-profit event, which is supported Arts Council England. As the largest contemporary craft fair in the North, the graduates will be able to showcase their work to an event that attracts around 6,000 visitors across four days.
The work on display includes furniture, lighting, ceramics, textiles and jewellery.
There are several 'homegrown' grads from Manchester School of Art, including furniture designer Jesse Cracknell, who has created a stunning body of handmade and CNC manufactured furniture inspired by the tradition of Japanese rock gardens.
Jesse is joined by have MMU ceramic artists Ryan Gauge and Marged Owain. Ryan has developed a ceramic and film installation for the show, which is a physical visualisation of the correlation between modern youth cultural identity and their involvement with brand and marketing. In contrast to this, Marged’s collection of handmade objects commemorate and celebrate traditional Welsh craftsmanship, specifically the craft of the butter maker and the quarryman.
The GNG showcase also includes the work of two textile designers from Manchester School of Art, Florence Pinsent and Sarah Tommins. Florence will show one of her many quilts which are an abstract interpretation of everyday life in glorious pattern and colour. While Sarah has created a collection of knitted clothing exploring the scale, textures and minimal structures within architecture and urban living.
Also within textiles are two further graduates, Emma Boyd-Madsen from Glasgow School of Art and Tor Ewen from Edinburgh College of Art. Emma’s collection of sculptural knitted objects, inspired by Scandinavian architecture, suggest functional seating solutions, while Tor has created a body of printed and three-dimensional textile objects, which take their inspiration from the urban architecture of Indian cities.
Pushing the boundaries of jewellery design are Ruth Elvira Gilmour from Glasgow School of Art and Hayley Grafflin from Sheffield Hallam University. Ruth's cross-disciplinary approach exhibits wearable objects made from porcelain, steel, plastic and gold that explore our relationship with the earth. Hayley creates highly tactile jewellery which communicates the hidden beauty within gritty urban landscapes.
In contrast to the urban environment Tara Squibb is influenced by her surrounding landscape of the Powis Castle estate, to create ceramic forms which are snapshots of sedimentary erosion, created by water or the wind and its effects on surfaces.
The work of two talented furniture designers completes the GNG showcase in the form of Mark Laban, a graduate of the MA from Central St Martins and Alexander Hay a graduate of 3D Design at Northumbria University. Mark creates digitally crafted rustic furniture, exploring the relationship between the natural and artificial through a hybrid aesthetic, while Alex takes inspiration from nature and Scandinavian design influences, to create simple, functional and beautiful pieces that will stand the test of time.
All images courtesy of the graduates and GNCCF. Main image: Marged Owain