17 December, 2013

Manchester Craft and Design Centre - Northern Quarter

As part of our weekend of Christmas shopping and Christmas fun, the boy and I paid a visit to the Manchester Craft and Design Centre. It was part of our Christmas shopping quest to source some unique gifts for family. I paid a brief visit there before but was in a bit of a rush the first time I visited and so I swore I would return for a longer, more in depth tour.

Anyone with a crafty, artistic bone in their body cannot but fall in love with this place. As someone who considers herself an artist and a maker I found myself spending an inordinate amount of time in each precious shop. MCDC is located in the heart of the Northern Quarter and contains 18 studio boutiques, a cafe bar, and hosts a number of workshops, exhibitions and events each year. It is described as "the place to make, see and buy contemporary craft and design in the North West".

The building itself is a Victorian former fish and poultry market, steeped in history and it has been in operation as a craft venue since 1982! Manchester, clearly were ahead of their time. As their website goes on to say "in part leading the vanuard of regeneration in the Norther Quarter to its place today as a creative, lifestyle quarter of the city. In fact the very phrase 'The Norther Quarter' was coined in this building at a meeting of local inventive minds!" 

There is a huge array of jewellery, ceramics, paper creations, interior accessories, bags, furniture and more on display and the best part (for me!) is that you can view the artists at work. The layout of MCDC is such that within each studio boutique is in fact a studio! Some studio spaces are small, some are larger, but in each space, the artist takes the time to present their work beautifully. Many of them are experts in the field of visual display and as someone who always wanted to work in this area, I loved the creative ideas they employed when displaying their work. I wanted to buy everything. Not for others, just for me. As our visit was about buying for others, I earmarked a few potential presents for myself.

I fell in love with this display of this shop (below) and their pretty brooches. I will return to buy one and if anything I'd love to learn the process behind making one of these. I perused their website and discovered their next workshop (not on brooch making) will take place in February. The 'Make with the Makers' Workshop is competitively priced at £55 and from 10am to 5pm you learn about the art of mosaic and how to salvage the beautiful. Suitable for all levels, tools, materials as well as a cuppa and a piece of cake are included on the day. I can see myself enjoying a February Saturday afternoon with some good, crafty company, creating a piece which I can then take home.

I took a multitude of images on my visit. I'll leave you to wander through them and enjoy the art on display

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