11 July 2012

Crafty way to tell stories

The lovely Manchester Craft & Design Centre is celebrating, having risen from the ashes of a derelict former fish and poultry market 30 years ago. And a good thing too. Not only does the Centre now house 35 artists and designer-makers in 19 studio boutiques, plus a nice new cafe, it is a beautiful building with its ornate glass and metal roof, not unlike other places in Manchester such as Barton Arcade and even the Royal Exchange.

As part of the anniversary celebrations, Saturday sees the launch of the Crafting History exhibition, the culmination of Collecting History. Curated by artist Lucy Harvey - who, it has to be said, loves a found object! - this project has been bringing together people's memories of the market, the early years of what was known as Craft Village and the surrounding Northern Quarter. Tell you what, it's unearthed some lovely stories - I love all the stuff (which you can read on the project's blog) about former stallholder Ellen Gibbons, provided by her son John, granddaughter Patricia and great-great grandson Jack.

The Crafting History exhibition will feature a specially commissioned ceramic installation by porcelain artist Carys Davies, interpreting the tales and memories that have been collected since April. There will also be pieces responding to Collecting History by artists and makers based at the Centre, and these will be auctioned off at a special event in November 2012, with all proceeds going to charity. Says MCDC Director Kate Day: “The launch of Crafting History marks an important milestone in our 30th anniversary celebrations, giving our resident makers and associate artists the chance to interpret the amazing stories and memories people have been submitting.”

During the launch event for Crafting History on Saturday (14 July), there will be free sampling activities (2-4pm), including an embroidery workshop, then, from 6.30pm, the sampler-cultureclash collective will host a free evening of “sampling shenanigans”, including a live audio performance by DJs, musicians and spoken word artists. This sounds like storytelling with a difference, so I'm interested to see what pans out!

See the MCDC website for more and book tickets (they are free, but it's to make sure you get in) for the Saturday evening shindig via Eventbrite.

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