Maker Faire vendor list]
Diana Fayt: Diana is both a traveler and a lover of home. She gleans inspiration from nature, the mundane and life’s stories. Her ceramic pieces are often narrative with marks of time, events and images seen and experienced and then drawn into the surface of her clay platters bowls and vases. By doing this she hopes to leave a permanent mark that expresses her vision of what she experiences in the world around her.
This weekend the third annual Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair was held in Manchester, UK. I recently wrote a post about the history of the event so of course I headed down with husband and sister-in-law in tow to check it out and chat with some exhibitors.
I was sorry to miss the preview last Thursday, as I hear it was a great party! I was in Canada visiting my sister, so dragged my travel-tired butt over to Manchester’s Spinningfields on Sunday, the last day of the fair. I expected it to be a bit quiet on the last day but the two pavilions were absolutely heaving with people! It was great to see so many people turn out to browse the handmade goods on show.
I managed to grab a few minutes with co-founder Angela Mann, who was on-site with Ann-Marie Franey to oversee the volunteers and field questions from visitors and exhibitors. “It’s going very well,” she told me. “We have been very busy on Saturday and Sunday and sales have been good so far. The Great Northern Graduates in particular have been well-received – 14 stands were given free to exceptional graduates for the first time this year.”
Another first for the 2010 event was the introduction of crafts workshops, the most popular being button jewelry making! Magpie Arts Workshops organized the sessions and told me that there had been plenty of interest, despite some visitors not having enough time to stop. The GNCCF is a great way for designer-makers and crafty organizations alike to showcase their services and meet potential clients, as ceramics and interiors designer Kitty and Dude told me. “I’ve had some good compliments and comments so far and I was delighted to win the award for Best Maker. I haven’t had many sales, which can be a concern as I’ve traveled from Scotland. However, the show has been heaving and there has been a very positive response.”
This year, I was really impressed by the diversity of crafts on display, from jewelry to fashion, art to ceramics. Many of the designer-makes that I spoke to commented on the fantastic organization of the event. Artist Helaina Sharpley raised an interesting comparison between craft fairs such as GNCCF and dedicated art fairs and mentioned that “people come with different expectations to art fairs.” At craft fairs in the UK, there is a lot of browsing traffic but visitors are often hesitant to make a large financial investment in a piece of art. Smaller items, like jewelry however, often do very well at such events.
Ceramics designer Adam Frew is another far-flung exhibitor, traveling from Northern Ireland. Adam profited from the event by making contact with galleries. “It’s good to get out and be seen. It’s been very busy so it was definitely worth coming,” Adam told me. Our local designer-makers were also out in force, with representation from the Manchester Craft and Design Centre. It was jewelry designer Jane Dziesiwski’s first time exhibiting at the GNCCF and she found the support of the organizers invaluable. “Ann-Marie and Angela have been very visible all the time, talking to exhibitors. There has been lots of help and support.”
This year’s event was even bigger and better than last year, and I am sure the organizers will build on their success for 2011. It was great to get out and meet UK designer-makers and above all to be inspired by the high level of quality on display!
Did you make it to the GNCCF last week? I’d love to hear your experiences on this and other craft fairs! Post a comment below or send me a message via Twitter.
An idea that is fairly old news in cities like LA and New York has found its way to Washington, DC: the short-term artist incubator. The Temporium is a pop-up shop that serves as a temporary home for local designers, and as a way to utilize an otherwise-empty urban space, while injecting life and culture into an up-and-coming neighborhood.
Philippa Hughes, a DC area cultural activist (The Pink Line Project), is the mastermind behind the Temporium, utilizing support from the city’s Office of Planning and the Creative DC Action Agenda. The city’s “temporary urbanism” initiative sought to find ways to transform empty spaces throughout the city, and Philippa saw the potential in establishing a temporary retail space.
Through her efforts on behalf of the DC arts scene, Philippa is very familiar with the struggles of emerging artists and designers. Finding affordable space to showcase one’s work is not easy, so she knew that a temporary storefront would be a great opportunity for young designers without their own space.
The Temporium is also a boon to DC area shoppers and collectors on the lookout for something new, unique, and handmade. The art, clothing, and accessories available at the Temporium aren’t necessarily available at any other retail spaces in the city, and are all from local designers who create small collections and limited runs.
The Temporium is open from July 23 to August 15, with a new set of designers featured every weekend, plus special events featuring local DJs and highlighting local organizations. Philippa hopes that with the right support and sponsorship, the Temporium will pop up in other neighborhoods around the city on a regular basis.
The Temporium is located in the former R.L. Christian Library at 1300 H Street, NE, Washington DC, and is open Thursdays and Fridays 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm, Saturdays 2:00 pm to 10:00 pm, and Sundays 12:00 pm to 5:00 pm. Visit the web site to read more about each weekend’s featured designers and events.