A look ahead to the Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair and the Manchester Art Fair

Porcelain Spirit, by Marina Bauguil (c) Juraj Ladziansky/35Mil Photographic Studio

Porcelain Spirit, by Marina Bauguil (c) Juraj Ladziansky/35Mil Photographic Studio - Credit: Archant

We’re heading for a cultural bonanza as artistic types descend upon Manchester, plenty of them from Cheshire

Warhol portrait at Manchester Art Fair (c) Juraj Ladziansky/35Mil Photographic Studio

Warhol portrait at Manchester Art Fair (c) Juraj Ladziansky/35Mil Photographic Studio - Credit: Archant

Artists and craftspeople from all over the world will be heading into central Manchester for a cultural bonanza that allows hundreds of talented people to showcase their work.

The Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair and the Manchester Art Fair are international in scope but they also give a platform to renowned artists who live on the doorstep.

This year, 12 designer-makers from Cheshire have been selected for the award-winning Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair. They are among more than 150 of the UK’s most talented designer-makers specially selected by a panel of experts.

They include Rebecca Lawley Silver, an aptly-named silversmith from Stockport, milliner Emma Fozard, also from Stockport, Posner and Posner, a Sandbach-based mother-daughter duo making hand printed and crafted textiles, Lucy Elisabeth, a sculptural illustrator from Altrincham, Jo Bull Jewellery and Lauren; two ceramicists, Ann Davis Ceramics and Tone Von Krogh Ceramics and Rachel Cooke, a mixed media artist.

Matt Sherratt creation (c) Juraj Ladziansky/35Mil Photographic Studio

Matt Sherratt creation (c) Juraj Ladziansky/35Mil Photographic Studio - Credit: Archant

Also representing the region is Marina Bauguil whose other-worldly porcelain sculptures won her the Ceramicist of the Year title at the show three years ago. Originally from France, Marina moved to Cheadle Hulme 10 years ago. She trained as a sculptor at Falmouth but found herself drawn to ceramics, working with tutor Adrian Nokes.

‘A friend of mine’s father had a house in Sale and in the basement he had a big kiln which couldn’t be moved so he asked if I’d be interested,’ says Marina. ‘He ended up giving me two rooms in the cellar of his house, so I started making there.’ Now Marina has a work space in a utility room at her home where she creates her eccentric figures and masks.

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‘I call them spirits because they seem to represent an essence of something. The figures are a mix of human and animal,’ she reveals.

‘The Japanese have a new therapy called Shin Rin Yoku which is basically nature’s fix. They practice something called forest bathing, where they immerse themselves in nature and allow nature to do its thing, help you to relax, be mindful and present and it is this aspect of the relationship which we can’t see but which nature is doing with us which appeals to me.

‘My work is quite specifically influenced by the Japanese. The Japanese see little gods in everything, so that was a starting point for the work I do now.’

Marina missed last year’s fair because of family commitments but says she is delighted to return for 2018.

‘When I first went in 2015, I met a lot of people and I always keep my eye on what they are doing.’

The eleventh show will feature artist talks and demonstrations as well as a regular and important feature of the fair, the ‘Great Northern Graduates’ showcase. This features the best new talent to emerge from the UK’s creative courses. These makers truly are ‘the ones to watch’.

Ann-Marie Franey who founded the GNCCF with Angela Mann says: ‘Visitors can expect a stimulating day out in an unusual setting, with interesting and beautiful work from new and established makers. Interest in contemporary craft grows year-on-year and we’re excited to be part of this, flying the flag for Northern craft.’

Flying the flag for artists is the Manchester Art Fair which this year changed its name from the Manchester Buy Art Fair. There are more artists than ever taking part in the Manchester Central Convention Complex event from October 12th-14th. It celebrates its 10th anniversary and the fact that more than £4m of work has been snapped up during the last decade with 125 exhibitors showing thousands of works from more than 600 artists.

One of those is Lou Phillips, a Somerset artist who moved to Alderley Edge last year - all because of her artwork.

‘In April 2016, during a challenging period in my life, I rediscovered my creativity by opening a box of chocolate and confectionery foils I’d been saving for around 15 years. I started producing my first three artworks, Josephine, Audrey and Victoria. To showcase my work I decided to apply to some art fairs.

‘I was pleased to be accepted into Buy Art Fair in Manchester. I was very apprehensive about the fair, especially because it was my first art show, first time up north, first time in Manchester. And I’d managed to break the glass in my large feature piece of artwork, while loading.

‘On arrival in Manchester, I was greeted with northern warmth. Everyone was helpful and I got the glass replaced. Not only was my artwork well received, it a great experience, which led me not only to sales and being commissioned, but also to new friends, including fellow Manchester based artist Ian Rayer-Smith and my now boyfriend, Wayne, who is the reason I relocated to Cheshire last year.

‘Having spent the summer with my two young children, I am now looking forward to exhibiting my contemporary collage work, once again, at Buy Art Fair.’

The ambition is to create Manchester’s biggest weekend of arts and culture encompassing exhibitions, special events and offers at cultural institutions and the city’s leading food and drink operators.

Fair director Sophie Helm says: ‘We are really excited to be bringing 120 UK and international galleries to Manchester and if you appreciate art, design and interiors there will be thousands of paintings, sculptures, prints and photographs to choose from. The fair is an opportunity to meet artists, talk about collecting with galleries, take part in a workshop or just enjoy a lunch and glass of wine surrounded by wonderful art.’

The Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair is at Upper Campfield Market, Manchester, from October 11th to October 14th greatnorthernevents.co.uk

Manchester Art Fair is at Manchester Central Convention Complex from October 12th to 14th manchesterartfair.co.uk