Manchester is renowned for being a hub of creativity and individuality, and this has always included arts and crafts. Traditional crafts, such as textile work, have now come back into fashion in a big way. Younger generations are beginning to see the subversive potential and the artistic merit of craft. Craft can mean anything from jewelry making to crocheting hats and can reflect various tastes, interests and styles. This is all totally great for those of us who like a bit of individuality when shopping for that special gift. Here are just six examples of awesome crafty businesses that are helping to keep Manchester creative and unique.
- Wired and Wild. This is some of the most mesmerising craft work that I have ever seen; consisting of puppet making and beautiful child friendly textile work. The imaginative scale of Mandy Beck-Mckim’s handiwork is enhanced by the bold, vibrant colours used in her designs. This work is made extra wonderful by the fact that it is used for the purpose of educating young children. Beck-Mckim and her team of puppeteers and storytellers work with children within schools and through community programmes to teach them about artwork and vital environmental issues.
- Pixiecraft. I’m biased because I have a complete penchant for embroidery with a contemporary spin. These intricate works of art are eye catching, quirky and painstakingly detailed. Self taught Katie Fenner has the ability to capture the texture of a foxes fur of the shimmer of a bird’s feather through her perfect choice and use of threads. Her work has a cheery vibe and often includes upbeat words of inspiration. Much of her work takes the form of lovely pieces of art that would look wonderful on any wall. However, she also sells other products such as cushions and even super adorable mini cushions that you can hold in the palm of your hand.
- Minimanna. Mega talented Sam Owen channels her experience of motherhood through her pretty and super cute designs. She has a strong emphasis on beautiful fabrics and upcycling and her background as an artist shines through with her fantastic eye for color and design. Versatile Sam makes and sells everything from cushions to bunting, from hip greetings cards to felt bunny rabbit brooches. Word of warning however: you will want to buy everything in her etsy shop.
- Daisy Lee Overton. Daisy grew up in the Peak District and her fascinating jewelry designs reflect the rolling hillside of her childhood. Her work transcends jewelry design and instead feels more like miniscule sculptures that you can wear about your person; perfect for having a special piece of art with you at all times. Daisy creates bespoke jewelry on request.
- A Girl Called Boz. This nature inspired business, ran by Designer Laura Perks, is meant to bring a little reminder of the country to city dwellers and does just that. Think adorable badger pins, quirky butterfly necklaces and eclectic mismatched button earrings. Laura’s fun designs make for a completely original present for that jewelry loving friend of yours.
- Kate Conaghan Design. Another talented crafter who brings the wild into her work, but this time with a dark fairytale twist. Kate channels elements of creepy doll faces, magical black cats and Alice in Wonderland to create a unique and striking range of products. She is also a friend to animals. For example, money from Kate’s kooky and cute bat necklaces will be donated to Bury St Edmunds Bat Hospital after she rescued a bat called Maude that she later released into the wild. A great example of creativity being used to help towards worthy causes.