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Inspired window design by Gemma Latham

Here at MCDC we pride ourselves on being a hub of creativity, not only with our in-house resident makers but by collaborating with a whole host of creative talent from across the city.
Recently we were approach by the rather fabulous Gemma Latham, who had been inspired by one of our Forming Words  exhibition family activities, were visitors were encouraged to pick their favourite word and add this to our post-it note wall. On her visit Gemma had seen the wall and she came to us with an idea to create a new window display for  MCDC, using the chosen words from the wall.
Of course we said yes and here is what happened next with incredible visual results….
What Gemma had to say:
‘My practice is rooted in process and I am interested in combining both digital and physical processes in my work. Through the development of pieces and interventions, I aim to invert traditional craft practices by imposing actions of the hand onto the digital.

Through the participatory and social elements of my practice I am concerned with engaging people in craft and reconnecting people with materials. Through interventions I enlarge and magnify processes and impose a craft aesthetic upon structures and surroundings. This creates a dialogue between myself and the environment and opens up opportunities for conversation with the public.

The piece created on the front windows of the Craft and Design Centre is a smaller version of a live installation I carried out as part of Making It Click here at Winchester Discovery Centre in October 2012. ‘Stitch Type’ explored links between text and textiles and aimed to reveal the logical planning processes that are intrinsic to traditional textile crafts. During the installation the public were invited to donate words and to assist in plotting them onto an enlarged grid along a glass balcony using stitch stickers. The processes of applying the stickers one by one was reflective of many textile making methods and almost felt like individual stitches were being formed through this simplistic material.

You can read more about the piece and my approach in iBook ‘Making Stories’ by Alice Kettle, Insa Langhorst and Huw Wahl. Follow this link to download it: Click here 

 I was really excited to see the post-it note wall at Manchester Craft and Design Centre, full of words donated by people visiting the Forming Words exhibition. It demonstrated how such a simple activity can become an engaging activity that connects people to a space or event. Everyone has relationship a with words and donated words at the centre reflected some of the themes I had seen in Winchester. Selected words were amusing and personal, and many had the ability to make me smile instantly. The opportunity to create a smaller version of the ‘Stitch Type’ installation was an exciting one posing the chance to work in an inspirational venue and connect with a more local audience.  I was also intrigued to explore the process in a venue where the public were familiar with observing craft unlike the previous installation which took place within a library and on reflection it did make for a more relaxed experience.

I thoroughly enjoyed my weekend at the Craft and Design Centre and I feel more connected to the space the community within it. I would hope that those who donated the words feel the same.

A bit about Gemma’s background:
Studied BA Fashion Design with Technology at MMU before working as a Product Developer in the Outdoor Clothing industry for 8 years. In 2011 I returned to MMU to study MA Design (Contemporary Craft)which I completed in September this year. 
If you are interested in becoming creatively involved with the centre or if you have an idea already bubbling away, we would love to hear from you: