BY Manchester Craft and Design Centre



Visiting the Manchester Metropolitan University Degree Show is always one of our the highlights of the year, and this year did not disappoint. We were very impressed with the high standard of the work, and the innovative use of a wide variety of materials.

The team here at MCDC have been spotting talent at regional and national graduate shows since 2011, and have been awarding exhibitions to graduates for the last 11 years! We hand-pick makers who we think are the “ones to watch” in the world of contemporary craft & design, shown with a SPOTTED! sign awarded to the maker to display alongside their work. We then support, promote and publicise these superstar graduates here on our website for all to see and celebrate.


One very special graduate/collaborative group from Manchester School of Art, whose work we feel is of considerable mention, is awarded the ‘Annual MMU Graduate Solo Exhibition Award’. They have the chance to exhibit their work here at MCDC plus receive on-going support and guidance from our team, helping our chosen winner to succeed in their creative profession.

This year this incredible opportunity was awarded to Jahday Ford and Joseph Hillary, whose collaborative range of work on display in the Vertical Gallery truly wowed us. A combination of digital technology and refined craft really got our attention, especially how well considered the project was as a whole. We look forward to hosting their show here in the spring of 2018.


The first of the graduating makers to be SPOTTED! at the MMU degree show was Amy Quinn from 3D Design. Inspired by a trip to Iceland, Amy created a range of work based on the contrasting ‘Fire and Ice’ landscape, with smooth icy glaciers and rugged terrain. She recreated this through blown, icy blue glass and a base of concrete, linking together with stunning fluidity.


Ffion Lewis (Textiles In Practice) is a textile designer who has a passion in embroidered and printed fabrics. Taking inspiration from natural environments, capturing a sense of space, rhythm of marks and movement. We loved the combination of both print and embroidery to recreate intuitive pieces, with gorgeous colours and a great sense of texture.


Another 3D Design student who caught our eye was Grace Leigh Igoe. Her ceramic pieces have a strong narrative and are intended to communicate the aspects to an autistic condition through exploring common traits and behaviours. She uses colour, pattern and surface treatment to reinforce the ideas within her work. We found that the research behind her work was clearly in depth and really translated into the physical work.



Marged Elin Owain‘s (3D Design) work truly stood out, with high level presentation and a strong concept behind her work, we were drawn to her display straight away! Her research is based on Welsh culture and heritage, celebrating Welsh craftsmanship through combining blown glass, turned wood and thread, with a detailed reference to the crafted of butter-maker and the quarryman.


Our final SPOTTED! graduate from MMU is Charlie Manthorp from 3D Design. He is a socially-engaged ceramicist who produces hand thrown vessels which communicate the often overlooked humanity of homeless individuals. His final year project is named ‘Michael’s Boots’, after research into the daily routines of Michael O’Connor and his treasured boots which carried him through many stages of homelessness.

We were very pleased to hand out these awards to such talented students, and we can’t wait to see what the future holds for them!