Material Journeys

17th Annual Manchester Met Graduate Award Winners

13th January - 30th March 2024

Manchester Craft and Design Centre

Each year Manchester Craft & Design Centre selects talented students from Manchester School of Art whose work is ambitious, exciting, and demonstrates potential. 

We are proud to announce this year’s 17th award-winning graduates – Marilou Turner, Ashley Knight and Thomas Radburn. These BA (Hons) Product Design and Craft graduates caught our attention through their creative use of traditional materials.   

This collection of work is an exploration of process and impact. Drawing inspiration from place and chemical reactions, these bold graduates allow the materials to reflect the power of experimentation to produce sustainable practices. Frozen in time, these heirloom pieces embody environmental results and encourage individuals to go on a material journey. 

Read a news story about Material Journeys and the graduate’s time at Manchester School of Art.

Marilou Turner

Marilou Turner specialises as a metalsmith. This collection of vessels focuses on the patination of copper objects and explores the different colours and textures produced on metal surfaces. Through weathered vessels, Marilou has been able to play with forms to create a collection that demonstrates the beauty of patinas. This investigation into patination has enabled Marilou to achieve a wide variety of colours on metal surfaces to give objects character and depth. Inspiration for this project came from exploring objects frozen in time, representing the marks and scars accumulated and showing the story of how the objects came to be.

Manchester Craft and Design Centre

Ashley Knight

Ashley Knight specialises in hand-built ceramics and produces batches of stained clay, to construct one-off pieces. Ashley finds joy in never making the same piece twice. While uniformity is important within her collections, each piece remains unique, creating impact as a stand-alone object and as an ensemble. This collection titled ‘Living Heirlooms’, is centred around the themes of family and ancestry, focusing on taking traditional concepts and adapting them to fit into a contemporary context. ‘Living Heirlooms’ explores how the tradition of family heirlooms can be reshaped to suit the shifting structures of 21st-century families. Each stoneware candlestick holder can be interlocked with another and rearranged endlessly to suit the occasion or user’s tastes. Where traditional heirlooms are passed on in the event of someone’s death, these objects are designed to remain in constant use and circulation.  

Manchester Craft and Design Centre

Thomas Radburn

Thomas Radburn is a contemporary craftsman who explores the alchemy of glass. He creates artefactual objects exploring place, working with materials sourced from important or influential geology locations. Understanding locations and materials drives his outcomes and guides his use of colour and form. Through his knowledge of glass, his selection of materials is considered and deliberate, conscious to only collect with minimal impact on the environment. Gathering materials such as sand, shells and plant ash. These materials are then meticulously processed, refined, polished and cut to create beautiful objects. 

The significant aspect of his work is its challenge to the use of traditional gemstones and jewellery practices. The material created has similar qualities and uses as gemstone, without any resulting ethical issues. The bespoke nature of his making focuses on there being no wider humanitarian or environmental impact, other than his intervention. 

Manchester Craft and Design Centre

Material Journeys opens on Saturday 13th January – Saturday 30th March 2024
Free entrance
Opening Hours:
Monday – Saturday, 10am – 5.30pm
2nd Sunday of the Month, 11am – 5pm (excluding January)

Exhibition Launch Event: Saturday 20th January, 2 pm – 5 pm
Complimentary drinks and nibbles

All pieces are available for purchase. Items can be collected after the exhibition.
Please email [email protected], call 0161 832 4274, or pop into the office on the first floor.