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Inspirational Women of MCDC’s Past, Present & Future

For International Women’s Day 2017 we would like to celebrate some of the inspirational women behind Manchester Craft & Design Centre. From the fishmongers of our past to our exhibiting contemporary makers who are redefining the future of craft, MCDC has a 35 year history of making a place for handmade in Manchester.


Ellie Gibbons

Over our 30th Birthday celebrations in 2012 the Gibbon’s family got in touch to tell us about Ellen Gibbons, whose booth and signage you can still spot in our atrium. As one of the only women working in this fast paced, predominantly male market environment Ellie had to hold her own ground.

Her grand daughter Patricia Gibbons, got in touch to share with us her story:

“My grandma, Ellen Gibbons, worked at the fish market from some time in the thirties till it closed. It was a hard life, working as a woman in a man’s world (and a very little woman at that – 5′ in her clogs).

She said she had to tell the chap opposite that he’d feel the toe of her son’s boot if he carried on with language he wouldn’t use in front of his own mother or wife, and kept trying to take her customers.”

You can read more about our history here. 




The Fabulous Women of MCDC

We would never be able to choose one of the fantastic women who make up the creative community at MCDC! When you visit their studio here at the Centre you’re seeing the finished product honed from hours of tireless refining, thinking and creative ingenuity. Each of our makers work hard to run their own business, from the physical production of the work to meeting customers, to marketing and developing their customer base around the region and across the UK and beyond. This dedicated community demonstrate exactly why we should be celebrating women today.

Read more about our makers here.


Emerging Talent

Future Makers 2017 brings together 6 graduate artists, designers and makers who have been selected by our resident makers. As Crafts Council UK discovered in 2012 Craft in an Age of Change report, the contemporary craft sector is heavily female, and this year’s Future Maker selection has followed this trend, proving that the future for women in design is brighter than ever.

You can see cutting-edge works in silver, resin, textiles and acrylic by Future Makers: Felicity Lynden, Michaela Murrain, Sam Smith, Francesca Lobb, Molly Coldicott and Wanshu Li in six studios across MCDC until April 1st.

Find out more about this year’s showcase here.