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Meet our Future Makers 2018: Ralph Shuttleworth

Written by Sophie Holt.


In support of new, emerging talent, each year our resident makers hand pick promising ‘Future Makers’ to showcase their work here at Manchester Craft & Design Centre. These new designers are either currently studying, recent graduates or newly emerging and this opportunity will bring their beautiful work into the spotlight. This year we have a total of seven Future Makers, all with their own unique craft, working with different processes and materials.

The first is Ralph Shuttleworth, whose work has been chosen by resident makers Ella Macintosh and Helen Tiffany based at Manchester Craft & Design Centre in Studio 10. Ralph is currently studying Furniture and Product Design at Nottingham Trent University. His innovative practice revolves around creating contemporary wood turned sculptures, bowls and vessels. In his own words his work uses a rather ‘modern approach to woodworking’ aided by his play of colour, technology and mixed metals to lift the natural wood and create something rather more avant-garde. Ralph effortlessly combines vibrant colours with organic shapes and forms, revealing the beauty within the material. His pieces are incredibly tactile and visually allow the eye to trace the intriguing surface of the wood continually.



Image Credit: Ralph Shuttleworth


Image Credit: Ralph Shuttleworth


Image Credit: Towngate Photography


Image Credit: Towngate Photography


We asked Ralph a few questions so we can get to know him and his work:


1.) So Ralph, out of hundreds of 2017 graduates and emerging talent you have been selected by us. How do you feel about being chosen for Future Makers 2018?

I’m thrilled to be chosen for the Future Makers exhibition, and I am excited to know that my work will be exhibited at the Centre, and be viewed by a wide audience.

2.) What are the things that have inspired, and continue to inspire, your work?

I create a piece by first looking for inspiration within the piece of wood I am working with, as this can sometimes reveal phenomenal natural patterns. The colours I use are inspired by the natural world around me, from sunsets and rivers to the Yorkshire moorlands. But I also find myself being drawn to contemporary architecture for inspiration as this can give great insight into different shapes, and how they work together to create the whole form.

3.) Is there any advice you would give to artists and makers who are starting out?

My advice to people who have started making would be to keep making, and apply for things regardless of if you think you’re work is good enough. I’ve been accepted into things I never dreamed I would be. As artists and makers, we are generally our worst critic and so getting your work in front of other people can really give you a boost.

4.) What is your dream project?

My dream project would be to work on a large scale public sculpture that celebrates contemporary craft and the benefits it can bring to people.


Image Credit: Towngate Photography


You can see Ralph’s beautiful work on display here at MCDC in Studio 10 as part of our Future Makers 2018 Exhibition. Click here to find out more about this fantastic exhibition.


Instagram: @ralphshuttleworth