Hands On – 2023 Meet the Makers

BY Deborah Simms


Manchester Craft and Design Centre

Our Hands On Programme for 2023 is well underway, with three makers who have benefitted from a wide range of support so far:

  • Mentorship from our on-site established makers
  • Digital one-to-one coaching with Emma Gray
  • Storytelling and confidence workshop with Catherine Sandland
  • Pricing development with Deborah Simms, our on-site Creative Enterprise Officer

Learn about the Hands On programme which benefits makers underrepresented in Craft here

We are excited to let you know all about our three makers, who have embraced this programme. They are passionate, talented and dedicated and it has been a pleasure working with them so far. Head to the Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair on 19th-21st October to see the first showing of their work produced during this programme. We would like to take this opportunity to thank GNCCF for their support of our makers and this programme.

Manchester Craft and Design Centre

l am Valery, running VTCreation a sustainable fashion brand. My inspiration derives from nature. As a commitment to sustainability, l run workshops, helping the community to understand more about sustainable fashion and how easy it is to upcycle. l also advocate for working with natural materials, textures and colours that l love because they make the process of creation simple, enjoyable and fun. 

As a young girl growing up in Cameroon Africa, garments made from African Prints were my dream but after my studies at University, my thoughts have changed because these African Prints are made in Holland and not in Africa. Sustainable fashion has become so important to me, to educate and share my knowledge with people.  

Creativity is a broad concept, it can come from a beautiful mess and does not always require artistic skills others will take longer to make. l see myself moving to the countryside in the future for a more cosy and environmental life. I enjoy visiting new places and learning about their culture and heritage.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/VTCreationWorkshop

Instagram: https://instagram.com/_vtcreation

Twitter: @touchet_valery

To book on to Valery’s workshop at GNCCF, click here

Manchester Craft and Design Centre

Katie Sawyer is a historic textile artist, who teaches everything from spinning wool to creating stinging nettle fabric. In her products, she focuses on sustainability, using recycled fabric and promoting slow fashion. 

In an archaeology lecture at university, I learnt about ancient nettle fabrics, just like in the Wild Swans fairytale, where a princess has to make nettle shirts to transform her brothers from swans to humans. Inspired, I made my own nettle fabric and went down the historical textile rabbit hole.

Several years on, I now practise as many textile crafts as possible: spinning, nalbinding, embroidery, sewing, mending etc. I teach classes in these crafts, to keep them alive, and give people an appreciation for their garments. I also make and sell historically inspired accessories, using second-hand materials to prioritise sustainability. 

@K_L_Sawyer Twitter/X 

Manchester Craft and Design Centre

I’m Kemi, a painter and pattern designer. At the Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair, I will have a range of stationery and homewares all based on plants and florals, most of which are inspired by common plants used and seen within Nigeria and Jamaica. I explore these within both abstract and intricate designs. 

Insta: @kemilemidoodle

If you’d like to support projects like this, please consider donating to the Kate Day Fund. Kate was our previous Director who sadly passed away in early 2022. Her passion was to support emerging makers into sustainable careers in Craft and Design. To learn more, and donate visit our fundraising page

Kate Day Fund