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Workshops: The Science Studio

By Alicia and Sophie.


Last Week, Manchester Craft & Design Centre held interactive, drop-in workshops as part of the Manchester Science Festival and it was a great success yet again!

Manchester Science Festival is an innovative, playful and exciting science festival which takes place at various venues across Greater Manchester. Visitors are invited to get involved in a cultural celebration of all things related to science, and the events range from art installations and theatre to debates and workshops. Here at Manchester Craft & Design Centre, we held workshops allowing our audience to get up close and personal with the chemicals, reactions and elements our makers use every day to make their contemporary craft products.

Building on last year’s event, visitors could watch demonstrations and have a go themselves, making something to takeaway. Each day a different material was explored through interactive demonstrations, discussions and activities. Visitors left having taken part in a new experience and learning about science in the process.


The workshops included:

Monday 23rd October: Fantastic workshop led by glassmaker and jeweller Charlotte Verity using the rare lampworking technique to melt glass. You even got your own handmade glass bead to take away!



Tuesday 24th October: Talented printmaker Nell Smith demonstrated two methods of printmaking- firstly using a small modern etching press to print a lino illustration and secondly using a 1950’s Adana letterpress to overprint lettering. Visitors then had the opportunity to try both techniques to create their very own Science Studio postcard.



Wednesday 25th October: On wednesday visitors had the opportunity to give pewtersmithing a bash with Ella McIntosh of This Is Pewter. The workshop involved testing the boundaries of pewter by combining textures, pewter (a very soft metal), and the rolling mill to make your own keyring.



Thursday 26th October: Gemma Scully specialises in water casting, heating different materials until they melt and then dropping them into different volumes of water. As part of her fascinating workshop, visitors were able to try this fun process with silver and see how the results differed each time.



Friday 27th October: Friday was all about the fascinating world of thermoplastics with Julia Roy Williams of Wonderhaus. The workshop involved working with heat guns and Perspex, learning how to heat and shape plastic to create wearable art jewellery.



Saturday 28th October: At the final workshop of the week there was the opportunity to try the amazing process of plique a jour enamelling with Glass artist Helen Tiffany. This involved painting your own metal charm; which was fired ready for participants to take away with them.




A few comments from our visitors which made us smile:


“It was amazing for me to experience metal work for the first time since school! And it inspired my kids.”

“Lovely welcome and great activity. Really interesting to see a focus on the science of craft!”

“Easy to participate! Really open! Very helpful and laid-back staff.”

“I enjoyed it so, so much, you should do it every weekend! The people are really nice.”

“Lots of help and advice. Great fun and finished off with a wonderful gift. Mega, great experience.”

“Great to visit from the Crafts Council and see your amazing activities!”


Our workshops creatively demonstrated the importance of science in enabling our makers to make their contemporary craft products. They also actively showed the complex processes used by our Resident Makers, highlighting how important craftsmanship and innovation is in design as well as the science which underpins it.

Overall, it was a great week of science and art!