I don’t usually get the train to town, but the other day I was going to the fabric shop and as it’s nearly £2 cheaper to get the train than the bus these days (and I wouldn’t have to walk so far!) I ventured out. When I got into Manchester I had to walk a way I had never been before (it looked a little dodgy, but then again arty parts of any town seem to be dodgy don’t they?) and happened upon this graffiti painting on the side of an old building. I must confess that I don’t get graffiti (I remember at uni, everyone being really excited to do a project on graffiti artists and I could not be less bothered) I don’t usually like it and I don’t really see the point. This one though seemed special. I think it was the fact that I was in the dodgy, run down bit of town, and then out of nowhere is this large piece of nature staring down at me. (It also helps that I love birds!) I hate to use the word juxtaposition, but it was and it’s the first piece of graffiti I have seen that I actually like. (Someone will probably tell me now that this is not graffiti, but a mural!)
It turned out to be a day of painted birds as I went to have a bit of dinner at the Manchester Craft and Design Centre. The Craft Centre is an old factory (some sort of old Victorian building anyway) that has been turned into small, sort of gallery/shop/studios that designers rent and make and sell their work from. After having my dinner of mozzarella, tomato and basil toasty (yum!) I had a look around the shops and ended up buying these badges.
The artist is Lily Greenwood and I thought these little bird badges were just so cute! There were also some really beautiful paintings mixed with collages like the butterfly badge, which I also liked. They reminded me of Japanese lacquer furniture with colourful images on a plain background and a shiny coat of varnish on top. I had never been to the Craft Centre before and I assumed that everything would be out of my price range, but I was surprised at how affordable much of the stuff was. (Some stuff was not!) I also saw some bags and things like I have been making which have made me question the prices I was thinking of selling at. Maybe I can charge more if I target the right audience. If you are interested in one-off pieces (one of the shops held workshops where you could design and make your own wedding rings!) and new design, then the Manchester Craft and Design Centre is definitely worth a visit.