With Christmas only a week a way we draw to a close our Memories are Made By campaign with our final featured maker, Jane Blease from Studio 25. We ask her about the ideas and processes leading her innovative designs and the memories made through her work.
How many years have you been resident at MCDC?
I have been a resident since 2008. I am so lucky to be surrounded by so many talented makers and friends, it is a wonderful place to work (and shop).
What are the main inspirations behind your work and where do they come from?
I am inspired by nature, working with wood my designs must have an organic feel to fit within the natural grain of the wood. On the other end of the scale, I am also hugely inspired by geometry and the modernists. I think it is the perfectionist in me, I like to have a bit of order to my chaos. I definitely believe that there is perfection in imperfection though, you have to be able to see the artists/makers hand to make the pieces unique.
In my brand new hand printed Gestalten collection, I have used a combination of circle, triangle and square shapes to create geometric patterns. I have purposely made them a little bit wobbly on the edges to soften them up a bit and give them some character.
What is the most memorable commission or customer purchase of your work you have ever received?
I would say my commission for Manchester Airport”s ‘Escape Lounge’ is the one I am most proud of. My artwork is displayed along three 4 metre walls within their business lounge. They hunted me and Lee Page Hanson (a fellow maker at MCDC) down at the craft centre and we had lots of fun designing and installing our work. Take a look if you pass through there!
What is the most memorable Christmas gift you have received?
The most memorable Christmas gift I have ever received was a trip to Thailand, where my now husband proposed to me on a stunning secluded beach. He designed the engagement ring and had it specially commissioned.
What is your favourite thing about Manchester Craft & Design Centre on the run up to Christmas?
Christmas at the Craft Centre is my favourite time of year! There is such a lovely festive vibe and everyone seems extra happy and chatty. (I think it’s because they can shop in relative calm and escape the hoards in town) It has a lovely buzz and all the makers decorate each of their shops individually with handmade decorations. My work being mainly lighting, I think the shop is at it’s best in the dark winter months! It is very cosy and inviting.
Why should people buy handmade gifts this Christmas?
We should all support small, independent businesses. Buying handmade means that you will get completely unique gifts that you can guarantee they haven’t already got. The quality of the contemporary craft at the craft centre is incredible and you can actually see all the makers creating in their workshops, so you get the to see the whole story of the product. You can even order bespoke pieces to your specifications. I make my lampshades to commission, so customers can choose the wood, dimensions, pattern and even hand pick their colourway. Customers often bring me swatches of curtain fabric to match up to my threads. This way you can get something that will match your interior perfectly.
Do you have a recommendation for anyone still on the look out for the perfect Christmas gift?
I’d suggest the Gestalten.06 lampshade from my new collection in hand printed oak veneer.
Gestalten.06 lampshade, oak veneer, £165, 8″ (H) x 12″ (D)
Manchester Craft & Design Centre is open 7 days a week throughout December until 3pm, Saturday 24th December. Local artists, designers and makers based within our 18 studios offer the region’s finest in handmade gifts. Complete your Christmas shopping, sample the best in seasonal produce at Oak St Cafe and see cutting edge contemporary craft in our current exhibition, Heated Exchanges. There’s no better way to break away from the madding crowd.
Buy handmade and make this Christmas truly one to remember!