Today’s post has been written by artist, curator and writer Jo Manby. Over the past few months, Jo has worked in collaboration with artist Gary James Williams and our curator, Stephanie Boydell, to research and develop a new exhibition for our Spotlight Gallery.
For anyone who missed our exhibition earlier this year on Will Mellor, the Arts and Crafts book artist, there’s another chance to see it at Manchester’s Central Library. The exhibition runs until 31 January 2018 and can be found in Archives+ on the ground floor of the Library and in the Wolfson Reading Room on the first floor. The Library is open Monday – Thursday 9.00am-8.00pm and on Fridays and Saturdays from 9.00am-5.00pm.
The Brown Betty teapot was once in its produced in its millions but in recent decades has been overlooked. The ceramic artist Ian McIntyre is hoping to change this by re-imagining the design of the teapot for the 21st century. McIntyre, who studied 3D Design at Manchester School of Art, is currently undertaking a Collaborative Doctoral Award with the School of Art, York Art Gallery and the British Ceramics Biennial.
His research focuses on how to refine the design of the Brown Betty teapot and create a new version that reinstates the best elements of the original design. He is also researching the history of red earthenware production in Stoke-on-Trent and is working with Cauldron Ceramics, producers of the Brown Betty.
McIntyre has made use of the Trade Catalogue Collection, held at All Saints Library, to source original images of the Brown Betty for his research. A selection of Trade Catalogues is on display in our Spotlight Gallery on the ground floor of All Saints Library until 20 October 2017. Read more about the collection here.
The teapot will be launched at the British Ceramics Biennial in Stoke-on-Trent, which runs from 23 September – 5 November 2017, and currently graces the cover of the latest edition of the Crafts Council’s Crafts magazine.
Over the past few months, we’ve have added a number of new pieces to our collections. We’ve purchased books that focus on paper engineering to add to our Artists’ Books Collection and we’ve acquired new works for our unique Process and Material Innovation Collection. Here’s a selection…
In his account of the history of the Manchester School of Art, A Hundred Years and More, David Jeremiah refers to the formation of a library which “was to become one of the country’s finest art and design libraries” and goes on to note its collection of trade catalogues for which it “has gained a national reputation”. Continue reading
Currently on display in our ground floor Spotlight Gallery is a small exhibition of traditional Bangladeshi embroidery. It was produced last year by a group of ten women who participated in the project Kotha & Kantha: Bangladeshi Women’s Memoir held at Manchester Central Library and run by the Ahmed Iqbal Ullah Race Relations Education Trust and Centre (AIUC). Project Administrator Jo Manby explains more about the project and what it set out to achieve.
Last year we were delighted to work with Laura Mansfield and Elisa Oliver from the Manchester School of Art on a project inspired by our Home Studies Collection. Laura and Elisa secured funding from the Arts Council to invite a group of academics, artists and writers to undertake a period of research into the Home Studies Collection in order to develop a series of contemporary responses to the historical material.
The group consisted of Catherine Bertola, Augusto Correiri, Bryce Evans, Beryl Pattern, Rachel Rich and Susanna Worth. Their research was presented in a series of public discussions held here at Special Collections between April-July last year and is now available in a newly published book of essays. You can read a hard copy of the beautifully designed book in our Reading Room and it is also available to download here.