Submited by Ann Toplis to the blog
My studio, Ann Toplis Designs, was upstairs tucked away in the corner from 1993 to 1997, where I made furniture and gifts from solid wood. Day to day, I have lovely memories of breakfasts with my fellow studio holders, and the creative buzz that prevailed in the very slowly up and coming Northern Quarter area. The best part was the advice that was always on offer from the other more experienced businesses. And of course being one of the newer businesses, we learnt from each other. It was a great time of my life and having moved to Holland, where there in nothing similar, I really miss it.
Submitted by Helen rushworth to the blog
I moved in to Studio 3 (opposite the cafe) in October 1989 not long after finishing my MA in Ceramics at Staffordshire Poly. I shared the studio for the first few years with Alan Grieg who made lovely brightly painted pots and plates, and on Saturdays we spent many a tortured afternoon listening to Man City getting thrashed on the radio – how times have changed! I remained at the Craft Centre right up till 2002 when I left to create babies instead. I have loads of great memories – bizarre fancy dress parties, visits from our one time patron Tony Wilson, an unknown Doves playing a gig on the stage outside my door, Nigel’s delicious ciabattas and soups, lots of bickering over being ‘co-operative’, but mainly I remember it as being a fantastic place to work and share creative ideas with a bunch of like-minded folk. Long may it live.
What do you think of when you think of Manchester Craft & Design Centre?
Some of the stories behind these ceramic tags include someone’s experience of humus in the MCDC cafe celebrated here with a ‘chick-pea’ (it was one of the first few places in Manchester to serve such an exotic delicacy), the fishing boats that brought the fish to land before their journey to Smithfield Fish Market, the building, the designs bought by people and the special purchases, an engagement ring being amongst them.
A little snap shot here of the local area before Smithfield Fish Market itself, brought to life on Tib Street by Liz Scrine, a previous tenant of MCDC in 1997..
Interesting to know the origins of both Oak and Tib Street are both fairly literal, but also to hear of the industrial production and skilled makers operating in the area over 200 years ago, plus the pet shop’s still there! You can also still spot Liz’s illuminated staircase in the exterior wall of MCDC.
My main connection to MCDC are regularly visiting Liz Scrine in her ceramic studio opposite the cafe. Liz was always a great inspiration to me as a ceramicist, trying in the early 90′s to get a business going in ceramics. I was able to start this by using the Enterprise Allowance set up by the Tories. The only offering by that government that did some good.
I then, over time, started to sell my work from Liz’s studio. Helen , next door , also aided my mini career too. MCCD was the only place in Manchester to offer such a chance. So thank you to all involved and good luck for the future, to the hidden gem of Manchester.