This autumn sees the much welcome return of the award-winning Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair in its new home – Manchester’s iconic Victoria Baths – over the weekend of 8-10 October 2021.

Following its cancellation last year, due to you know what, the fair organisers are excited to be back, with this much-anticipated annual selling showcase of beautiful and unique handmade objects, from an impressive line-up of over 150 specially selected designer-makers and craft artists.

Now in its 14th year, GNCCF – as it’s affectionately known – is the last word in contemporary craft selling events in the north. As a key cultural event in the city’s autumn calendar, and one of the top fairs in the UK, it’s no coincidence that the GNCCF has become the must-attend event for exhibitors and buyers alike, attracting both nationwide.

This year sees the GNCCF move to its new permanent home of Victoria Baths, Manchester’s much-loved heritage events space. This former swimming pool and Turkish Baths was saved by the community, has been partly restored and is now a unique home to all sorts of events and activities. Originally opened in 1906, the Baths was designed to the highest specification and features the finest craftsmanship of its time; this Grade II* listed Edwardian classic still retains much of its former grandeur. The beautiful tiled interiors, mosaic floors and stained glass windows will provide a fitting backdrop for the exceptional craft available to buy at the fair.

Expect a diverse range of talents, stories and objects from independent, professional makers including jewellers, ceramicists, furniture-makers, textile and glass artists, metalsmiths and printmakers. As ever, all exhibitors have been handpicked by a panel of craft experts to ensure the best in handmade design and craftmanship, which the GNCCF is renowned for. This is a rare chance to buy some genuinely individual pieces direct from the artists and talk to them about their work and the inspirations that guide them.

In addition, there’s ‘Changing Spaces’, a graduate showcase, featuring 30 emerging new makers, who will be displaying their degree show work in the Victorian changing cubicles, flanking the pool area. Another side show, ‘Discuss’ will take place in the beautifully restored Turkish Baths. In this curated selling exhibition, five highly acclaimed established makers will be on hand to discuss their new work with show visitors.

Curator talks and maker demonstrations also add to the visitor experience and make a trip to the GNCCF an inspiring day out.

Event organiser, Angela Mann, stated: “It’s great to be back with a live event. “Craft says something” is GNCCF’s strapline and I think we all agree that craft needs to be seen, to be touched, to be tried, for it to truly speak to you. Meeting and chatting to the makers is also a key part of the experience.”

Co-organiser, Ann-Marie added: “The reintroduction of live events is a lifeline for makers who have been financially hard hit by the pandemic, with the cancellation of shows and closure of galleries. The Crafts Council’s Market for Craft Survey in 2020, which the GNCCF co-commissioned, showed that face to face craft fairs are the main revenue source for makers, so we implore the public to come and buy from the show and support makers in the process, with the reassurance of enhanced health and safety protocols.”

The Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair will commence with a special Preview evening on Friday 8th October from 6pm-9.00pm. Following the Preview, the GNCCF will then open to the public from 10am on Saturday 9th October to 4pm on Sunday 10th October.

Advance tickets now on sale via website. For an opportunity to see the work before the general public , anybody who signs up to the mailing list via the website, between now and the event will be entered into a prize draw for the chance to win a pair of free tickets to the exclusive Preview and £100 to spend at the fair.


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