The Great Northern Textile Show

One thing we notice here at Cotton On MCR is that textile art doesn’t seem to have much of a platform here in Manchester. We find that when we host our exhibitions, we get praised for including textile pieces, as these artists in particular find it hard to have their work seen and their artwork and practice appreciated.

One textile artist in particular has noticed this lack of celebration for textile art, and is doing something about it.

Tracy Fox, a local Manchester based artist, has organised a brand new event which celebrates all forms of textiles, ‘from fibre to fabric’. The Great Northern Textile Show is happening on Sunday 23rd October, at BeAtcive (formerly George Carnall Community Hub) in Urmston, which is right next to the Trafford Centre.

The Great Northern Textile Show combines stalls, demonstrations and an exhibition too, all celebrating a variety of textile art! Tracy aims for this event to inspire people, to get people involved in textiles and to give it a go, and there is plenty to ‘give a go’ at on the day. Throughout the event they’ll be a series of demonstrations, exhibitors will be showing how to knit and crochet, showing different techniques of spinning and weaving, demonstrating how to create patchwork fabric, or felt making techniques and more. All of these demonstrations will be live on the day and it’s free for you to watch, take a seat and have a go!

Plus, there are independent sellers on-hand with a huge array of stalls, all selling a wide variety of textile based items and kits, to get you started in this new art form, or to develop what you already know.

Tracy says: ‘I want this event to show all the different threads of textile art (excuse the pun)! There is a whole spectrum of textile arts and this event is my way of giving an opportunity to a variety of creatives and groups to display their work. We have everything from traditional to contemporary textiles, local Manchester based independent sellers and textile groups and more from far and wide, plus an International artist that has shown their work around the world and won an array of awards.’

That international artist is Leah Higgins, who will be showing her exhibition ‘Beyond Ruins’. Higgins creates ‘quilts inspired by industrial landscapes’, she’ll be showing these alongside a broader range of inspirations. She has shown work in the UK, USA and work that has toured across Europe too! Leah’s art will be on show throughout the event, giving you a chance to see this contemporary textile art and the wonderful and unique pieces she makes.

Leah Higgins ‘Who speaks for me’

This multi event is also a great place to shop! All the exhibitors will be on hand to give advice and guide you through your textile art journey, here you can buy everything from felts to fabrics, sewing kits and sewing machines. I know some of you may not be ready for it, or want me to say it, but Christmas is just around the corner, and you can start buying presents now to spread the costs! People are already getting super excited for the event, and visitors who have booked their tickets have already started commenting on Instagram and Facebook about it:” Got our tickets, can’t wait!!!!!! Looks amazing!!! ” Great just in time to make for Christmas.”

When chatting to Tracy about this event, we both agreed that there is so much talent in textile art, and not a lot of people get to see this. Here at Cotton On MCR, we are always looking for new art forms to add to our exhibitions and workshops etc, and textiles does seem to be under-represented. ‘Sadly, textiles is not considered art in the UK and it’s a huge waste’ says Tracy. We agree, especially when Manchester’s has such a rich history in textiles, somehow that connection has got lost. It’s great that there is an event like this that is being the champion for this type of art form.

Decorum Mabel by Priscilla Edwards

The growth in people doing arts and crafts at home has truly grown since lockdown, with people finding solace in creativity. These events are great for those that have an interest in textiles but don’t know where to begin, or have started their textile journey and want to develop that and learn something new. We find these events are always the most welcoming and friendly, as everyone has a common goal, to get people involved in textiles. So if you are wanting to learn more about the art form, this is where you start.

Sincerely Louise display show stand

Tracy wants this event to appeal to everyone even with the slightest interest in the art form. With the fact there is so much on at the event, from the stalls to the demonstrations and the exhibition too, there will be something there to hook you in (is that another pun?) to start creating some textile work.

So head to The Great Northern Textile Show, BeActive Urmston, Manchester, M41 7FJ (formerly George Carnall Community Hub) on Sunday 23rd October, £9 a ticket and get involved!

The event is organised by artist Tracy Fox

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