Meet a Maker - Manchester Craft Mafia
We partnered with Manchester Craft Mafia (MCM) a few years back, supporting the group's creative activities; so we thought it was high time we featured the group on our blog. We caught up with MCM to find out a bit more about them.
What is Manchester Craft Mafia?
We are a not for profit, curated collective of designers, makers, artists and workshop leaders promoting local Art, Craft and Design ventures through a diverse, creative network. As a collective, we have companies we collaborate and work with as well as running a number of high-quality makers fairs. Individually, we support and promote each other as well as our network of creative partners.
When did the Craft Mafia first start?
We believe the group originally started about 7 or 8 years ago with just a handful of members. The term ‘craft mafia’ was taken from the idea of crafting groups in the US, that got together on a regular basis to talk all things ‘crafty and makery’. As a collective we are now so much more than just craft, the group has evolved a great deal since it began!
How many members do you have and where do they come from?
We are about 45 members at present; this has been a huge leap for us, as this time two years ago we only had 12! Predominantly our members are based in Greater Manchester although we do welcome applications from those that wish to be involved but may live in the surrounding counties.
What sort of crafts do your members make?
Our members work in all manner of disciplines (not just craft!) from wire to wool, digital to decoupage, latch-hooking to laser cutting. Despite the diversity of skills, techniques and media the uniting focus of the organisation is high quality, handmade design.
What are the benefits of joining MCM?
We think our main reason for doing this is being able to have a group of people doing the same thing as you, a creative network if you will. Other makers in the local area that have an understanding of trying to make a living, being creative. Especially at present, as being in the creative industries is pretty tough and hard work. We work with a number of companies and organisations (yourselves included!) that help us with discounts, collaboration and support. Other organisations include the likes of the Manchester Museum, The Whitworth and the Royal Exchange Theatre. We are always on the lookout for other groups and companies to work with.
Tell us a bit about the work in the window?
We wanted to use the opportunity for the window, to enable our members to produce a piece of work outside of what they normally would, an opportunity to have a play and explore other avenues. We can get very stuck in making what sells, the themes we set, gave our makers a different focus, to produce a showpiece that could demonstrate other skills and techniques that are not always used on a day to day basis.
How did you come up with the themes for the window display?
We came up with the themes by looking at what appears to be ‘on trend’ at the moment. Geometric, neon and typography were themes we thought could be fairly open to interpretation and could also be combined together if members wished to. Perhaps a few members were even inspired to create totally new bodies of work in response.
How can people get involved with MCM?
People can pop us an email for an application form (it really is quite a short form!) tell us a bit about themselves and what they do, show us some pics of the work they make. All members are decided on by the ‘active members’. If their work is of a good standard, shows elements of innovation and is aesthetically very lovely and well made, you’re in! We are always on the lookout for members, so just contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in becoming part of our collective.
What's next for the members of MCM?
We actually have a pretty big change coming up over the next couple of months, as we are changing our name! In order to move on and develop our identity our name will be changing to MANCHESTER MAKERS COLLECTIVE, which we feel better reflects the high quality of the members we now have. We also have some exciting collaboration events on the horizon, but that’s all we can say on those at present!