Victoria Baths celebrates all things Handmade
Arts and crafters in Manchester are in for a proper treat on Saturday (May 19th) if they decide to head to “the most splendid municipal bathing institution in the country” Victoria Baths on Hathersage Road. This magical water palace – which opened in 1906, dazzling the city folk with its mosaics, terracotta and stained glass – is swapping swimming lessons for craft workshops for one day and one day only as part of the FutureEverything festival, which starts tomorrow (May 16th).
The focus this year is on the relationship between digital technology and traditional crafts, with artists appearing at Handmade at Victoria Baths among those who have fused time-honoured skills with technological advancements in a bid to enhance their craft. Workshops and installations can all be found at the Baths during the day, such as Laura Jane Blake’s Anti-Sculpture in the Male 1st Class Pool and Lucinda Hankins’ installation in the 2nd class Entrance Hall.
Those who do decide to get their craft on this Saturday – between 700 and 1,000 people are expected to flock to the Baths for the day – will also be able to have a ganders at ~Flow, the public art commission funded by the Arts Council for the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad. This is a tidemill – a floating building on the River Tyne that generates its own power via a tidal water wheel – with instruments and musical machinery that respond to changes in the river and create sounds. Speaker horns and visualisation displays will be installed in the Turkish Hot Rooms to convey the sounds of the river at the Baths.
But that’s not all, folks! You’ll also be able to try your hand at screen-printing and laser-cutting, making and customising an electric textile swatch and creating a 3D printer from scratch. “Traditional craft has enjoyed a considerable resurgence in recent years. Some attribute this resurgence to a backlash against an increasingly digitally led society. Rather than seeing it as a point of conflict, however, Handmade explores what can be a fruitful meeting point between traditional craft and digital technology,” Handmade manager Lucy Biddle said.
Another main attraction is the Fanzine Convention, on at the same time as Handmade, where people can come and find out all about self-publishing and meet a few people who are already heavily involved in this. You’ll have the opportunity to either create your own Victoria Baths fanzine or contribute to a big collaborative one that organiser Victoria Bradbury hopes may well be included in one of the displays at the Baths following the event.
Also keep your eyes peeled for the exhibition put on by Leeds-based illustrator and fanzine-maker Melanie Maddison, which features 72 posters of inspirational European women all taken from her zine Shape & Situate, and the Deerly Beloved Bakery, which hails all the way from Norwich and will be dishing up all sorts of tasty treats, from whoopie pies to pizza.
Handmade is on May 19th from 10:00 to 17:00. Tickets cost £2, under-16s get in for free!
So who’s going on Saturday? Sounds like a great day out to me – and for the princely sum of £2, you really can’t go wrong!