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SDW Craftworks symposium

Craftworks is a half day symposium about ways manufacturers and makers collaborate.  6 speakers have been invited to talk about their experience of working collaboratively and productively.  For detailed information and booking your place (this is a free event) visit the Craftworks information page on the Sheffield Design Week website

At  Craftworks,  Yorkshire Artspace programme manager Mir Jansen will be in conversation with Yorkshire Artspace artist David Appleyard and Ancon Building Products' project engineer Paul Fisher about their recent collaboration to design and create a bench for the Millennium Gallery foyer.

Commissioned by Galvanize Sheffield in 2013, the bench project brought together a local Sheffield artist/designer with a local Sheffield steel products manufacturer to test if a brand new contemporary design product could be manufacturerd using only the machinery, materials and expertise available at Ancon Building Products. The project took 6 months to complete and the bench created is now on permanent display at the Millennium Gallery.

In the conversation we will explore what made this collaboration special and rewarding, what both parties learned during the process and the effect it had on how they continued to work with makers and manufacturers.

Neil MacDonald, Chair for Galvanize Sheffield: “As well as having a responsibility to preserve and nurture traditional skills in Sheffield we also need to pioneer new ways to use the skills we have here to design and manufacture new products. Part of this is to look at a different way of approaching the task – put two knowledgeable people with complementary skills together, give them a broad brief and allow them to make things happen.”

Also in Crafwork we will hear from Charlotte Dew, associate curator for A Fine Line who will talk about 'The Cutting Edge, a project (to be completed in 2015) that involves 4 leading silk production companies in Sudbury and their collaboration with textile artists such as Philippa Brock, Kathy Schicker and Marie Brisou.  

"In collaborations makers often pushed the boundaries of the medium, feeding back in to the knowledge of the companies, and creating works not possible without the support and resources at the mills. It argues that this receptive and collaborative approach benefits makers and the companies alike".  

Keith Tyssen’s wealth of experience lies in the realm of design and metalwork. His attention to detail in his work belies a quiet originality and a light-hearted and elegant style. He has also learnt to combine these artistic merits with a quality manufacturing process, enhanced by his ongoing collaboration with Wentworth Pewter. This relationship has benefited both parties, giving Keith a detailed insight into manufacturing possibilities while giving Wentworth the experience of working with contemporary designers to create new ideas and innovate for the future of the Pewter industry as a whole. 


Coilin O’Dubhghaill is the final speaker at the Craftworks event.  He is also based at Yorkshire Artspace and is a Research Fellow at Sheffield Hallam University where he is collaborating with the Department for Engineering and the method of  friction stir welding to further develop the possibilities it afforded in creating a mixed multi-layered metal. Drawing upon the 17th century Japanese method of Mokume  Coilin was able to adapt the process and produce unique laminate patterns, simultaneously fusing industry and art to create a novel way of working with metal.

The last hour of this event will be hosted by the Crafts Council

“How do we tell the story of our own work, and connect with other people to find ways of working collaboratively?" This networking part of the afternoon will be led by Tracey Clarke, Talent Development Manager at the Crafts Council and is intended to get participants really talking and finding new ways of making connections.

Of course, this rather special event couldn’t possibly take place without the support of some very interesting people. MADE NORTH and Sheffield Design Week have teamed up with CraftNet and the Crafts Council to bring you this exciting event.

So, If all this talk has got your creative and intellectual brain whirring, you’ll need to click here to register for the event. Don’t worry, it won’t cost you a penny, we just want to make sure there are enough drinks and canapés for everyone at the post-event reception! CraftWorks is taking place between 13:30 and 18:00 on 26 June in Electric Works, the perfect place to locate your creative and digital business.

Craftworks is supported by Crafts Council, Craftnet and Yorkshire Artspace