Material Girls a pop of inspiration

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A collective of six Sheffield-based designer-makers have joined together this month to exhibit their work in the Sheffield Winter Garden’s pop up shop for a selling exhibition called Material Girls.

The women are showcasing a wide selection of hand-crafted works in this material focused exhibition, including hand raised vessels made by metalsmith Melissa Montague, printworks by Sam Groom, colourful glass by Debra Burrell, silver and mixed media jewellery by Studio Budgie Galore, prints by Zena Parker and jewellery and cards by Dot Cotton Crafts.

It’s a privilege to be part of this industry, to see the original Steel City come back to life in a creative way

All the women left the daily grind of the 9-5 to set up their own independent businesses, offering Sheffield something ‘different’ in the process.

Melissa Montague creates vessel forms, which she says question the boundaries between function and sculpture.

Working in silver, copper and brass, hammer marks are used to create different surface textures.

Sam Groom creates bold colourful prints and homeware using a combination of woodcut, linocut, stamp and screen printing techniques, taking inspiration from everyday things, such as the park, local buildings and the changing seasons.

Debra Burrell makes a range of fused glass art from small pendants that encapture a landscape to larger freestanding pieces inspired by nature, colour, landscapes and impressionist style art to boot.

Studio Budgie Galore, which is run by Jules Weiss, makes silver and mixed media pieces of jewellery, including bangles, pendants and earrings; sometimes with colourful and quirky limited additions.

Zena Parker creates small edition prints using hand printing methods and takes her inspiration from the natural world and Sheffield’s local landmarks including Cemetery Park and the beautiful Botanical Gardens.

Dot Cotton Crafts, run by Rachel Cotton, hand makes cards, jewellery and botanical themed gifts, inspired by Sheffield’s abundant parks, gardens and the glory of the nearby Peak District. 

Dot Cotton Crafts and Studio Budgie Galore also both run accessible craft and jewellery workshops from their studio spaces in Sheffield to inspire others.

Madonna’s famous song Material Girls has been a serious inspiration for this creative collective, and the six female entrepreneurs now work together collaboratively under that name.

With their unique and unusual style, their hand-crafted items guarantee you will find something to brighten your room, adorn yourself with or get that special something for that hard to buy for person in your life.

So, who are The Material Girls?

Studio Budgie owner Julie-Ann Weissenborn said: “We liked Material Girls because well, we each work with materials to make giftware and we all happen to be female business owners.

“Simple really, but sometimes the best things are, aren’t they?”

Creatively speaking, Material Girls packs a serious punch in the Sheffield makers market, which is flourishing when it comes to independent and start up businesses.

Creative industry has boomed in Sheffield in the last decade with no sign its slowing down any time soon.

Rachel Cotton, of Dot Cotton Crafts, said: “It’s a privilege to be part of this industry, to see the original Steel City come back to life in a creative way.

“For the six of us, to contribute to this vibrant micro-economy of Sheffield is a dream realised.”

Media agency owner Emma Taylor, of Girl About Shef, added : “Individually they each make something very special.

“Together they make things happen; they are inspiring a new generation of female entrepreneurs in the city.

“They’ve certainly inspired me!”

n Catch the Material Girls at the Winter Garden pop-up- shop until October 30. It is open daily from 11am-6pm.