About Megan Holland

I study drama at the University of Manchester and in my spare time I research for Manchester Cathedral, write, have done extras work for Channel 4 and create short films. I represent Born in Britain because I bring a perspective from behind the scenes, finding talent that is hidden away.

Sausage Dog

I discovered Sausage Dog in The Manchester Craft and Design Centre just a few weeks ago, and from the moment I walked through the door I was absolutely in love.

Sausage Dog is a craft shop in Manchester that sells the most wonderful and creative toys. Each one of them has a unique story and is made from recycled clothes. Pointedly, the toys are not for children, and being allowed to buy toys as an adult is incredibly liberating.

After discovering the shop I was lucky enough to have a chat with Harriet, the owner, who told me all about her journey and how she came to creating her toys.

Tell us a bit about yourself and how you got to where you are today!

I’ve been making toys for about 5 years. I studied illustration and then did a few little things to test what i wanted to do after uni: including more illustration, jewellery type stuff and things with fabrics. I sold them at markets along with handbags, brooches and paintings. But it was all a bit of a mish mash. After about two years I started making toys.

My friends loved the toys, so i tested them out on my stalls and my customers liked them too. It was a lot more related to my illustration. I’ve always drawn characters so to bring them to life seemed like an obvious step

I saved up money and got a shop in Afflex (an alternative shopping centre in Manchester). I did that for the christmas season and then I took a break to go travelling. Then after going travelling for a year and a half I had my eye on the Manchester craft and design centre. Something came up a month after i came back, which was lucky and i applied and got in so that’s how I started my shop here!

Where do you get your inspiration?

It’s hard to say – I guess i’m always on the look out for stuff but i don’t necessarily realise that i’m doing it. Sometimes I’ll just regurgitate ideas and someone will be like ‘that looks like something’ and I will think, oh yeah it does look like that!

I think that’s a lot to do with having a creative and inventive mind. You take on a lot of imagery. I don’t just get inspired by other toymakers…it’s by things I see. I like people watching. I love to stare out my window and draw funny people i see on the street.

What inspired using old clothes to make your toys?

When I would make handbags, I used material I had bought because i loved fabric- my mum was a dressmaker and taught me to sew. When it came to making the toys it was originally about money. I didnt have enough for loads of fabric and I wanted to make a lot of toys so i could open my shop. So i was cutting stuff up out of my wardrobe, old jumpers and so on. I actually enjoyed that process of recycling. I told all my friends and they gave me a load of old clothes and that’s how that started.

Working from old fabrics is more exciting. You can use the nice fabrics and they’ll all worn and knobbly- it’s like an old toy.It makes things unique as well, I can only get a few things out of a piece of clothing. So then I have to find a new jumper and each one has it’s own personality.

Sometimes the  fabric will inspire a completely new design, which is something that I didn’t realise when i first started!

What’s your ultimate dream?

What I want to do next year, and it’s already on the cards, is to make a massive puppet. It’s been in my head for ages and I want to start doing bigger scale stuff- as well as smaller scale stuff. I want to make little dolls that have sculpted heads- I have a whole idea for that.

My dreams develop and change as I go along. 5 years ago my dream was to open my own shop and I’ve done it. Now I’m setting up interesting projects so I can make large scale stuff maybe for theatre, maybe for festivals. and i think that also in terms of painting and toys I want to bridge that gap more.

I’m working on a big post-apocolpictic scene with lots of greedy people devouring each other. i want to finish the painting and have an exhibiton, but then I want to create it in 3d, so sculpt it either as puppets or out of clay. I think I’m interested in the whole idea of across multi-media platforms, so I’d do the painting, crafts and performing.

I think that Sausage Dog offers something entirely unique that coincides with the point of Gola Born in Britain. Harriet is a new and exciting talented that expresses something that cannot be found anywhere else. I can’t wait to see what happens next for her!

Have a look at the Sausage Dog Etsy Shop, or check out the Facebook!

Rosy Whittemore Photography

Rosy Whittemore is an Art History graduate from Manchester, as well as an astounding photographer. Her photographs have achieved success on blogging site Tumblr, with over a thousand notes on her most popular photos. She has also gained recognition from Magnum Photography.

Her favourite photo (top left) was taken  an exhibition in Vienna and she loves it because, ‘it’s a colour photo but everything in the photo is black and white, including the painting, so everything’s made out of these rectangular black and white shapes.’ Many of Rosy’s photos have the same poignant peacefulness that this one does. They seem endless and are taken with great talent and precision.

Rosy’s interest in photography started in her early teens, as she describes, ‘My mum had this chunky eighties Minolta 9000 slr that I used to play around with when I was younger, and when she got a digital camera I sort of took it over.’Since then Rosy has gained quite a big collection of analogue cameras after being drawn to the technical side of photography. She has found ones on ebay and market stalls, as well as buying old Russian cameras. Her favourite is her 70s Canon av-1 SLR, which she brings everywhere with her.

 Rosy’s influences include  Lyonel Feininger, the street photographer. She likes that he uses double exposure and natural lighting conditions. She also says that she was influenced by her mum, explaining that ‘we always had really nice holiday photo albums they weren’t filled with people, just places. I think she enjoyed photography as well because she’d always take ages to take photos of things, but they were always really good.’

Rosy is hoping to put together a proper photography project soon and take that into an exhibition. She would also like to belong to somewhere like Magnum Photography as she admires them for how iconic they are. With a talent like hers, we hope to be seeing more from her soon!

Check our Rosy’s Flickr here!

 

Fresh Loaf Productions

I can’t count how many times I’ve heard about Fresh Loaf in the last few months. Throughout Manchester, people have praised their creativity and tipped them off as something exciting.

Fresh Loaf are an independent theatre and film group based in Manchester. They are yet another reminder that Manchester is growing into a city of creativity, perhaps more exciting than anywhere else in the UK. Fresh Loaf is not only a  fantastic production company in a thriving city; each of the members are committed and passionate about their work. So far they have explored projects in theatre (Stacy, Hand Over Fist) and film (Coastal Shelf).

We were lucky enough to catch up with Joe Mellor, who told us even more about Fresh Loaf and the exciting things we can come to expect from them in the future!

 

Could you tell us a bit about Fresh Loaf! 

Fresh Loaf are a group of 5 Drama graduates from The University of Manchester who are all extremely passionate about making theatre and film.

We aim to create stories with high production values on a minimal budget. Our ethos is that a lack of financial backing should not hinder us from making high quality professional work.

After meeting  at university and setting up the Manchester comedy night Funbox, the team behind Fresh Loaf was created…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Laura Woodward is a director/actress who deals predominantly in theatre. She directed the last stage production we did, called ‘Stacy’. Jade Greyul is a director/actress/camerawoman who used to deal predominately with theatre, but now does a great amount of film work. She directed the last film which we did called ‘Coastal Shelf’. Ollie Kerswell is an actor/editor/cameraman and did the majority of the editing for ‘Coastal Shelf’. Although Ollie has been very strong on stage in the past, he looks most happy at the moment when sitting on his laptop, beautifully piecing the shots of film together. Joe Mckie is an actor/writer who wrote ‘Coastal Shelf’. Joe also wrote our current film. Joe’s last play went to Edinburgh last year and did very well. Joe Mellor is an actor/director who deals predominantly in theatre. he acted in ‘Stacy’ which got selected for National Student Drama Festival. He is currently acting in ‘Hello, my name is…’ and directing Helena Davies in our latest piece of theatre, ‘Hand Over Fist’.

Now that we have met the team behind Fresh Loaf, lets find out a bit about their productions…

Our last performance was called ‘Stacy’. It was written by Jack Thorne, who is an incredible playwright (he’s written for Shameless, Skins, This is England etc). This production was selected by National Student Drama Festival, which is a festival that showcases the ten ‘best’ productions nationally by a team under the age of 25. The response was passionate – people were definitely stirred by the piece.

One thing which did please us greatly, is that we won Spotlight’s ‘Best Actor’ award whilst we were there. So both myself and my director left very happy.

The second piece we developed  is a monologue called ‘Hand Over Fist’. This is a production part of the Greater Manchester Fringe Festival. This piece tells the story of a lady called Emily who is trying to fight through her Alzheimer’s to remember how her first love began. But, rather than it being depressing and emotive, it’s risky and darkly humorous. This one has been challenging for me as a director, as I really have to tread the line carefully with it being such a delicate issue.

Fresh Loaf’s first film, Coastal Shelf, was also premiered at the Cornerhouse earlier this year and it was described as a ‘triumph’. Therefore it is no surprise that it features in the team’s proudest achievements:

I think Joe, Ollie and Jade were most proud when their film, Coastal Shelf, was screened at the Cornerhouse to a full audience and incredible reviews.

I guess myself and Laura have been most proud that we won the ‘Best Actor’ award for Stacey. This was most definitely a team effort, as a monologue can only successfully work with a very strong actor/director relationship.

What are your hopes for the future?

Although we’re very please with what we’ve made, everything has been relatively small scale. Monologues are great but we want to do a large scale production with a large cast and larger budget. Therefore our hopes are to get some great reviews under our belt to make it easier to apply for Arts Council Funding.

We’re now on the radar for a few different theatres and companies (The Lowry, Slung Low, Transport, etc) so it would be great if they were to ask us to tour our work to their venues.

 

So what’s next for you guys?

At the moment we have a film called ‘Hello, my name is…’ This is a two minute short film for the Virgin Media competition!

 

So why not keep an eye out for the up and coming productions and films coming from Fresh Loaf? It’s great to find a group of people who are prepared to work 9-5 in order to fuel their passion for film and theatre. As they have started to establish contacts in the theatre world, perhaps through reading this article you will be encouraged to attend one of their shows and show your support? Either way, the next year looks extremely exciting for them.

 

Visit Fresh Loaf at:

The Fresh Loaf Website

Facebook

Or tweet them at @freshloafprods

Saint Raymond

Nottingham seems to be turning out artists by the dozen at the moment. A year ago we were introduced to the phenomenal Jake Bugg and in 2013, there appears to be a new contender for the most exciting up and coming act in Nottingham: Saint Raymond.

Saint Raymond creates the kind of music that you have probably been waiting for this summer. Music that makes you want to relax in your garden with a BBQ and some friends. Personally, I’ve been waiting to find music like this since early spring…it’s chilled out, and it’s also really, really good.

Saint Raymond’s musical taste ranges from House music, to Oasis, to Folk and those genres have encouraged him to create his own music. He started playing guitar at the age of seven, only taking it seriously a few years ago. Since then, Saint Raymond has started to write his own music and has gained the attention of many listeners. Fall At Your Feet, a summery and enjoyable track is a song that Saint Ramondis particularly proud of. He felt as though it ‘just clicked and felt right’. As a listener, it can be agreed that the song is certainly an excellent one and has earned him over 30,000 views on YouTube!

So far Saint Raymond’s biggest achievement has been releasing his EP Escapade and selling out a Nottingham show. It appears as though his work is finally gaining the recognition it deserves, and the release of his first album will be a dream come true to him.
So for now enjoy Saint Raymond’s EP and hopefully one day we will see him achieving his dream of playing the main stage at Glastonbury!

If you fancy giving Saint Raymond a watch, his tour dates are here, or why not check out his Youtube or Twitter?

Parklife

Parklife is one of the most exciting up and coming festivals in the North West. Not only does it showcase a wide variety of talent, it also has a tendency to scout out acts just before they break into the big time.

Parklife has been running for four years and started off as a festival catered for students that would coincide with the end of exams.  After outgrowing its original venue, Platt Fields Park in Fallowfield, this year generated even more excitement as the festival moved location to Manchester’s Heaton Park and promised to be bigger and better than ever.

What is special about Parklife is that it seems to have tremendous luck when it comes to finding exciting, up and coming acts. A year ago Parklife included bands such as Alt-J and solo artist Jessie Ware, both of whom became two of the UK’s fastest growing acts in 2012, achieving success both here and in America.

This year the festival really felt like it was uncovering exciting talent, especially with the introduction of AlunaGeorge, who have certainly come forwards leaps and bounds since being mentioned in this article at the beginning of the Born in Britain campaign! The festival may have grown bigger, but it doesn’t seem to have forgotten its roots in introducing new acts!

It’s always exciting to be able to uncover new music, and there’s nothing quite as great as being introduced to a festival that appears to have an eye on the artists that have the potential to break out in 2013. With a bit of luck, even more of Gola’s Born in Britain artists may pop up at Parklife in the years to come!

Mat Johns

Mat Johns

When Mat saw Terminator 2 at eight years old, he was suddenly hit with a desire to act, be a stuntman and do special effects. It was a few years later, after writing and directing films at college, that he realised what he really wanted to do.

Mat is a filmmaker in Manchester who first came into his own at age 17 when he had his film screened at an event that inspired him to keep on going. Now he has gone from self-made films, to collaborative films with amazing crews. Mat has started to learn that collaborating is what truly makes a great film and focuses on the writing, directing and editing – instead of taking up every single job! However, his ability to have expertise in different areas of film helps Mat’s films achieve greatness. He is particularly proud of Kiss: a film that brings together a loner and a sex worker under unusual circumstances and Run, the story of a man, Sam, who writes a letter home to his mother. His films are heart-rendering and dark. They draw the audience into the narrative, through complex layers, before spitting them back into the real world. The images are clear and crisp, beautifully edited. His films are truly works of art.

Mat has quite a few exciting projects coming up: from a film called Radio Silence – the story of a woman surviving at the end of the world with nothing but a CB radio; a film noir music video that was shot in Holland;  3 sixteen second shorts for Four4 competition and a VMS entry called ‘When I’m 64’. With all of this on the horizon, it’s easy to see where Mat’s success is coming from!

Mat’s ambition is explained best by himself, ‘My biggest ambition is to direct truly cinematic films that have all the bells and whistles of a high-end production but with wonderful, engaging stories at their core. I am fascinated by the schizophrenic nature of beauty and violence and how they live side by side in the same world… I want to make films that reflect that.’

It is so very often that we see films that appear fantastic but have no heart. Mat’s films are different from this and perfect the art of storytelling. It will be exciting to see where he ends up in the next few years, and hopefully we will be seeing films that are beautiful from the screen down to their very core!

 

KRD – graphic design

It’s always exciting to find someone who is both professional and has fresh ideas when it comes to graphic design, and with Kathryn, Gola has been lucky enough to find both of these things.

‘To me, graphic design is everything really…it’s everything I do, and everything I will do’

Passion like this is Kathryn Davies down to a tee. Full of knowledge, excitement and drive when it comes to graphic design. She’s currently in the second year of her degree at Northumbria and spends a huge amount of time perfecting her art, ‘I practically live in the studio, and find any excuse to take a trip into the print room!’.

Kathryn describes herself as, ‘ginger by choice and obsessed with the printed word’. She was raised in Rochdale, and with both her parents being graphic designers, it is little surprise that she has turned out the same way, believing that ‘it must be in the genes’. Kathryn’s skill in publication is impressive and eye catching.  She is not just someone with a hobby or a passion – she is someone who knows exactly what she is doing, and her art reflects that.

Kathryn has a huge span of knowledge when it comes to graphic design, and is particulaly interested in Victorian typefaces. She enjoys working with people and bouncing ideas around in order to achieve fantastic results.

Kathryn’s dream is to design her own typeface, one that becomes a staple of any typographers arsenal and to work in the graphic department of films such as Harry Potter.

In a world where we are met with graphic design all the time, it is refreshing to meet someone with a real and raw talent, and it will be exciting to hear more from her in the future!

If you want to see more of Kathryn’s work, click here!

Hannah Grace

I was first introduced to Hannah’s music just a few weeks ago, as I walked into a gig only to be met with the sound of a quite excellent voice. My friend turned to me and said, ‘she’s really good!’ – and she was right. Hannah was impressive, and stood out. I took it upon myself to have a look at her youtube as soon as I returned home, and was faced with some fantastic music.

At just 19 years old, Hannah Grace has recently taken part in her first ever UK tour supporting Gabrielle Aplin (who you might remember from this article last year!).After traveling through the country and performing excellently every night, she has come back with even more drive, ‘I loved singing every night…I know now that it’s DEFINITELY what I want to do for a living’.

Hannah’s voice has great control and is a delight to listen to.  As well as writing her own songs, she’s also studying Jazz, which probably contributes to her style and love of covering artists such as Etta James…and it is Etta James that has lead to her most successful Youtube video. With almost 20,000 views, her cover of ‘I’d Rather Go Blind’, is both soulful and enjoyably classy. She sings with a maturity far beyond her years and the depth of her voice is reminiscent of Eva Cassidy.

Hannah can remember loving music for as long as she can remember, knowing that the Postman Pat theme tune was the first song she ever sang at age two. Now, of course, she’s singing to a rather different tune. Her YouTube Channel has over a thousand subscribers and I suspect that number will be increasing rapidly over the coming months.

Over the course of this year Hannah is getting ready for the release of her first EP (a process that she describes as ‘writing writing writing and preparing.’). With the excitement of this on the horizon she’s already beginning to look into a future when she will be able to write and sing songs, whilst still feeling happy in herself.

So why not check out some exciting new music? Meanwhile we’ll be sat impatiently waiting the release of her EP!

 

Connect with Hannah Grace on Twitter, Facebook and Youtube.

Loud George

Loud George is a punk band comprising of members, Sam, Eric and Nick that originated in Crewe in 2012. It all started when Sam and Nick started to talk about making a band that they wanted to sound ‘loud’ and ‘angry’. They remembered that their friend Eric had recently mentioned doing something similar and asked him to join them. Then they got together and spent four hours making music, a feat that continued for four days straight. The final ingredient – the name ‘Loud George’ came into being after Sam’s girlfriend muttered the phrase while sleeping.

Loud George create a kind of music that has started to fade away, and it’s fantastic to see something coming up on the punk scene. The band describe themselves as being ‘all about the live performance’ with their energetic drumming, hard knuckle bass and big, filthy guitar sound. They enjoy compromising their singing between soft and intimate moments to harsh screams.

The difference between the boy’s singing abilities means that their music is an interesting mix between, punk, jazz and funk fusion. Causing for an excellent live show.

Loud George are now about to do their first tour through the UK, playing dates in Crewe, Manchester, Stockport, Birmingham and even Bristol. Futhermore, they are giving away their second EP for free at every gig, meaning that audiences can bring the music home with them.

The punk scene seems to have faded away in the last few years, and it’s exciting to see a band that are dedicated to resurrecting it.

He is a Pegasus: David Butler

David Butler, or ‘He is a Pegasus’ comprises solely of a twenty-one year old man, his guitar and a laptop. He is often found at open mic nights in Manchester, playing atmospheric music that impressively captures the audience.

David started out playing drums when he was nine years old, influenced by Travis Barker from Blink 182. The more that he listened to music, the more he got into it, playing guitar and learning to sing.

David believes that it was his dad that first got him well and truly into music, as he is a huge Pink Floyd fan and their music introduced David to the kind of over the top sound that he now creates himself. David started off playing the drums after listening to Travis Barker playing in Blink 182 and went on to play guitar, sing and write his own music.

It was when David got into Jeff Buckley that he realised how much potential there is in performing alone and so grew from that. He lists his influences as Muse, Queen, Pink Floyd but then counters them with bands such as Radiohead, understanding that size, spectacle and musical freedom can make a huge difference to what he can achieve. He wants to create music that would would effect an audience whether it is in a huge festival or a tiny cafe.

So far, David’s biggest achievement has been headlining with his band in a tent at one of the biggest free festivals in the UK. After that, David decided to go solo, describing that he has ‘just tried to go bigger, and better, every time’. He now produces and mixes everything he records on his laptop,using the technology to help him recreate his songs live. His music has a fantastic atmosphere to it, reminiscent of Bon Iver . Although he is alone, he can successfully capture the attention of everyone in the room – an impressive feat when playing at open mic nights with critiquing audiences.

In the future David wants to be making waves and to define a generation of music – being average is not part of his plan of action. Considering his musical ability and talent, this dream does not seem at all off the mark.

To listen to David’s music, check out his soundcloud here!

Gaggle

Gaggle comprises of 20 women, in a choir that makes you aware they’re something special within moments of walking on the stage. They wear robes and strange hats, they care about feminism and create a kind of music that is incredibly unusual.

In terms of presentation, it could be considered that Gaggle are creating a kind of theatrical music. The way they present themselves on stage is almost like a west-end musical- a bright array of colours, robes, hats and an atmosphere that is entirely odd. I personally believe after listening to them that recording Gaggle doesn’t do the band justice. Seeing them live, where their sound has space to reverberate around a room, they sound far more impressive.

You see, Gaggle don’t ‘sing’ in the usual sense of the word. Instead they use sound in an almost medieval way, chanting and incarnating in a way that creates a huge mass of sound. They are strident feminists and their passion shows very much in the content of their music.

Therefore maybe the best thing to do when listening to Gaggle is to go in with an open mind – for in terms of the sounds they make and the design of the costumes, they are something entirely different. Their performance is enjoyable and artistically they offer something that has not been explored before now.

CCKT

CCKT is a fashion line that was born in Newry and is now based in London. They are inspired by contributing artists from around the world, who provide them with unique artwork that is displayed through their collections.

Creators Cecilia and Katie began CCKT when they were around fifteen years old and it has been growing successfully ever since. The name is a clever combination of their nicknames pushed together.

They are known for attending events such as Bread and Butter, the Berlin Fashion Tradeshow that is known for displaying original up and coming fashion – particularly fashion that has a strong brand culture and philosophy.

What makes CCKT exciting is the fact that they are so open to artist involvement, inviting artists from around the world to print their work on CCKT’s range of t-shirts, vests and jumpers. At the moment they have artists from France, U.S.A and Australia designing work for them, whilst other artists are closer to home in London.

CCKT are beginning to grow bigger – one of their jumpers was spotted being sported by none other than Fearne Cotton last year on the cover of Star TV and they have also been featured in GQ.

With such a unique company mission and collaboration with artists, it will certainly be interesting to see where CCKT end up in the next few years!