This month sees us launch an exciting new project that we’ve been working on with some of the artists that you’ll have seen at events and activities in your local libraries.  At Home With Our Artists has allowed us to continue working with artists to deliver high-quality art sessions from their homes to yours. We feel that it is vital for us and other organisations to find ways to keep working with our creatives and help them find new ways to deliver exciting projects in the middle of this changing landscape we all find ourselves. Darren from Longsight Library has supported the artists in this project producing beautifully edited videos of their sessions.

Each artist’s art session will be accompanied by a short interview, about the kinds of projects they work on and how they have been finding their way through lockdown and the changes it has brought.

The artist’s sessions will add to our Crafty Tuesdays project which has been delivering craft sessions by library staff and volunteers every Tuesday morning at 11 am through our Facebook and YouTube pages. The artist sessions will be released every other Tuesday. The first session came out as part of our Refugee Week activities and came from Syrian artist Manya Alkhiri. Manya showed us how to make hand-printed cards using styrofoam from leftover fast food packaging.

The 6 artists that we have worked with on this series can be seen below. Each week that they are released we will add their interview and video link here:

Manya Alkhiri, Hand Printed Cards (Tuesday 16 June)

Fiona Smith – Drawing With Scissors (Tuesday 30 June)

Simone Frater-Russell, Weaving A Wall Hanging (Tuesday 14 July)

Miriam Wild , A House For A Mouse (Tuesday 28 July)

Mandy Cleveland, Dip & Dye Bunting (Tuesday 11 August)

Caroline Coates, (something fantastic to be decided) (Tuesday 25 August)

Manya Alkhari studied sculpture at the High Institute of Applied Arts in Damascus, Syria. After spending some time as a sculptor there she came to Manchester University and obtained a degree in contemporary art practice. She works in many mediums and enjoys exploring different materials, with wood as her favourite. Nature is her main source of inspiration with all of its textures and colours, through which she expresses her feelings.
In 2017 she joined the Syrian festival to deliver two workshops, something she did again in 2018 and 2020.

Manya joined a group of international women artists based in Manchester in 2018 and delivered more projects with them. She was thrilled to be part of Alice Kettle’s Thread Bearing Witness project at the Whitworth Art Gallery in 2018. She has worked on multiple other projects since with many other artists.
Manya started working with Manchester Libraries this year when she delivered a clay portrait workshop at International Mother Language Day celebrations at Longsight Library.

She has also been working recently on a project in support of PETA, and worked on a set of workshops to be delivered in schools for universal Children’s Day.
The arrival of lockdown has had a huge effect on all aspects of her work. She has lost access to her University workspace. For this reason the chance to work again with libraries on delivering a workshop has been very welcome.
Manya’s Printing with Styrofoam craft session.