Nell Smith is one of Manchester's finest printers and we're lucky to have her skills on board at Ministry of Craft. She's been teaching with us since the very beginning and, in fact, her screen printing course was the first course we ever taught back in 2009.
Her eye for colour and design is second to none and her fantastic range of prints and clothing can be found at nellclothing.co.uk. Her amazing expertise allows Ministry customers to go away with the skills to try printing - often for the first time - on their kitchen table and turn their own ideas into perfect prints.
What first drew you to your craft ?
I've always loved drawing and all things arty, I first screenprinted at college and fell in love with it!
What’s your crafting background?
I'm a tenant at the wonderful Manchester Craft and Design Centre. I've been running my own business from there for the past 6 years.
Did you train professionally or are you self taught?
I trained professionally – I have a degree in Printed Textiles and Surface Pattern Design from Leeds College of Art and Design. I moved to Machester to complete my Masters in Textiles just after my degree.
What are your main sources of inspiration?
Japanese cartoons, Scandinavian design and the natural world, especially strange and curious creatures! I've recently started some more experimental work based on geometric drawings, which is pretty exciting.
Who’s been the biggest influence on your career so far?
Hmm, that's a tricky one. I think that support from various teachers, tutors, family members and friends has influenced me the most and encouraged me through tough times.
What’s the best thing about being a crafter?
Being self-employed, creating things everyday, having the satisfaction of people admiring and buying my work!
Do you do any other crafts in your spare time, apart from what you specialise in?
I draw all the time, but I don't really do any other crafts. I'm all about the two-dimensional world, so perhaps it's time to push myself to learn knitting or crochet!
What’s the best thing you’ve ever made?
One of my most favourite things I made recently was a glow in the dark Yeti t-shirt! So much fun to design and print. I make new work all the time, so my favourites change constantly.
Have you ever made a creative mistake?
All the time! Printmaking can be a messy business, you have to learn to either work with the mess or be very annoyed a lot of the time.
What’s you favourite crafty anecdote / story?
I once saw Grayson Perry walking down the street wearing tracky bottoms! His studio is near my sister's house in london.
Where can we see or buy your work?
My studio at Manchester Craft and Design Centre, Fig and Sparrow on Oldham Street, Chirpy in Leeds and online via Not on the High Street and other websites.
What have you got coming up in the future?
I have just got a closed studio at Hot Bed Press in Salford, so I am planning on spending the Summer experimenting with print processes and making new work.
You can find Nell at www.nellclothing.co.uk, on twitter, or nellsmith.blogspot.co.uk. She also sells her work at the Manchester Craft and Design Centre, so pop in to see her soon. OR come and learn to print with Nell at Ministry of Craft, check out our forthcoming courses here.