Wild in Art's 50 Windows of Creativity

Jessie Leong

As part of the Wild in Art 50 Windows of Creativity, Meha recently created three pieces to celebrate Greater Manchester in all its glory.

About the exhibition
Created by Wild in Art and supported by Manchester City Council, 50 Windows of Creativity is an exhibition displaying art - whether that’s ceramics or crafts, mosaics or murals - in windows and spaces around the city. Like Meha, each artist is connected to Greater Manchester. The art trail will help to support the city’s art and creative community, its businesses and cultural venues at a time when they need it the most.

A selection of the pieces will also be auctioned, with proceeds going to their artists and makers as well as The Lord Mayor of Manchester Charity Appeal Trust - We Love MCR Charity.

Pieces are on display until 5th December as part of the exhibition. 


About Meha’s pieces
Each of Meha’s pieces are kindly sponsored by TFGM, with various nods to transport included in the drawings. Meha’s pieces can also be purchased here, on our website, either individually or as a set of three. 

Northern Quarter and Ancoats
Discover the Northern Quarter and Ancoats’ past and present with this skyline piece. Known as the “the world’s first industrial suburb”, Meha pays homage to Ancoats’ industrial past with its cotton mills. Manchester’s Cottonopolis is now home to some of the city’s best eateries and independents with a backdrop of the colourful murals of Pichi & Avo and Dale Grimshaw. Available to buy from £20.

 


Canal Street
With recognition to Alan Turing to Emmeline Pankhurst alongside The Whitworth, Manchester Town Hall and the Manchester Museum, the skyline of Canal Street demonstrates the history and heritage the city has to offer. But let’s not forget the tribute to the city’s food either with the inclusion of the Vimto bottle and Hatch, the destination for independent eateries, breweries and retailers. Available to buy from £20.

 

Spinningfields & Deansgate

Standing tall in the centre, the eye is immediately drawn to Meha’s drawing of Manchester Cathedral. But spot the cultural venues included too, from the likes of The Portico Library, the Opera House and Royal Exchange. With its rich history, the addition of Chetham’s Library, the meeting place of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels in 1845, is also a must. More modern features include the Tower of Light, Printworks and of course, arguably the nation’s favourite soap opera, Coronation Street. Available to buy from £20.

 

To find out more about 50 Windows of Creativity, click here

Read more →

5 Years of MehaArt

Adam Holcroft

MehaArt turns 5 this year and to celebrate this big Birthday we're taking a look back over the past 5 years and how the business came to be where it is today.

2015

Manchester Skyline Print

2015 saw Meha create the first of her now signature skyline designs, and of course she had to start off with Manchester! Featuring many of Manchester's most recognisable landmarks this design has constantly evolved over the last 5 years to include new buildings as they pop up.

Meha also introduced her Didsbury and Industrial Manchester skylines in the first year of MehaArt.

2016

Manchester Creative Studio mural

In 2016, Meha took on her first mural commissions, including a large scale version of her Industrial Manchester design, at the Manchester Creative Studio.

MehaArt Website Launch

October 2016 saw Meha take the leap to launching the MehaArt website, which remains largely unchanged to this day. You can see what the website looked like on the day it launched above!

Manchester Skyline Mug

2016 also saw Meha take part in the Manchester Christmas Markets for the first time, and as a result her Manchester Skyline mug featured in Manchester Confidential's Christmas Market Gift Guide.

2017

Newcastle Skyline Design

In 2017 Meha teamed up with Newcastle department store Fenwicks to create the Newcastle skyline range. The design is now available on mugs, aprons, tea towels, coasters, and more!

Manchester Skyline Gin Glass

Meha's now super popular gin glasses first appeared in 2017 too, with the first design featuring buildings from Manchester's famous skyline including the Beetham Tower, Manchester Cathedral, and the National Football Museum.

2018

2018 proved to be a busy year for MehaArt starting with features in both Olive food magazine and Living North, and even sneaking onto Coronation Street where Meha's black and white Manchester Skyline print was spotted on the walls of the factory!

Airlite TedEx Event

July 2018 saw Meha collaborate with paint manufacturer Airlite to produce an interactive skyline piece at TedEx London which highlighted their air purifying paints.

Bee in the City

Also in July, Meha took part in the amazing Bee in the City trail, decorating one of the giant fibreglass bees with her colourful Manchester skyline design. The bees were ultimately auctioned off to raise money for the We Love MCR Charity’s Stronger Communities fund with Meha's bee raising an incredible £10,000.

Essen und Trinken magazine feature

2018 also saw MehaArt go international with a feature in German food magazine, Essen und Trinken, who shared Meha's Berlin tea towel design.

2019

Meha Hindocha | Home is Where the Art Is

In April 2019 Meha took part in BBC One's 'Home is Where the Art Is', a show where artists create a personalised commission for a mystery buyer.

Meha created a collection of pieces for Manchester couple Ben and Marc designed to capture their love of the city and its heritage.

You can find all of the pieces Meha created for Home is Where the Art Is on the website here.

July 2019 saw Meha's MCR Hidden Stories murals get underway, a collaboration with NOMA and the Old Bank Residency, this was a project designed to capture the stories of Manchester which are often forgotten.

The MCR Hidden Stories mural is Meha's largest to date, covering over 40 boards which will be used around the NOMA neighbourhood.

Liverpool Art Book featuring Meha Hindocha's Liverpool Skyline

October saw the launch of the Liverpool Art Book which features Meha's black and white Liverpool Skyline design. You can order the book online from Amazon here.

Skyline Workshops

The first of Meha's skyline workshops launched in December 2019 at the annual Etsy Made Local: Manchester pop-up event at the People's History Museum. Guided by Meha, attendees created their own interpretation of the Manchester skyline using personal stories to guide their design.

2020

January 2020 started out with Meha's Manchester Skyline print Music Edition being selected for the first Manchester Open, an exhibition celebrating the creative talent of Greater Manchester residents.

In February of this year Meha sat on a panel at the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce's Business Women's Network Summit, where she discussed entrepreneurship and building a brand.

Wome's Business Summit Chamber of Commerce

And that brings us right up to the present day!

We're excited to see what the rest of 2020 brings (after the chaos of Corona!!) and look forward to the next 5 years of MehaArt too.

Read more →

International Women's Day 2020: 3 Inspirational Female Artists

Adam Holcroft

Celebrated for well over a century on the 8th March each year, International Women's Day (or IWD) is a day focussed on celebrating the achievements of women around the world. IWD also provides a platform to reflect on the inequality women experience, to call for change, and to raise awareness of bias against women.

To celebrate this year's International Women's Day I'm sharing just three of my favourite female artists with you.

Votes For Women | International Womens Day 2020
Votes for Women – Matt Print by Meha Hindocha

Emily Lamb

Emily Lamb describes herself as a 'Painter and traveller connecting people to the wilderness …'. Her work focuses on the natural world, with bold, expressive depictions of wildlife intended to draw attention to the plights of endangered species and communities in Africa.

In 2019, Emily was the first artist in residence at Angama Mara, a stunning safari lodge above the Maasai Mara game reserve in Kenya. Whilst there she painted 17 pieces which were raised $12,000 for the Angama Foundation in just 10 days.

Emily describes her style as an attempt to "translate the places, people and creatures of Africa into a medium that can communicate the beauty and emotion that the continent evokes..".

One of her most recent projects is the Daily Sketch for Wildlife series where she created a sketch a day for 400 days, selling the pieces for £100 each with 100% of the proceeds going to wildlife charities. You can see the full range of sketches on her Instagram here.

Victo Ngai

Victo Ngai is an LA based illustrator originally from Hong Kong whose work is inspired by comic book drawings, Japanese painters, and classic children's book illustrations. Ngai creates her pieces using pen for the line work, various mediums to create textures, such as acrylic or oil pastels, before finally using Photoshop to digitally colour the artwork.

Mixc World Launch - Victo Ngai

Her illustrations combine intricate, highly detailed line work with skewed perspective and limited colour palettes to create pieces which take the viewer to a place of fantasy.

Ngai's work can be seen in newspapers and magazines, on packaging and advertisements, in books, and as storyboards for animations. Her clients have including The New York Times, Penguin Random House, Dreamworks, and Apple.

Tough Choice - I's necessary to give up one to gain another,
PLANSPONSOR, AD: SooJin Buzelli

Ngai has also taught at the New York School of Visual Arts, The Illustration Academy, and gives guest lectures at universities and art schools around the world. Her most recent achievement saw her awarded the Hamilton King Award, for excellence in illustration, by the Society of Illustrators.

"My sister powers the world", General Electric, AD: Eric Goldstein

Swoon - Caledonia Curry

Photo Courtesy of Bryan Derballa

Caledonia Curry, better known in the art world as Swoon, is a Brooklyn based street artist who specialises in large scale paper cut-outs of human figures. She began using the name Swoon when her then-boyfriend had a dream about the two of them doing graffiti together where she tagged her work with the pseudonym.

Interestingly, using the genderless nickname resulted in people expecting Swoon to be a man, a not unexpected assumption in the male dominated world of street art. Caledonia now sees 'Swoon' as more of a concept, embodying her belief that the combination of dedication and creativity can create “cracks in the facades of impossibility and inevitability”.

The Canyon: 1999 - 2017

Caledonia’s process involves creating her signature large human forms on recycled papers, which can take weeks to paint and cut, before glueing them to derelict buildings, street signs, and other blank walls using wheat paste.

Her work is inspired by fairy tales, myths, and sacred femininity, as well as a desire to create portraits which capture the essence of a person or community.

The Road Home

What started out as a two month project of portraits has now seen Swoon continue her work for over 10 years, with pieces appearing in the São Paulo Museum of Art, the Tate Modern, and New York’s Museum of Modern Art amongst others. Her most recent practice has seen her exploring more visual storytelling through the use of film animation.

Moni and the Sphinx, (Teal) 2018

There are so many more fantastic female artists who I could have featured in this post, these are just three of the incredible artists who inspire me to keep creating.

Read more →

Why is Paris known as the City of Love?

Adam Holcroft

Mention that you're thinking of going on a romantic getaway and the first place that comes to mind is Paris, but why exactly is this popular destination known as the City of Love? Read on to find out...

The Architecture

Of course the most romantic part of Paris has to be the magnificent Tour de Eiffel, with it's grand wrought iron tower and sparkling lights illuminating the night sky. This famous landmark is a popular proposal spot with an impressive one in 679 proposals taking place there.

As well as the Eiffel Tower, the streets of Paris are lined with more examples of architecture such as the stunning Notre Dame Cathedral, the iconic Arc de Triomphe, and the gothic Sainte-Chapelle, all adding to the romance of the city.

Photo by Chris Coudron on Unsplash

The City of Lights

Another of Paris' nicknames is the City of Light and you can see why when the sun sets and the illuminated buildings and bridges come to life. The twinkling lights of more than 296 statues, monuments, churches, and hotels create the perfect atmosphere for a romantic stroll along the river Seine.

Fun Fact: The name actually comes from Paris being one of the first cities in Europe to have street lighting, the result of Louis XIV and the Lieutenant General of Police, Gabriel Nicolas de la Reynie, wanting to gain trust from the public by creating safer streets in the capital.

The Language & Culture

Originating from Latin, French is considered one of the most romantic languages in the world and is often dubbed “the language of love”. One of the reasons for this is that French requires you to drop the consonant at the end of a word, removing the harsher sound and creating a smoother, more free flowing language.

Paris has also long been associated with extravagance, from the afore mentioned architecture, to fine art, music, and fashion. Visiting the city's many world-renowned museums, art galleries, and fashion houses is a must, and makes for a picture perfect romantic date.

Fun Fact: According to a survey by Google Translate, French is the language most often used to translate romantic expressions.

Photo by Luca Micheli on Unsplash

The Food

If the way to the heart is truly through the stomach then Paris, and it's 40,000 restaurants, must guarantee true love. For the French, enjoying good food is a way of life, encouraging people to come together and 'enjoy the art of good eating and drinking’.

With elegant fine dining and cosy cafe's on every street corner, Paris is the perfect place to spend a romantic evening indulging in gastronomic delights and fine wines.

Fun Fact: In France, people eat an estimated 500,000,000 snails per year.

Paris Whiskey Tumbler

Looking for a gift to remember the City of Romance? You can see our Paris Skyline gin glass here and our Paris glass tumbler here.

Read more →

Up Close: York Skyline

Adam Holcroft
Known for its famous architecture such as York Minster, Castle Howard, and the City Walls, York is a city bursting with history making it the perfect place to feature on our Skyline Glassware. Read on for a full rundown of each York landmark to make it on to our balloon gin glass and whiskey tumbler.

National Railway Museum

The award winning National Railway Museum houses Britain's largest collection of railway memorabilia and began in 1948 when British Railways inherited the collections of rail companies. With over 6000 objects on display, 100 of which are locomotives, the museum attracts a huge number of visitors each year with 782,000 people visiting in the 2018/19 season. Some of the historic vehicles on display include a Japanese bullet train, the beautiful Art Deco Duchess of Hamilton locomotive, and the world's fastest steam locomotive, the Mallard. RANDOM FACT: The Museum's library contains over 20,000 books and over a million photographs, covering every area of the history of the British railways.

Holgate Windmill

Built in 1770 by miller George Waud, Holgate Windmill is the oldest surviving 5-sailed windmill in the country. Perched overlooking the hamlet of Holgate, the mill was perfectly placed to allow local farmers to transport grain to the windmill and for Wauld to provide high quality flour to the city of York. The windmill remained in production until the early 1930’s and despite many attempts to restore it, became neglected, eventually leading to the development of a housing estate around the windmill. Following the creation of the Holgate Windmill Preservation Society in 2001, the mill has been fully restored and continues to produce stone-ground flour to this day. Remarkably, 2020 will see the windmill marking its 250th anniversary!

St Mary's Abbey

Once known as the richest abbey in Northern England, the Grade I listed St. Mary’s Abbey is a Benedictine monastery first built in 1088 on the North bank of the River Ouse. York Gin Glass

York Minster

Regarded as one of the world’s most beautiful cathedrals, the history of York Minster stretches back over 2,000 years to Roman York and the birth of modern day Christianity. The cathedral is home to more medieval stained glass than anywhere in the country and features stunning examples of gothic architecture and medieval stonework. Climb the 275 steps to the top of the Central Tower and you’ll find yourself at the highest point in York with spectacular views across the city and beyond. The Minster remains a thriving church to this day with daily prayer and worship taking place. If you’d like to visit the Minster, tours run from Monday to Saturday between 10am and 3pm.

Guy Fawkes Inn

We’ve all heard of the infamous Gun Powder plot of November 5th 1605 but did you know that Guy Fawkes was born in York? Guido Fawkes was born in a medieval inn that stands just a stone's throw from York Minster on 13th April 1570 before being baptised at the St Michael Le Belfrey Anglican church just across the street. From humble beginnings in York he went on to become the most famous conspirator of the Gunpowder Plot, a failed attempt to blow up the houses of parliament and everyone inside, including King James I. The birthplace of Fawkes is beautifully preserved and now runs as a 4 star hotel and restaurant, the perfect spot for a tasty meal at the end of a busy day exploring the city. RANDOM FACT: During his involvement in the Gunpowder Plot, Fawkes gave his name as John Johnson when arrested by the police.

Skeldergate Bridge

Built between 1878 and 1881, Skeldergate Bridge is a Grade II listed building which links York Castle to Bishophill. It was designed by civil engineer George Gordon Page in a Gothic Revival style, inspired by medieval architecture. The bridge, together with its attached tollhouse, features beautiful examples of Gothic architecture including the cast iron parapet decorated with six-pointed stars, trefoils, and the icon of York, a white rose. The bridge was last opened in 1975 and the winding mechanism is no longer in use.

York Racecourse

Having won the Flat Racecourse of the Year Award for the fourth year, York Racecourse is known as one of the best race tracks in Europe. The course attracts over 350,000 racegoers each year and is the third biggest racecourse in Britain in regards to the total prize money on offer. The track hosts three of the UK’s biggest races, the Juddmonte International Stakes, the Nunthorpe Stakes, and the Yorkshire Oaks as well as Europe’s premier handicap race, the Ebor Handicap. RANDOM FACT: York Racecourse has hosted many distinguished visitors, including Pope John Paul II, who said open-air mass there during his visit to the UK in 1982. York Whiskey Tumbler

Jorvik Viking Centre

During an archaeological dig between 1976 and 1981, members of the York Archaeological Trust discovered remnants of the Viking city of Jorvik encased in wet-mud beneath the Coppergate site. Regarded as one of the biggest discoveries of modern archaeology, the Jorvik Viking Centre stands on the exact site where the excavations took place. The museum transports you back to 10th century York with a variety of displays reconstructing Viking-age shops, markets, and street scenes. The latest attraction is an immersive ride experience which takes you on a Viking adventure exploring the people and places of Jorvik. Jorvik Viking Centre is open from 10am daily and is the perfect destination for a family friendly day out in York. RANDOM FACT: Vikings take their name from the area known as Viki in Oslo Fjord – an area renowned for its pirate raiders.

Castle Howard

Castle Howard is a stately home found just outside of York which took over 100 years to complete. The stunning private residence features 1000 acres of land incorporating beautiful woodlands, formal gardens, and numerous lakes. With its incredible architecture, interiors, and world-renowned art collections, it’s easy to spend an entire day discovering the delights of this historic home. Castle Howard remains a family home to this day and has been so for the past 300 years. RANDOM FACT: Castle Howard isn’t actually a castle, in this case ‘castle’ is used to refer to an English country house built upon the site of a former military castle.

Clifford's Tower

Clifford's Tower is the only remaining part of York Castle, first built in 1086 by William the Conqueror. Over time, the castle and tower were rebuilt many times, with the current tower dating back to the 13th century where it is thought to have been used as a treasury or jail. A climb up to Clifford's Tower will see you rewarded with amazing panoramic views of the city and surrounding countryside. RANDOM FACT: The tower got its current name in 1322 when Roger de Clifford was executed for treason by hanging in chains from the tower walls.

York Castle Museum

York Castle Museum is home to thousands of historic artefacts which recreate the daily life of York over the past 400 years. Interactive life-size reconstructions include everything from family homes and shops, to the cell where famous highwayman Dick Turpin spent his last night before being executed. Located in a Grade I listed 18th century prison, York Castle Museum is a great place to visit as a family, kids get free entry with a paying adult!

York City Walls

At 3.4km long, York's City Walls, also known as 'Bar Walls', are the longest and most complete medieval city walls remaining in England today. The walls consist of five main ‘bars’ or gateways, one Victorian gateway, and 45 towers. They were first erected by the Romans in 71AD before being improved by the Vikings in 867AD, and upgraded to stone in 1226. Today, the walls are Grade 1 listed and attract over a million people to the city every year. A full circuit will take you around 2 hours but there are lots of gaps along the route giving you plenty of opportunity to take a break to enjoy the rest of York’s incredible historic sights. RANDOM FACT: All together, the walls weigh approximately 100,000 tonnes! You can see our York gin glass here and our glass tumbler here.

Read more →

Manchester's Hidden Stories - Industrial Beginnings

Adam Holcroft
Continuing our discovery of the stories behind the people and places featured in the #MCRHiddenStories mural, this blog takes a look at some of the businesses, big and small, established in the city.

MCR Hidden Stories | Rolls Royce

Rolls Royce

Did you know that one of the most famous car brands in the world started right here in Manchester? It all began in 1904 when Henry Royce, founder of F.H. Royce and Company based in the city, decided to move on from making electrical fittings and start making motor cars. His first car was the two-cylinder Royce 10, and it was this motor that was pitched to car dealership owner Charles Rolls. Their first meeting took place at the Midland Hotel, on Peter Street, on the 4th of May 1904. Thoroughly impressed by the Royce 10, in December of the same year, Rolls agreed to take all of the cars Royce could make. Through Royce’s engineering expertise and Roll’s experience in the automobile trade, the first Rolls-Royce car, the Rolls-Royce 10 hp, was unveiled at the Paris Salon in December 1904. The pair went on to establish Rolls-Royce Limited in 1906 and the rest, as they say, is history! Top Tip: If you’re ever near the Midland, be sure to head up the steps and on the right you’ll find a sculpture and plaque dedicated to the meeting of Rolls and Royce.

MCR Hidden Stories | Albert Jones

Albert Jones

An example of a small, purpose-built warehouse, this former textile factory has remained pretty much unaltered since it was first built in 1860. Found on Richmond Street in the Northern Quarter, it was first a shirt factory until 1946 when Albert Jones Textiles took it over. It’s still used by for the textile industry to this day and is currently owned by a Lebanese family. Thanks goes to Skyliner Manchester for bringing the Albert Jones story to our attention.

MCR Hidden Stories | Ho's Bakery

Ho's Bakery

A family-run Chinese Bakery, Ho’s is well known in Manchester as the place to go for home-cooked cakes, traditional Chinese sweets, and dumplings. Found on the corner of the famous square by the Chinese Arch in Manchester’s China Town, Ho’s has been a Manchester institution since it first opened in 1980. Now run by the third generation of the Ho family, the bakery specialises in traditional Hong Kong style sweet and savoury patisseries such as Sweet Melon Cake, Pork Dumplings, and our personal favourite, the irresistible Honey Bun’s. They also offer a range of celebration cakes, all of which are suitable for vegetarians. Inside you’ll find a few tables to eat at however if the temperamental Manc weather is uncharacteristically sunny, we’d recommend eating outside on the pagoda-topped benches to really soak up the atmosphere of China Town.

MCR Hidden Stories | Shudehill Mill

Shudehill Mill

Shudehill Mill, also known as Simpsons Mill, was a five storey mill built in 1782 by inventor and entrepreneur, Richard Arkwright and his partners. Found between Miller Street and Angel Street, the mill is considered the first powered textile factory in Manchester. Originally, the mill was designed to be powered by a Newcomen (fuel-burning) engine, but for unknown reasons, this did not come to fruition and the steam-powered textile mill was born, paving the way for Manchester to become an industrial powerhouse. Unfortunately the mill was badly damaged by fire in 1854 and had to be rebuilt before being completely demolished in 1940, following damage as a result of the Manchester Blitz. As images of Shudehill Mill itself are hard to come by, Meha has created this board in the style of L. S. Lowry, inspired by his work which depicted industrial Northern life and often featured mills similar to Shudehill. ______________________________________________________________________________ To stay up to date with the progress of the #MCRHiddenStories mural, be sure to follow Meha on Instagram here.

Read more →

Manchester's Hidden Stories - Spectacular Scientists

Adam Holcroft
Next up in Meha’s #MCRHiddenStories mural in collaboration with NOMA Manchester and The Old Bank Residency are a series of boards exploring the stories of inspiring scientist’s. Read on to find out more about Balloonist James Sadler, Physicist Professor Brian Cox, and Botanist Kathleen Drew-Baker.

MCR Hidden Stories | James Sadler

James Sadler

A pastry chef from Oxford, James Sadler was a celebrity of 1780’s Britain, after he became the first ever Englishman to fly. Inspired by Joseph and Etienne Mongolfier, the French brothers who first conquered flight, Sadler began experimenting with gas filled balloons and made his first flight in 1784. At a time when knowledge about our skies was lacking, people were concerned that Sadler may collide with Heaven, or be attacked by ‘sky dragons’. Thankfully this didn’t happen and he took off from Oxford, flying for 30 minutes, and covering six miles before landing in Wood Eaton. Following his first flight, Sadler became a huge celebrity, with memorabilia from drawer knobs to bidet’s featuring his image. He became so famous in fact, that he, and three of his balloon’s, were given top billing at the 1814 jubilee at the personal request of the Royal family. So, what connects Sadler to Manchester? Two of Sadler’s further attempts at balloon flight took off in the city, with the first, from the garden of one John Howarth, in Long Millgate, watched by a crowd of over 5,000 people. The flight was a success and saw Sadler, with a cat for company, flying seven miles north to Radcliffe where he promptly landed in a reed bed. Named after Sadler, you’ll find Manchester’s newest public square, Sadler’s Yard in the cities Northern Quarter as part of the NOMA Manchester neighbourhood.

MCR Hidden Stories | Professor Brian Cox

Brian Cox

Known for revitilising the British public’s interest in Physics, Professor Brian Cox credits his love of the subject to Carl Sagan’s book ‘Cosmos’. Born in Oldham in 1968, Cox’s early years were spent dreaming of space travel, before his passion turned to music in his teens and saw him join a local band, Dare, as a keyboardist. He recorded music and toured with Dare in the late eighties returning to his love for Astronomy when the band split in 1991, completing a degree in Physics at the University of Manchester, followed by a PhD in particle physics. Prior to his PhD, Cox was again a keyboardist for another music group, D:Ream, best known for their 1994 hit, ‘Things Can Only Get Better’. Confronted with the choice of going on an international tour with the band or staying in Manchester to finish his PhD, Cox decided to stick to his first love, completing his doctorate with a thesis titled, ‘Double Diffraction Dissociation at Large Momentum Transfer.’ In 2005, he began working as a professor of particle physics at the University of Manchester and made his television presenting debut hosting episodes of BBC One’s Horizon programme, looking at topics such as ‘Can We Make A Star on Earth?’. Following this he presented a one-off show, The Big Bang Machine, which resulted in him being offered his own series, Wonders Of The Solar System. Since then, Cox has hosted numerous science based shows including Stargazing: Live, Forces of Nature, and The Science of Doctor Who. He has also co-authored and written a number of books including, ‘Why Does E=mc2?’. Cox currently works on the ATLAS experiment, one of four major experiments at the Large Hadron Collider, requiring him to spend time at CERN in Switzerland. MCR Hidden Stories | Kathleen Drew-Baker

Kathleen Drew-Baker

Born in Leigh in 1901, Kathleen Drew-Baker was a British botanist who’s research into edible seaweed, known as Nori, led to her being celebrated in Japan as the saviour of seaweed. Drew studied Botany at the University of Manchester, graduating with first class honours, before going on to complete a Master’s degree in 1923. Kathleen also spent 2 years studying seaweed at Berkley College, California, which gave her the luxury of spending time in Hawaii, where she would collect samples for her research. On her return from the United States, she headed back to Manchester University and became a researcher and lecturer in Botany. Following her marriage to fellow academic Henry Wright-Baker in 1928, Kathleen was removed from her lecturers position as the University had a policy of not employing married women. This wouldn’t stop her however, and she overcame this obstacle by becoming an honorary research fellow. Drew’s research into the life cycle of the red algae Porphyra Umbilicalis, resulted in the discovery that in order to continue their growth cycle, the seaweed’s spores needed to be in old seashells to seed. This discovery was of great interest to scientists in Japan who had long been searching for the solution to devastating crop failures of Nori seaweed. Japanese Nori seaweed was, and still is, widely used in staples of Japanese cuisine such as Sushi and by using Drew’s findings, they developed new farming methods which lead to a resurgence in Nori crops. When Dr Drew-Baker died in 1957, she was unaware of the impact her research had had on Japan’s seaweed industry. She became known as the ‘Mother of the Sea’ and every year on the 14th April, the annual Drew Festival is held in Kathleen’s memory n the city of Uto, Kumamoto. Thanks goes to Skyliner Manchester for bringing Kathleen’s story to our attention. ______________________________________________________________________________ To stay up to date with the progress of the #MCRHiddenStories mural, be sure to follow Meha on Instagram here.

Read more →

Manchester's Hidden Stories - Cosgrove Hall Films

Adam Holcroft
If you grew up in the seventies and eighties, you’ll most definitely have heard of some of Cosgrove Hall Films most famous creations, if not the studio itself. Do Danger Mouse and Count Duckula ring a bell? What about The Wind in the Willows? Founded in 1976, Cosgrove Hall Films was the brainchild of Brian Cosgrove and Mark Hall. Having first met whilst studying at the Manchester Regional College of Art & Design (now known as Manchester Metropolitan University), the pair started their first independent company together in 1971, Stop Frame Animations, which specialised in short films, commercials, and series including Noddy (1974). The company also created opening sequences for a number of children’s TV shows including the titles for the hit series Rainbow in 1972. Craving more creative freedom, Cosgrove and Hall closed Stop Frame in 1975 and established Cosgrove Hall Films in January 1976. Making their home in a converted tobacco and confectionery warehouse on Albany Road in Chorlton-Cum-Hardy, the business would go on to become, at the time, one of Europe’s largest animation studios.

MCR Hidden Stories | Dangermouse Running for 161 episodes, Danger Mouse, voiced by David Jason, was Cosgrove Hall’s biggest success, entertaining over 24 million viewers. The series followed the ‘World’s Greatest Secret Agent’ as he, and his rather useless sidekick Penfold, took on a variety of baddies including evil Baron Silas Greenback. Another regular character to appear in Danger Mouse was Count Duckula, a vegetarian vampire who aspired to become rich and famous, who was given his own spin-off series which also grew to become one of the studios most successful programmes airing in the United States on Nickelodeon through the late eighties.

Count Duckula | MCR Hidden Stories Mural In 1989, the studio produced its first feature length film, an animation of Roald Dahl’s classic book The BFG. The film included an ‘Easter Egg’, with a poster for their hit show Danger Mouse appearing in the background on a young boys bedroom wall. The studio also collaborated with best-selling author Terry Pratchett, producing two series for Channel 4 based on two of Pratchett’s Discworld novels, Wyrd Sisters, and Soul Music (1997). Continuing their work in children’s television, Cosgrove Hall produced series such as Bill and Ben, Andy Pandy, and in the mid 00’s developed a new version of Postman Pat. Cosgrove Hall Films closed in 2009 as a result of ITV Granada deciding the company was no longer financially viable. MCR Hidden Stories | Penfold | Cosgrove Hall Films The original home of Cosgrove Hall, on Albany Road, is now a block of residential flats named Cosgrove Hall Court and features a plaque in tribute to the studios most well known productions including Danger Mouse, The Pied Piper of Hamlin, and The BFG. Meha's Manchester's Hidden Stories tribute to Cosgrove Hall Films takes on a Pop Art style, full of vibrant colour and bold shapes, to represent the fun and lively nature of kids TV. ______________________________________________________________________________ To stay up to date with the progress of the #MCRHiddenStories mural, be sure to follow Meha on Instagram here.

Read more →

Manchester's Hidden Stories - Places of Prominence

Adam Holcroft
In this blog we delve into the history and stories behind some of Manchester’s often forgotten buildings which Meha has depicted in the Manchester’s Hidden Stories mural.

This & That Cafe | MCR Hidden Stories Mural

This & That Cafe

Tucked away on Soap Street, This & That is Manchester’s no-frills, canteen style, Indian curry house. If you’ve never been before it may take you a minute to find it but once there, don’t be fooled by the modest exterior as inside you’ll find authentic, home-made curries and sundries bursting with flavour. Established in 1984, This & That is a family run business famous for its ‘Rice and Three’ combos where for a set price you take your pick of three curries from those on offer. Dishes change daily but you can expect to see a mix of meat, veggie, and vegan offerings with favourites such as Lamb Keema, Chicken Masala, and Daal on the menu. This & That is extremely popular so be prepared to wait a little, however with delicious Indian curries from as little as £4.50, it’s definitely worth the wait. Vimto | MCR Hidden Stories Mural

Vimto

First concocted in 1908 by John Noel Nichols in a tiny terrace house on Granby Row in Manchester city centre, Vimto, or Vimtonic as it was called then, started out life as as a herbal tonic designed to give the drinker ‘Vim & Vigour’. In fact, in 1912, Vimto was actually trademarked as a medicine! Enjoyed both hot and cold, the unique Vimto flavour is a special combination of fruits (grape, blackcurrant and raspberry), spices, and herbs which remain a secret to this day. As Vimto grew in popularity, Nichols began exporting the drink around the world, in particular to the Middle East where it was a huge hit in countries such as India and Burma (now Myanmar). Interestingly, to this day, Vimto cordial sent to the Middle East is double the strength of the UK version, to cut down on transport costs and suit the local palate more. Vimto is now sold in more than 85 countries and the distinct flavour can be found in all manner of treats, from ice lollies, to fruity snacks - and all from humble beginnings in Manchester! LGBT+ Centre | MCR Hidden Stories Mural

The LGBT+ Centre

The LGBT+ Centre found at 49-51 Sidney Street was Europe’s first entirely publicly funded, purpose built centre for the gay community, and first opened in 1988. It’s important to note the significance of the timing, Section 28 had just become law, and so the decision by Manchester Council to fund a building built solely for the gay community was a huge step. Over the years the centre has faced numerous threats of closure due to funding cuts but has overcome these with the help of long-term staff and dedicated volunteers who recognise the need for a space committed to supporting the LGBT+ community. The centre is currently home to the Sidney Street Community Cafe, a number of social and support groups, and the Jaye Bloomfield resource library, as well as hosting many other events throughout the year. As of July 2019, the centre is undergoing a huge £2.25million transformation which will see the original building demolished and replaced with a new three-storey centre, ensuring its place as a safe place for LGBTQ+ people for years to come. Manchester Craft & Design Centre | MCR Hidden Stories Mural

Manchester Craft & Design Centre

Situated in the heart of Manchester’s Northern Quarter, the Craft and Design Centre is housed in a beautiful Victorian building which was once the city’s Smithfield Fish Market. Following the development of the Arndale Shopping Centre, in 1978, it was decided that the fish market would become a craft village, housing craft-makers from potters and jewellers, to furniture makers, weavers, and more. Manchester Craft Village first opened in 1982 as an artists’ cooperative before re-branding as Manchester Craft and Design Centre, and becoming a not-for-profit limited company, in 2003. These days you’ll find the centre a hub of creative activity with two floors of contemporary craft studios, many incorporating small shops, where artists both work and sell their wares. On the ground floor you can even find two of the original fishmongers’ booths, now home to the quaint Oak St. Cafe Bar, where you can enjoy fresh produce from local growers, as well as vegetarian, vegan, and wheat free options. Open 6 days a week, the centre regularly hosts exhibitions, public workshops, and other events. If you’re after beautiful gifts to remember Manchester by or looking to explore the cities bustling creative side, MCDC should definitely be your first port of call! Corbières Wine Cavern | MCR Hidden Stories Mural

Corbières Wine Cavern

One of Manchester’s best kept secrets, Corbières is a quaint basement wine bar hidden-away just off St Ann’s Square on Half Moon Street. Named after a wine producing area of the French Pyrenees, the bar first opened as a Bistro but is now known more for its local Salford ales and collection of French wines. Long before the Hacienda came to be associated with the Manchester music scene, Corbières was a hot spot for local musicians including the band who would become Inspiral Carpets. It’s even rumoured that the Happy Monday’s first met Bez here! The musical history of the cavern remains to this day with one of Manchester’s greatest retro jukeboxes taking pride of place down the winding staircase. Meha’s depiction of the cavern focuses on the exterior, highlighting the recognisable mosaic tiling which adorns the entry way, luring you in to the subterranean cavern below. ______________________________________________________________________________ To stay up to date with the progress of the #MCRHiddenStories mural, be sure to follow Meha on Instagram here.

Read more →

Manchester's Hidden Stories - Elizabeth Raffald

Adam Holcroft
The Manchester's Hidden Stories series explores the forgotten history and icons of the city of Manchester. The project was sponsored by NOMA Manchester and involved Meha becoming the artist in residency at the Old Bank Residency throughout July 2019, working on her largest mural yet. The first story Meha discovered was that of Elizabeth Raffald (below), who is considered one of Manchester's first female entrepreneurs. elizabeth raffald - manchester's hidden stories Arriving in Manchester in 1763, Elizabeth Raffald hit the ground running, and launched her first venture, a catering business, from her home. Not long after, in 1764, she opened a 'confectionary' store, what would now be considered a deli, on Fennel Street in the city, selling everything from sweets, soups, and meats, to table centrepieces. Whilst at Fennel Street, Elizabeth also started a staff employment service and a cookery school for young women. Moving her confectionary store to the Market Place, she began advertising the business in the local newspaper, listing, amongst other items, “Plumb cakes for weddings." This is considered one of the first references to what has now become the modern day Wedding cake. In 1769, Elizabeth published her first must-have cookbook, 'The Experienced English Housekeeper', which contained over 800 (!!) original recipes, including the first recipes for Piccalilli, crumpets, and an early version of the Eccles Cake. The book was so successful it was reprinted 13 times and even became a favourite of Queen Victoria who is said to have copied recipes from the book into her personal diary. elizabeth raffald mural Between 1769 and 1772 Elizabeth's business streak continued with her running the Bull’s Head Inn in the market place, starting a carriage rental business, establishing a post office, and helping to create Salfords first newspaper, Prescott’s Journal. In 1772, Elizabeth created the first ever Manchester and Salford trade directory, essentially a yellow pages of its day. The directory was a great success and was updated in 1773 from 60 to 78 pages. Finally, in another publishing venture, Raffald co-wrote a midwifery manual with Manchester surgeon, Charles White. Unfortunately the manuscript was never printed in her name, seemingly sold off by her alcoholic husband following her death. elizabeth raffald - meha hindocha What makes Elizabeth's story all the more incredible is that whilst launching and running her businesses she also gave birth to at least 9 children! Elizabeth died in April of 1781 and is buried at St Mary's church, Stockport We're sure you'll agree that Elizabeth's story and entrepreneurial spirit is one which should be remembered and celebrated for years to come which is why it's been fantastic to be able to include her in the Manchester Hidden Stories mural. ______________________________________________________________________________ To stay up to date with the progress of the #MCRHiddenStories mural, be sure to follow Meha on Instagram here.

Read more →

Top 5 Father's Day Whiskey Cocktail Ideas

Adam Holcroft
With Father's Day fast approaching on Sunday (June 16th), we thought we'd put together a collection of Whiskey recipes that you can pair with our Skyline Tumblers to guarantee you'll be in Dad's good books! Durham Whisky Tumbler by MehaArt

1) Sweet Manhattan

First up we have the Sweet Manhattan, a classic cocktail that combines bourbon whiskey with botanical vermouth for a moreish cocktail with sweet cherry undertones. This is a great choice if your Dad is a fan of fruity drinks. Top Tip: Try swapping out the Angostura Bitters for Cherry or Orange for a subtle change in flavour. For the full recipe, head to BBC Good Food.

2) John Collins

Add a little soda and ice to bourbon and lemon juice and you've got yourself a John Collins. This refreshingly simple cocktail gets its name from the 'Collins' glass it is served in, with 'John' being the name given to drinks which use Whiskey as their base. If you're not too sure what sort of drinks your Dad prefers, you can't go wrong with a John Collins! Head to Spruce Eats for a full John Collins recipe. Newcastle Whiskey Tumbler

3) Mint Julep

The Mint Julep is an iconic whiskey cocktail created by mixing a long shot of premium bourbon with mint, sugar, and crushed ice. The traditional drink of the Kentucky Derby, approximately 80,000 (!!) Mint Julep's are drunk each year at the annual horse racing event in Louisville, Kentucky. Mint Julep Photo by Adam Jaime on Unsplash Top Tip: Once you've mixed your drink, keep the shaker in the fridge for a while before adding the ice to help the mint flavours infuse into the bourbon. To find out how to make the perfect Mint Julep, visit Difford's Guide here.

4) Blood & Sand

If your Dad's more of a scotch drinker then the Blood & Sand should be your go-to cocktail. Named after the bullfighter movie of the same name, the Blood & Sand is made up of smooth scotch whiskey, paired with cherry liqueur, which represents the blood, and orange juice, which represents the sand. Top Tip: For a perfect Blood & Sand, use freshly squeezed orange juice and a smooth scotch. For a full Blood & Sand recipe, check out Liqour.com here. London Skyline Tumbler

5) Old Fashioned

We couldn't put together a Whiskey cocktails list without including the Old Fashioned! If you're new to mixing drinks, this aromatic classic is the perfect place to start as it only uses four ingredients; whiskey, sugar, bitters, and water. A favourite of Mad Men's Don Draper, this spicy and sweet beverage is effortlessly cool and never goes out of style. Old Fashioned - Photo by Adam Jaime on Unsplash Mix up an Old Fashioned for Father's Day with this recipe from Esquire. ______________________________________________________________________________ So, grab yourself a bottle of Whiskey, choose your Dad's favourite city from our Skyline Tumblers, pick a recipe from above and you've got Father's Day nailed. Don't forget, our last order date for guaranteed Father's Day delivery is Wednesday 12th June!

Read more →

Meha's TV Debut - Home Is Where the Art Is

Adam Holcroft
As many of you will have already seen, April saw Meha’s first (and hopefully not last!) TV appearance, on the new BBC ONE show, Home Is Where the Art Is. Presented by TV favourite Nick Knowles, the programme sees three artists* tasked with creating a personalised commission for a mystery buyer. The only clues the artists are given are gained by snooping around the buyers home, prior to the pitch, in search of hints to their style, taste, and preferences. Home Is Where the Art Is S1 E13 Meha’s episode saw her take on a brief from Ben and Marc, a Manchester couple who wanted a piece designed to fit in their new converted Cotton Mill apartment, which captured their love of Manchester and its heritage. To find out who won the commission you’ll have to watch the episode, which is available on the BBC iPlayer here until the 24th May 2019, but first, read on for more about the two artists who competed with Meha, screen printer Robin Ross, and Papier-Mâché artist, Amanda Godden. *For a full rundown of all of the artists who appeared in this series please see the list at the bottom of this blog. Robin Ross Screen Printer Home Is Where the Art Is

Robin Ross - Screen Printer

The first artist featured alongside Meha was screen printer Robin Ross, from Blackpool. Robin specialises in Limited Edition hand pulled screen prints and is influenced by his passion for music. He first started designing whilst arranging gigs across Lancashire and decided to print the posters for the events himself.
Four Stones by Robin Ross Four Stones, Robin Ross
Robin has had solo exhibitions in New York, worked as an Artist in Residence in Lisbon, and currently has pieces in galleries across the US and UK. His style of screen printing is influenced by pop art greats such as Andy Warhol, Rauschenberg, and Jasper Johns.
Flyposting by Robin Ross Flyposting, Robin Ross
To see more of Robin’s work, head to his website at Rock Factory Print Studio and if you’d like to learn to screen print, Robin also offers two-day courses where you can learn the whole process for yourself.

Amanda Godden - Papier-Mâché Artist

The second artist featured was Papier-Mâché Artist Amanda Godden who lives and works in the Lake District. Amanda is known for her quirky Papier-Mâché sculptures which are designed around upcycled items found at local charity shops and car boot sales. Inspired by circuses, folklore, and fairytales, Amanda loves Papier-Mâché as the things you can create with it are limitless and the low-cost materials mean the craft is open to all. Her previous designs have included a carousel horse lamp, a mirror surrounded by flowers and Blue Tits, and a Hare lamp, created in the image of Horatio Nelson.
Carousel Horse Lamp by Amanda Godden Melody the Carousel Horse, Amanda Godden
Alongside her Papier-Mâché work, Amanda also draws and paints often taking inspiration from the local landscape as well as also taking commissions.
The Hare of Alpine Road, Amanda Godden
For more of Amanda's work, visit her Facebook page here.

Meha Hindocha - Illustrator

Meha Hindocha Illustrator Meha is very much a researcher and loves to get into the details of a piece, exploring the musical, sporting, cultural, and architectural icons of a city. Her style is based around intricate line work paired with bold coloured backgrounds, designed to capture the story of a city or place. Meha Hindocha Commissions For commissioned pieces, Meha really gets to know the buyer and their preferences, requesting images personal to them, their favourite colours, special locations, and any quirky, one-of-a-kind, references they'd like to see in their artwork. Depending on the scale of the piece, commissions can take from just a few weeks up to 6 months to create. Sheffield Skyline MehaArt Commissioned artwork makes for a fantastic talking point in your home or as a personalised gift for weddings, Birthday's, and Anniversaries. If you’d love a piece of original art by Meha to hang in your home, get in touch with us today on orders@mehaart.com

Home Is Where the Art Is - Artist Credits

Episode 1 Sally Toms - Ceramicist - https://sallytoms.com/ Andy Burgess - Wood Sculptor - http://andy-burgess.com/ Kate O'Brien - Mixed Media Painter - https://kate-obrien-art.myshopify.com/ Episode 2 Teresa Wells - Figurative Sculptor - https://www.teresawells.co.uk/ Roger Davies - Painter & Illustrator - https://rogerdaviesmusic.com/artwork/ Swarez - Abstract Artist - https://www.swarez.co.uk/ Episode 3 Patricia Lee - Glass Artist - https://allthatglass.co.uk/ Nick Coley - Glass & Metal Art - https://www.nickcoleyglassandmetalart.com/ Jo Allsopp - Watercolour Artist - http://www.sablestudiogallery.co.uk/ Episode 4 Charlotte Ashley - Textile Artist - https://www.charlotteashleyart.co.uk/ Thuline de Cock - Painter - http://www.thuline.com/ Andy Levy - Wood Sculptor - https://www.facebook.com/andylevywoodsculptor/ Episode 5 Claire Bigger - Steel Sculptor - https://www.clarebigger.com/ Karen McSkimming - Pet Portrait Artist - http://www.artfulregards.co.uk/ Simon O'Rourke - Wood Sculptor - https://www.treecarving.co.uk/ Episode 6 Christopher Townsend - Sculptor - https://www.christophertownsend.co.uk/ Sarah Cross - Textile Artist - https://sarahcrossart.weebly.com/ Adelle Gough - Painter - https://www.greenbowtieworks.com/ Episode 7 Celia Burbush - Fine Artist - http://www.celiaburbush.com/ Luciana Hermida - Mixed Media Artist & Graphic Designer - https://www.lucianahermida.co.uk/ Will Rea - Illustrator - http://willustration.co.uk/ Episode 8 Amy Coney - Oil Painter - http://www.amyconey.com/ David O'Brien - Mosaic Maker - https://twitter.com/BigSmallMosaics Fanny Gough - Artist/Designer/Illustrator - https://www.fannygogh.co.uk Episode 9 Bee Weir - Glassworker - http://www.craftsfromtheclink.com Ben Melton - Resin Artist - https://bmartstuff.com/ Andrea Hunter - Felt Artist - http://www.focusonfelt.co.uk/ Episode 10 Mark Hamilton - Wood & Metal Sculptor - http://www.smallhit.co.uk/ Maddy Howard - Mosaic Artist Karl Macauley - Wood Carver - http://www.elegantchainsawcarvings.co.uk/ Episode 11 Deborah Moses - Glass Artist - http://www.thesilverzebra.co.uk/fused-glass-home Graham Thew - Watercolourist - http://www.grahamthewart.uk/ Steve Blaylock - Metal Sculptor - https://metalsculpture.co.uk/ Episode 12 Maisie Baker - Textile Artist - https://www.facebook.com/maisiebakerdesigns/ Jane Austin - Painter - http://www.janeaustin.co.uk/ Giles Davies - Collage Creator - http://www.gilesdavieslandscapes.co.uk/ Episode 13 Amanda Godden - Papier-Mâché Artist - https://www.facebook.com/AmandaGoddenFineArtist/ Robin Ross - Screenprinter - http://www.rockfactoryprintstudio.co.uk Meha Hindocha - Illustrator - https://mehaart.com Episode 14 Paul Dunkerley - Contemporary Sculptor - https://pauldunx.com/ Lucie Ann Trickett - Abstract & Imppressionist Painter - https://www.luciianngiftedart.com/ Charlotte Newson - Visual Artist - https://www.charlottenewson.com/ Episode 15 Emma Wood - Fused Glass Artist - http://emma-wood-glass.co.uk/ Jane Richmond - Artist & Ceramic Sculptor - http://www.jane-richmond.com/ Andrew Vickers - Stone Carver - https://stonefacecreative.com/

Read more →