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Design-Nation Graduates at Heart Gallery

Here at Design-Nation we are always seeking opportunities to support our members and we are committed to developing creative talent at every stage of career. Our Graduate members are in the early stages of establishing their creative practice and keen to showcase their new collections to build their profile.

We’re thrilled to announce that we’ve been working with Heart Gallery in Hebden Bridge to launch a New Graduate Exhibition, featuring six of our emerging makers. The exhibition will open on Sunday 11 September and run until 23 October 2022. We can’t wait to see the innovative and exciting work produced by our Graduates on display in the beautiful setting of Heart Gallery.

Our exhibitors listed below. Click on each name to access website.

Annita McKee

Annita is a contemporary visual artist, based in Northern Ireland and working sculpturally with porcelain and mixed media. Her emotive pieces are inspired by her experiences of scuba diving, combined with her interest in human beings, their emotions and states of mind. Annita graduated from Ulster University with a BA Hons in Ceramics, Jewellery & Silversmithing.


Bircan Harper

Cornwall-based Bircan works predominantly in ceramics, producing a range of vessels and jewellery. Bircan applies imagery and mark making to her vessels, and uses a variety of techniques to explore the human experience in relation to the cultural connection between past, present and future. Bircan graduated from Plymouth University with a BA in Art & Design Practice.


Emma Westmacott

Ceramicist Emma is influenced by a mid-century design aesthetic and has a passion for the beautiful ‘beton brut’ concrete formwork surfaces seen in Brutalist architecture. Based in Cheshire, Emma’s current work is based around a slip-casting method developed during her MA in Ceramics at Staffordshire University.


Nerissa Cargill Thompson

Mixed media artist Nerissa combines embellished textiles with concrete to create a collection that investigates change over time; not just eroding or decaying but acquiring new layers of growth, giving juxtapositions of structure and colour. Manchester based Nerissa originally trained in theatre design and then graduated from Manchester School of Art with an MA in Textile Practice.


Rebecca Perry

Rebecca is a Sheffield-based ceramicist who creates bright and bold ceramic homeware and interior sculptures. Inspired by the landscape, Rebecca translates these visual sources into abstract lines and expressive brushstrokes. Rebecca graduated from Staffordshire University with a BA Hons in 3D Design.


Yuka Jourdain

Yuka is a Japanese narrative jewellery designer based in Derbyshire. She finds inspiration in the natural world, historical objects and the human condition, using traditional metalwork techniques and combining non-metal materials. The themes in Yuka’s recent work include: biodiversity loss; conservation strategies; wildlife and habitat and the memory of people. Yuka graduated with a MFA in Design, Jewellery & Metalwork from Sheffield Hallam University.


Our membership manager Hayley Banks says, “Exhibiting at Heart Gallery under the Design-Nation banner is a very welcome opportunity for our graduates, especially as many of them graduated during Covid times and have had limited experience of exhibiting.

Hear what our Graduate Members say:

“I am delighted to exhibit at Heart Gallery with other DN graduates. Thank you for providing a fabulous physical space to showcase my jewellery. I hope visitors will enjoy the aesthetic and thought each graduate has given to their work.” Yuka Jourdain

“I feel proud to have been selected to take part in the New Graduates exhibition. Heart Gallery is an established destination in the centre of a renowned creative town. This, combined with the support I have received from Design-Nation, gives me the confidence to build my business as a ceramic designer and take my work to a wider audience.” Emma Westmacott

“I am excited to be showing my work to a new audience at Heart Gallery and have felt supported by the gallery team and Design-Nation throughout the whole process. I’m travelling over to attend the opening on Sunday to see all of our creations and look forward to seeing how the exhibition is received.” Annita McKee.


News index page: three bottles by Nerissa Cargill Thompson.

On carousel: podded forms by Annita McKee; lidded ceramic jar by Bircan Harper; group of vessels by Emma Westmacott; Nerissa Cargill Thompson in her studio; bowl by Rebecca Perry; Yuka Jourdain in her studio; pendant by Yuka Jourdain.

About Heart Gallery

Heart Gallery is an independent contemporary gallery in the heart of Hebden Bridge, specialising in selling art, craft and jewellery, all handmade in the UK. Artists are carefully chosen for their design ideas and craftsmanship, keeping the quality high but also offering a nurturing experience for emerging makers, helping them to find their feet in the creative world. This resonates strongly with Design-Nation’s ethos; we are so grateful that our graduates have an opportunity to showcase their collections at Heart Gallery, giving them valuable gallery and retail experience. This is an important stepping stone in growing their profiles as emerging makers and helping them to become the design and craft stars of tomorrow. A big thank you to Alison and the team at Heart Gallery for all the wonderful support.

Heart Gallery is open every day from 11am – 4pm (5pm on Saturday) and can be found at 4a Market Street, Hebden Bridge HX7 6AA. For more information visit @heartgallery

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Liz Cooper


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