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Illustrating the stories of Manchester: Meet the team behind Altrincham Market stall The Sculpts

Altrincham Market stall The Sculpts celebrates our city with an eye-catching collection of beautiful tiles, ceramics, prints and textiles.

Richard and Jade have run The Sculpts for two years

Altrincham Market stall The Sculpts celebrates our city with an eye-catching collection of beautiful tiles, ceramics, prints and textiles.

We caught up with founder Richard Bennett and business boss Jade King.

ALTRINCHAM TODAY: Can you introduce us to The Sculpts and give us a bit of a potted history of the business?

RICHARD: The Sculpts was started in 2020 in the midst of the first pandemic lockdown, initially as a few illustrations inspired by and celebrating Manchester, and it quickly became a catalogue of the wider history and culture of the city.

As an architect working mostly at the pre-application stage I spend a lot of time reading through hazy, lazy copy about how and why a new development is so culturally relevant. A lighting scheme in the entrance hall to a newly developed mill in Ancoats can’t be the reduction of the history of a world famous nightclub. The stories need to be told.

AT: Tell us a bit more about your time at Altrincham Market – what kind of reception have you had here and how has the experience been?

JADE: We thought it would be great to have a presence at the market – Richard went to school here and it seemed like a great fit for our products. We started with one small table with a sample of our products a year ago, we now have a full set up and are always looking at creative ways to keep it interesting.

Our designs and products have been so well received by local residents and it’s great to build those relationships and provide unique gifts for them to mark special occasions. We have some lovely customers who are really engaged and await our new tile releases which is amazing!

There are some great traders at Alty who are well established in the Manchester scene. It makes the market a destination for the local area and beyond.

Manchester Tiles are at the core of The Sculpts’ range

AT: Tell us a bit more about your product range.

RICHARD: Our Manchester Tiles are at the core of our range with each letter having a detailed cultural reference. Our fine art print, bone china ceramics, gifts and textiles collection stems from those tiles. All of our products tie the collection together and the illustrations are across different mediums with various price points so they can be enjoyed by many.

AT: What about the manufacturing process – who does the design and where do you source your materials?

JADE: Richard is the creative and does all the designing and I’m the business head. Together it works well!

RICHARD: Yes I design but we come up with new ideas and concepts together. The tiles are hand-rolled in Stoke-on-Trent and we source our ceramics there too. We then fire all the artwork in our studio set-up in Manchester – we acquired a kiln last year and it’s been a real journey getting the artwork just right.

The Sculpts’ bone china mugs also feature Mancunian cultural references

AT: Where does the inspiration for your style and design come from?

RICHARD: Manchester first and foremost. It’s a brilliant city and home to some incredible artists and designers. The Haçienda and Factory Records get a lot of coverage, rightly so when considering the contribution to society and its widest. You can’t help but be inspired by Peter Saville, Ben Kelly and the guys at Central Station Design. It was great to meet Ben at the opening of the British Pop Archive at John Rylands in May. Beyond Manchster, we look to Europe and the big fashion houses of Italy, particularly how they evolve and develop.

AT: Do you have any plans to expand your product range or anything new in the pipeline for 2023?

JADE: We have lots of exciting things in the pipeline. We have just completed a bespoke tile and product range for Manchester Museum and we are working with other cultural spaces in the city. We will continue to introduce new products to our range and are looking at new retail spaces for next year – we will continue to be creative at Alty Market, introducing new products as they are released here first.

For more information about The Sculpts, visit or follow @thesculpts on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Photography: Claire Harrison