I have started using a bit of resin in my jewellery and as I hadn’t used it since university (2001-2004!) I decided to go on a course for a bit of a refresher. Kathie Murphy is a resin guru and has been making resin contemporary jewellery for over 25 years, authored at least 3 books and teaches regularly. It was a wonderful three saturdays spent mould making, testing, experimenting and generally getting more confident with the material:
The Crafts Council have produced a lovely film all about the Hothouse programme. Much of it was filmed at New Ashgate Gallery in Farnham when the South East cohort was there for our creative practice review day. I’m caught in a shot now and again! Applications open for Hothouse 6 next month and I would definitely recommend it!
This year there is a Hothouse blog on the Crafts Council’s website and we have been taking it in turns to write a post. Last week was my turn and I wrote about the Marketing and Audience development day that I went to in Bury St. Edmonds. You can read it here. The blog gives a great insight into our experiences on Hothouse and if you are thinking of applying I would absolutely recommend it – as well as reading the blog you can also find more information here.
Yesterday I had a fantastic day wood turning at Central Saint Martins. Five of us came along for the day to have a go at using lathes to turn our own candlesticks. Sam Sheard, a technician and furniture maker, introduced us to the machinery and took us through each step. I hadn’t used a lathe since university so was very rusty and it was great to have a refresher – especially because I have a micro lathe that I want to use to make jewellery! Here is what we got up to:
It is the end of March and I am already half way through the Crafts Council’s Hothouse scheme! It is a brilliant professional development programme and I am learning such a lot – I have many things to put into action over the next few months. Last week was the Peer Networking Day, this was the first time all the cohorts had come together since the Induction day at the beginning of February. The venue was the lovely Toynbee Hall in East London.
The day started with a talk from Sarah Hewett from Etsy UK, covering images, PR and working with the press. Sarah has a huge amount of experience in the craft sector and spoke with bubbly enthusiasm. We also had Anna Collect Hunt, a previous Hothouse participant, talk about her work and her experience of the buddying and mentoring that are part of the programme. Running throughout the day was photography with Tas Kyprianou – each of us had a professional photo taken by Tas with our work. I am not very good at relaxing in front of a camera, but Tas was very friendly and had some great tips which I’ll be using again in the future. We get our photos in a couple of weeks time so I’ll share them then!
One of the main tasks of the day was to network with our peers and this happened informally throughout the day – there was a constant buzz of chatting when nothing official was happening! We did have one formal task and this was to work in pairs, listen to each other talk about our work and then do a one minute presentation on our partners work to everyone else. I worked with Jessica Thorn who is a designer/maker with a focus on ceramics. It was really interesting to hear about her inspiration and processes and then to share this with everyone else! It was a brilliant day :-)
Thank you for reading!
Yesterday I did a one day course at Morley College on stringing, threading and knotting. I could have sat down with a book and worked out how to thread beads or pearls correctly – but sometimes it is easier to be shown! The course was taught by Amina Kaufmann who is a professional stringer. We all made a bracelet with a double knot between each bead and then worked on our own projects:
A lovely way to spend a saturday! Watch this space for some new necklace designs :-)
This Tuesday I went to the first session of the Crafts Council’s Hothouse programme and had a brilliant day! It was held in Bridewall Hall at St. Bride Foundation just off Fleet Street in central London. All the cohorts were there, the partners and the Crafts Council team, it was a day of introductions, information and networking – as well as ice breaker and creative tasks to help us start thinking about our businesses and plans for the future.
In preparation for the day all of us had prepared a one minute presentation on our work and we took it in terms to stand at the front and talk – this was actually incredibly nerve-racking! I looked up and saw the 5+ tables and lots of expectant faces looking at me and promptly babbled through my talk! I don’t find public speaking too bad as long as I know what I’m talking about and have prepared, however, I am out of practice talking about my work. There will be plenty of opportunities to improve on this programme!
One of the tasks of the day was to draw how we see ourselves now and how we see ourselves in a years time on two separate pieces of paper. Then we had to write a list of all the things that are missing, or in the gap, between the two. A second task was to look at our values, we were given 6 slips of paper and we had to trade and swap with others to get a set of values that felt right. A simple and very effective tool! Our values determine the decisions we make as we work through the Hothouse programme and build our creative businesses. I chose the following 6 (in no particular order):
Financial gain – I need to be able to earn a living from my jewellery
Reputation – I want to have a good reputation with my customers and the galleries I work with
Aesthetics – I want my work to be beautiful, to be well made and with a clear EK style
Knowledge – knowledge gives me confidence, whether its about materials, techniques, exhibitions or the wider craft field
Creativity – I need to keep creating, challenging myself, enjoy the making process, this may mean making just a few pieces of a certain design rather than a production line!
And the sixth I’ve left open to think about over the next couple of weeks! They may be refined as I work through the programme. It was a thought provoking day.
And that’s it! Thank you for reading.
I am absolutely delighted to have been selected for the Crafts Council’s Hothouse scheme!
Hothouse is a professional development programme for emerging makers which runs from February 2015 for six months. It provides group sessions on things like business modelling, market and audience development and financial planning as well as a series of networking events, support from a peer buddy and 1:1 sessions with a mentor from the sector.
There are thirty-nine makers from across the UK taking part from a range of craft disciplines and we are split into 4 regional cohorts, I am part of the South east cohort. These are the other makers in my cohort:
Juliette Bigley (silversmithing, London), Jane Crisp(furniture/product, Ely), Alma Geller (jewellery, London), Beth Lewis-Williams (ceramic lighting, London), Rosalie McMillan (jewellery, London), Annemarie O’Sullivan (basketry, Isfield), Harry Owen (leatherwork, London), Rita Parniczky (textiles, London), Hollie Paxton(jewellery, London), Nadia Ricketts (textiles, London).
You can see images of work by all 39 participants on Pinterest.
I am so excited to be part of this programme and all of its opportunities, to be able to work closely with other makers and to really challenge and push my creative practice. I can’t wait to start!