Days 2 and 3 were held at Marketplace Studios, part of Manchester School of Art in Stockport’s old town, a surprisingly beautiful little enclave nestled within the urban sprawl.
Day one was all about ‘Designing your future, Putting ideas into action’, and ‘The business of you’. We were treated to some excellent talks from established makers, Claire Norcross (lighting), and Amy Hughes (Ceramics). This was so useful, it was great to hear about their journeys that got them to where they are now.
I took away many useful tools and ideas that I will hopefully incorporate into my own practice, but mainly I learnt the value of looking further than the end of my nose.. “or further than the end of my chisels.” Which I tend not to do.
Day Two was Business Modelling, (a day jam packed full of information.) We kicked off with each of us giving a short presentation about an established maker and why their craft business inspired us. I talked about the engraver and silversmith Malcolm Appleby. Again I was totally out of my comfort zone with the public speaking, but learnt some very useful tools for dealing with the nerves and all that, and I physically shook allot less than last time, so I think I could be improving!
We then had sessions with Katy Drake on financial tools and responsibilities and Pete Mosley on business modelling. Thinking about tax, finance and things like business models is something that I have spent the majority of my life avoiding like the plague. I have always imagined that they were things that actually got in the way of experimentation and the ability to create things freely without constraint for a maker. Things that would force me out of my workshop and take up too much of my time. But just through these sessions I have started to realize that all those scary words I have been avoiding and ignoring are in reality just other words for ” Getting What I Want”. and that through a better understanding of these issues I will have more time and resources to be able to be even more experimental and practiced in my work.
But i think I might still have to employ the services of an accountant though, ” Any bracket fungus loving accountants into swapsies out there.”
So once again, Thanks to The Crafts Council for a enlightening and productive couple of days.
Next stop ” Presenting Yourself ” at Manchester Craft and Design Center.
(Might even buy a new shirt – from a charity shop of course – No point getting ahead of myself yet.)
Back in 2013, October to be precise, Lakeland Arts in collaboration with Rachael Matthews artist, author and curator presented, Collect Cumbria a vibrant selling exhibition exploring the skill and innovation of craft in the Cumbrian region. Held in the unique setting of Blackwell, the exhibition gave makers the opportunity to showcase the best of their skills and artistic vision. Tom Philipson was one of the makers, showing in Collect Cumbria. Tom is a contemporary furniture maker whose aim is to produce high-quality hand-crafted pieces using skills and techniques perfected in the ‘golden age’ of English furniture by Georgian cabinet makers .
Tom was one of three craftspeople chosen to receive an Acorn Bursary. The bursaries were to support emerging craftsmen and women and set up by the Lakeland Arts and the former High Sheriff of Cumbria, Diana Matthews. Tom acknowledges that this was a fantastic boost for him and he used the money to have a website designed and produced.
Since then Tom’s career path continues and he has just started Hothouse 5 – we asked him to give us a brief ‘blog’ on his first session – over to Tom…
“Great start to the Crafts councils Hothouse 5 supporting emerging makers program. I arrived at Bridewell Hall, just of Fleet Street, for the start of the induction day feeling nervous and worried about whether my work and practice was worthy compared to all the other 38 participants. To kick us of ( ice breaker) we had to stand up with a piece of our work and talk about our practice. I took along a test piece which was an experiment using compressed wood shavings trapped between curved ash, a bit of sculpture in its self really ( iiiustrated ) I was dreading this bit, but it went OK and the rest of the day went swimmingly from thereon in.
I met lots of very interesting people and it was a great start to the program.
All the pieces that my fellow makers and I had taken along were all set out on a table for us all to study and handle. This was fantastic, being able to pick up things that I had previously only seen over the internet. This also helped me to realise that my work was of a similar standard, and worthy of being there because it was there. ( illustrated )
So already confidence has been gained from Hothouse.
It was only at the end of the day during group reflection that I realised that my initial fears were just what everyone else on the program were experiencing as well.
So thanks Crafts Council. And now very much looking forward to next weeks session at Manchester School of Art.
Where the business really starts.”
We look forward to following Tom’s career and hope he may share more with us as he progresses.