Saturday, 4 June 2016

Crafts Council UK #Hothouse16 - It’s a ride I feel privileged and very grateful to have been able to take.

Crafts Council UK Hothouse 2016
The Crafts Council selected 41 maker businesses to take part in the six-month Hothouse programme, delivered in partnership across the UK. For 2016 makers cover a broad range of disciplines including twelve jewellers, twelve ceramists, seven textile makers and five furniture makers.
As the Craft Council’s creative and business development programme for up-and-coming makers; Hothouse has quickly established itself as a gold-standard professional development programme. 
It’s a ride I feel privileged and very grateful to have been able to take.
Like many textile artists, I work alone. Sometimes that can feel quite isolating; sometimes I feel like I’m losing my way. I wasn’t sure what to expect from the Hothouse programme, but I have to say that for me, the experience of mixing with other makers and taking part in different sessions has been an inspiration.
Defining your values, delivered by Claire Norcross and Emilie Taylor, gave me the space to get really clear what it is that motivates me; why I do what I do; and why I do it how I do it. 

A key element of my practice is that I work at a measured pace. I can spend ages on each piece, going to whatever lengths are necessary to produce work I’m proud of. I already knew this - but now I value it as a cornerstone of what I do, rather than beating myself up for not producing enough pieces.

Similarly, for me it’s imperative to produce work that’s entirely handmade in the UK, and to reuse fabric that’s been thrown away. Again, I knew this – but it’s good to have identified this as something central to what I do…something worth shouting about, even. 

Mark Sinker’s Putting the tyger back in the forest session helped me rewrite my artist statement, and that has already had a huge impact on my ability to get out there and promote myself.

Explaining my practice to other people has always been my idea of hell. It took me a long time to nail my statement; getting it right involves really pinning down what makes you tick as a maker. Now I have a firm basis from which to express what I do, both in the written form and verbally. 

These sessions have given me confidence. They’ve helped me define my identity as an artist. Hothouse has been an emotional rollercoaster at times - but all in all, it’s a ride I feel privileged and very grateful to have been able to take.
© 2016 Kate Whitehead.

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