A couple of years ago I was invited to apply for membership of the Design Factory, an organisation funded by Arts Council England which exists to promote artist integrity, raise standards and to ‘support and develop the very best designers/makers in craft practice today’. I was hugely flattered. I had only just finished my diploma, didn’t know what I was doing and was crashing around in the dark. Through their scheme of mentoring, workshops and support at exhibitions I have learned so much.
Now, in addition to having an artist’s profile of which I am really proud and which I could not have come up with without attending a writing workshop organised by them, I have taken part in exhibitions which I would not have dreamed of being involved with if it had not been for their support. One of which, Top Drawer, this January has done enormous things for my career, leading directly to 3 exhibitions in interesting places over the next year: This July I will be the featured maker at Hybrid Gallery in Devon, at the same time I am exhibiting alongside Debbie Barber, an established maker whose work is well known at Red Barn Gallery , one of the best known galleries in the North-west. Then, in the autumn, I will start preparations for a collaboration with artist Candide Turner Bridger for an exhibition in Norfolk at Great Walsingham Gallery next year. I can hardly believe my luck!
This week, probably as a direct result of the opportunities which they have provided me with, I was informed that I have been invited to become a Flair Level member of the Design Factory which, in addition to looking great on my CV will give me even more opportunities to learn and to exhibit both nationally and internationally. I am really excited about this. It feels like a true endorsement of what I have been trying to do since I finished the diploma and it definitely promises to open doors for me. There is just one tiny problem – I think I need to get back to the studio and get making – so much to do, so many pieces to create, so little time!