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June 2012

May 2012

The typical craft professional and life on Planet Handmade

I've been reading a report on contemporary craft professionals in the UK commissioned jointly by the Craft Council, Creative Scotland, Craft Northern Ireland and the Arts Council of Wales - Craft in an Age of Change

The report looks at the demographics of professional craft makers - predominently female, in their 40s and working in jewellery, textiles or ceramics and often working from their own homes - and the economic value of the craft sector.

What is interesting - apart from the demographics - is the conclusion that makers need business and marketing support. It is particularly interesting given that I was reading the report for a new venture I'm involved in called Planet Handmade.

Planet Handmade is the brain child of Juliet Bernard, PR specialist and editor of The Knitter, and is about bringing business advice and marketing opportunities to designer/makers to help them build their business and inspire us with their creative endeavours.

The full site will launching over the next few months but the blog is already up and running, so you can find out more about my take on the craft councils' research there.

Thought for today - valuing yourself

Words of wisdom for crafters and designer makers from US entrpeneurial guru Tara Gentile:

"What is easy for you, what comes naturally and beautifully to you, ugly, difficult and downright nasty to someone else."

She doesn't mean that other people think what you make, whether that's craft, writing, a website, food or business advice, is bad or horrible - it means it isn't easy or beautiful when they try, so what you do has value for them.

Worth thinking about...

Making makers - creating a social good

I've always loved these end credits for shows made my Chris Carter's production company Ten Thirteen because of satisfaction in the little boy's voice:



"I made this!" Any crafter or maker knows that feeling of making something you are really proud of, conquering a new technique, or learning something completely new.

To some this may seem a trivial thing but yesterday I read this piece by Gillian Montegrande, founder of Made by Hands of Britain - I make, therefore I am - which argues that the sense of satisfaction and personal achievement as well as learning from  "failures" or unexpected outcomes offers a postive good for society.

She says: "If we could only pass on to others that sense of achievement and what it feels like to stare upon the tangible and positive result of one’s own useful endeavours, then it will go at least some way to improving the lot of individuals who currently have no hope."

Thinking about this, I realised that these days I don't just get that postive glow from my own making but also from teaching other people ot knit or master a craft skill through and article or a demo.

Giving someone a sense of achievement is positive for that person and whoever introduces them to the craft. I love the look that goes across someone's face (adult or child) when they complete that first row of knitting. 

In fact teaching craft is making in itself, making crafters.