How to Get Into…Craft – 2nd summary from the day
In our ‘How to Get into…Craft’ seminar at Futurising on 29 June we heard from three leading designers and makers, ceramicist Chris Keenan, textile designer Clarissa Hulse and textile artist and consultant Arantza Vilas. Each spoke about the varied, and often unpredictable, journey they have taken since starting as a practitioner. They provided a valuable insight into what it’s like to sell through galleries, to deal with clients directly, to build a portfolio career by using creative skills to generate additional income streams, and how to manage business growth focussing on licensing and outsourcing manufacture.
You can see our first report on the advice Chris gave the audience on the day here, but in this short report we summarise the main points Arantza gave:
Arantza Vilas has worked as a textile designer/artist since her graduation from Central St. Martins College of Art and Design, where in 2002 she obtained her MA in Design for Textile Futures. She works with a combination of printing and manipulation textile techniques to obtain delicate effects. Embracing consultancy, collaborative work and her own research she produces commissions, special editions or on- off pieces for a range of clients including costume for a production of Phantom of the opera, window displays for London’s fashionable B store and consultancy for the exclusive Italian leather manufacturer Foglizzo.
Vanessa Swann chaired the event and delved a little deeper as part of a panel discussion:
VS: Arantza how have the consultancy and collaborative projects come about? Have you actively approached companies or have they come to you?
AV: I think that serendipity plays a big part however you also have to put yourself in the right position to make thing happen. For example with the B Store commission I approached them after graduation. I had seen that they had some interesting window displays so walked in one day with my portfolio and said “I really like what you do with your windows – can I do one?” and they said yes! You have to create your own opportunities.
VS: Could you tell us about the case study that you’ve recently done for the Crafts Council. How has this benefited your practise?
AV: Yes – it was actually through Cockpit Arts who recommended me to the Crafts Council as they were doing a study about makers with portfolio careers. It’s quite early to say the impact as the Assemble conference was only last week however it’s been a great opportunity to build networks.
VS: I would like to ask our panellists what their advice would be for any recent graduates looking to develop a career in the crafts sector?
AV: Shear stubbornness and determination and as Clarissa Hulse [who spoke earlier] said, having that vision. Also remember that your classmates are you first network!
And communicating well with all the people you have to work with: your clients, manufacturers, collaborators…a project always involves a large chain of people.
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