Q&A with Catherine Hammerton,
Q: What three words best describe your work/style?
Eclectic, stylish, British
Q: Who, or what, inspired you to become a designer-maker?
I think I was inspired by the hours and hours of plasticine moulding and collage making with my Mum when I was small. From school homework, to nativity costumes to overseeing the production line for my degree show and steam pressing my MA collection – she’s seen it all and been there every step of the way.
Q: When are you at your most creative?
When I don’t think about something becoming a viable end product – often enjoying the freedom of a process and its outcomes is the most exciting part of the journey. The hard part is realising that something could be sold in store and then having to find ways to streamline it into a viable product. Sounds a lot easier than the realities and practice of small batch production.
Q: What can’t you work without?
Coffee, music and V5 black inky pens…
Q: What projects are you currently working on?
I am currently looking at manufacturers who will be able to produce a small range of table ware for me. It’s exciting and daunting at the same time, as it means giving the production over to somebody else and hoping their standards are exacting as my own. I am also taking some time out to develop some ideas that I have had for a long while – things that won’t make me a lot of money (if at all) but will feed the soul.
Q: What’s the best thing about having a studio at Cockpit Arts?
Having such brilliant makers next to you to discuss work when things are good but especially when they are going a bit wrong – empathy is a wonderful thing to have around you when you are small business, especially as many of us are often in the same boat.
Q: What difference has receiving support as part of the Commercialising Creativity Project and winning the Cockpit Arts/Camden Recycling prize made?
I was really lucky to have received ERDF manufacturing advice and the Cockpit Arts Recycling prize in 2011 both awards helping my business in different ways.
The ERDF funding paid for manufacturing mogul, Nigel Rust, to analyse my entire product range and production processes with a fine tooth coomb to ensure that my products are as cost efficient and competitive as possible – especially important in these difficult financial times. Nigel has also drawn up and encouraged a speared sales strategy going forward – the first of my career!
The Camden Recycling Award will enable my new range of ceramics to be packaged beautifully yet sustainably – small changes that I plan to cascade across all other product ranges in 2012/13.
Q: What three pieces of advice would you give a maker setting up business for the first time?
Take your time and don’t worry too much as you’ll learn a lot along the way, try to be principled and stick to it (this is much harder than it seems at times!) don’t forget your work-life balance and to enjoy your business (one of my resolutions for 2012!)
You can read more about Catherine’s work and business on her website.
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Tags: awards, makers, Workshops