The end of May and beginning of June are a flurry of activity for emerging makers. Deadlines and Degree shows, the end of one chapter and the looking forward to what is to come. And this week it’s the turn of New Designers – potentially one of the most important stepping stones out into the world.Read More
Degree season is here. New Designers is just around the corner. It’s a slightly frenetic and heightened time of year. I always enjoy seeing new work, and it’s hard not to remember being in the same place 4 years ago, the relief at work being finished, the anticipation of what’s to come. But, once you have been going to degree shows and New Designers for a while, it’s easy to slip into complacency a little, and to start to feel a bit uninspired by it all. Looking through my writing archive this week I noticed a response I wrote to degree shows on this day last year. It’s not particularly charitable, as you can see…Read More
The Makers & Tools project came about out of conversations with makers. Just before Christmas, I was asked by a magazine to interview contemporary craft makers about their relationships to their tools. I selected six emerging makers, working in different materials and with different approaches, whose work intrigued me. In one interview, the maker told me how at the start of the academic year, she and her fellow MA students were asked to bring in tools for a tool swap, a kind of ‘get to know you’ activity. I asked her if she knew what happened to the tool she gave away, whether the other student ended up using it; she didn’t know. And out of that small element of our conversation, the idea for Makers & Tools grew.Read More
This is probably not a question you ask yourself very often, but spending a bit of time pondering how you feel most comfortable writing will help you find when it comes to getting started. You might have no idea what sort of writer you are; the concept of being 'comfortable' when writing might seem really different from your experience of writing. So, let’s start with an easier question: what kind of maker are you?Read More
Last week we looked at ways of setting up a writing routine, on your terms, so that you feel excited and inspired to write about your practice regularly. Now it’s time to figure out what you’ll actually write.Read More
Effective communication about your practice comes from really understanding what I call ‘the why behind the work’. It’s all about self-awareness and self-questioning. If you know why you make, then it’s easier to explain how. But how often do you really give yourself time to consider these things? Chances are you make time when you really have to: when there is an application to fill out, or a gallery or show needs some text about your work. And in that situation, do you really spend much time asking yourself why you do it, or do you find yourself writing the same sentences, explaining things in familiar ways, or the easiest of all – sending out something you wrote a while ago?Read More
I’m a big believer that writing should be part of a maker’s practice, alongside the making and the hundred other tasks that need to be done to run a creative business. I see words as another raw material, ready to be transformed into something special. But, as with any raw material, things don’t spontaneously transform; that’s where an element of skill comes into it, where the benefits of practising can be seen. I think it’s not a stretch to say that many makers do not consider themselves wordsmiths. They are not as confident translating the ideas behind their making into text for their audience to engage with. Something happens when faced with a deadline, we sit at the computer expecting to be able to pull the perfect words out of somewhere, without any warm-up or planning. It’s no wonder that we find it so frustrating when things don’t come out right.
The trick is to develop a routine of telling yourself, through writing, what you are doing. Of examining and articulating your making practice on the page. By starting a writing routine, you will find your natural voice, your own way of describing what you do, and, it will start to get easier. By building up a bank of text, little and often, you will already have to hand a lot of the material you need when that big application arrives, or you need to re-work your website or send off some text for a show.
As part of this blog I’m going to share with you tips for establishing a writing routine, exercises you can do at any time to help you investigate your making practice and craft words that reflect your work. There will be very specific posts on how to write certain types of text, and there will no doubt be random waffling posts on why writing matters and how we can all learn to become more comfortable with the writing we need to do. Because ultimately that’s what I’m here for, to help you feel more confident about the work you do, including the writing. I’m looking forward to it, I hope you’ll join me.