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cuts are a source of concern because it may mean we are not developing the next generation of makers and enthusiasts.


In times of austerity and cuts, might we see an end to the growing demand for craft? The Crafts Council commissioned a report last year called ‘Consuming Craft’, which contained strong evidence that there has been a big shift towards the value of crafts that meet an emotional as well as a practical need. There is a backlash against conspicuous consumerism and an attitude of ‘back to basics’, whereby the provenance of things is becoming increasingly important.


Clearly not everyone is abandoning Primark but craft has integrity, authenticity and it’s personal. People feel more comfortable buying it. The word ‘craft’ is used so much now. I noticed the other day that Café Nero is advertising hand-crafted coffee. Obviously it’s not crafted in the context we think of it but there


18 | ukhandmade | Summer 2011


is a definite societal shift towards handmade that can only be a good thing for the wider sector.


So will there always be a place for craft? We take a positive view. While some crafts-based courses have been cut there are new courses emerging too so hopefully things will bottom


“Work on your marketing and branding”


out. Craft won’t be lost, there is too much evidence of a return to craft especially as it bleeds over into other areas such as the visual arts. Craft can be a verb as well as noun because it is a way of doing things that extends across all sectors driven by different materials and processes. There is a place for all forms of craft.


Etsy and other forums like it are a good thing because they are all part of a continuum, there’s just a different


criteria used to judge them. By getting people engaged in making, it also develops an appreciation for craft; how difficult and challenging it is and how committed you have to be to do it.


Can you give constructive ways in which makers can face the challenges ahead to lessen their impact or overcome them? It’s important


for makers to think


about their objectives and to avoid any exposure to financial risk. Think about your unique selling point or USP. What is it about you and your work that makes you different and really focus on those attributes. Now more than ever it’s important to understand the real value of your work in order to ensure that you are not underselling in any way. Be adaptable to new opportunities in order to survive.


What’s a vital thing to do now? Work on your marketing and branding, it’s so important. A lot of makers at Origin, for example,


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