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Crafts, China

CASE: Growing UK crafts businesses

updated
February 22, 2021
Published on:
August 30, 2019
January 5, 2021

CASE: 'Hothousing' UK Crafts Businesses

Hothouse 2019
(Above: Hothouse 2019 participant Darren Appiagyei, inthegrain. Image source: Crafts Council)

Hothouse is a six-month programme, started by the Crafts Council, which is designed to stimulate both creativity and commercial skill in makers and crafts businesspeople.

Participating makers complete workshops on topics such as finance, self-presentation, marketing, business growth and creative thinking. They also receive mentorship and 1:1 support.

Since 2010, Hothouse has helped hundreds of makers to identify what they want from their career and how to achieve it.  

Amongst other achievements, Hothouse makers have created installations for Selfridges, Burberry Makers House, exhibited at Design Miami Basel, Milan Design Week, London Fashion Week, won awards and commissions at the Eden Project, Aspex Plymouth and Nottingham Castle, and fulfilled artistic residencies at the British Library`.

One maker helped through the programme has said:

“It was the best thing I could have done at the time and I don't think I would have managed to keep my business going for the last five years without everything I was taught back then.”

Sally Burnett, a member of the North Cohort from the 2016 Hothouse Programme, is quoted on the Crafts Council website saying:

“Hothouse has given me much more than I could ever have hoped for. Confidence, encouragement and opportunities. The possibility of a sustainable portfolio career.”

The Crafts Council has a very broad definition of craft. It is open to a range of disciplines, materials and ideas. If you are a talented maker able to demonstrate the potential to commit to and succeed in your making practice – Hothouse could be for you.

The programme's administrators aim to bring together diverse talented makers from all over the UK.

They particularly welcomes applications from currently under-represented groups in craft. Applicants who identify as Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic and/or as disabled are guaranteed an interview if they meet the essential criteria for the Hothouse programme.

The makers featured in the 2019 Hothouse programme come from a range of classic and more unusual disciplines.

They include a leather worker, a 3D technologist, a toys and automata specialist, a metal worker, three wood workers, three jewellers, five textile makers, five furniture makers and seven ceramicists.

The Hothouse 2019 has 50 per cent representation by ethnic minorities and and/or disabled people than the 2017 programme.

The 2019 Hothouse makers are:

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