Anna Gravelle and the Crafts Council’s Hothouse scheme

Anna Gravelle was selected by the Crafts Council to be one of 38 to take part in their ‘Hothouse’ scheme for emerging makers. Hothouse provides makers within two years of setting up their business with a tailor-made six month programme of business and creative support. For more information about this year’s participants, visit their Facebook page.

Here, Anna speaks about her experience of the scheme.

“I applied for the Hothouse scheme last summer as a way of keeping my momentum going after finishing an MA in Textile Design at Bath Spa University and to help propel my fledgling business forward. I also saw the opportunity as a way of connecting [read, flaunting myself!] with the Crafts Council and a neat way of networking with other design and craft peers.

The intensive programme started in January and I can categorically say it is a fantastic opportunity. I am in the South West cohort of designers and we are a diverse group that includes glass artists, ceramic artists, textile designers and furniture makers from Wiltshire to Cornwall.

To date we have had sessions about our business values, presentation, accountancy, writing press releases, successful statement writing and all have been immensely enlightening. Last week we were in Bovey Tracey, the home of the Devon Guild of Craftsmen and the Contemporary Craft Fair, where we had peer reviews with some established makers and players – glass artist Sally Fawkes, Beatrice Mayfield Textiles and Saffron Wynne, Exhibition Manager for the Devon Guild of Craftsmen. We had to bring an old piece and a new piece of work to the session to discuss and the outcome of the day was very positive with creative problems being resolved and new product ideas being suggested. It was also a great chance to see everyone’s lovely work again.

The highlights of the scheme so far is the specialist mentoring , the support from the Crafts Council in opening doors for us [we get special dispensation at certain craft fairs] and the bond we have formed as a group. I feel pretty special to have been selected for this prestigious scheme.”

One of the exercises from an early planning session.

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