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One Year On: Our 2018 Craft & Design Award winner tells us what the prize has meant to her

Each year, we collaborate with our partners at Cockpit Arts, a Deptford-based business incubator for craftspeople, to offer a special award for professional makers who show particular promise.

The only requirements are that they have been in business for less than three years and that they have aspirations to develop their business. The prize - 12 months of studio space at Cockpit Arts, an insurance package from CLEAR, an array of tailored professional development services from Cockpit, and more - offers them the opportunity to do just that.

Last year’s winner was Stephanie Buttle. When we last spoke to her, she was halfway through her time at Cockpit and was in the midst of putting together what she described as ‘a new discipline’ for her craft in her studio space.

 

Stephanie Buttle

Six months on, and with her time at Cockpit now behind her, we caught up with her again to find out about the difference that the Award made to her practice:

Q. What difference has The Cockpit Arts/Clear Insurance Award made to you, your practice and your business over the last year?

A. The difference that the Award has made is not entirely trackable, because I can’t discount the momentum of my practice as I started the Award.

Q. Are there any particular areas of your practice and/or business that have changed over the last year? 

A. The one-to-one coaching sessions have probably made the most difference to enabling some difficult confusions of direction at the beginning of the Award.

I was able to discuss at length the options to work towards certain goals and with the reassurance of the professional consultations, I feel positive about the clarity that this made to my output.

 

Q. How has the Award affected the growth, development and/or performance of your practice and business?

A. The creative growth development and performance of my practice has been tangible - however because of the area of working i.e., I create as an artist rather than functional repetition, I have not made a financial profit. This makes me realise that I need to find other platforms to represent my work. 

Q. How has the Award affected the profile of your business?

A. There is definitely a rise in interest on my Instagram account and I was featured in Craft magazine last month. There definitely seems to be more interest in my work and approach in general. 

Q. What are you looking forward to most in the coming 12 months?

A. I have several large-scale projects ahead of me, including an ambitious site-specific installation for Hole & Corner at the Port Elliot festival this month. This involves creating an audio/visual experience for the public within a caravan that is elevated four feet off the ground, entirely wrapped inside and out in blankets, to create a representation of the familiar towards an escapism pod for the public to enjoy and to engage with during the festival.

The BCB has commissioned Duncan Hooson and me to create a six-week live performative residency that is within the World of Wedgwood site Stoke-on-Trent. We take inspiration from the gestures and skills of ceramic manufacturing and translate these towards evolving large scale art pieces and choreographed dance works that engage with the public and will produce permanent art pieces to remain on site.

Q. Are there any other comments you would like to make about Cockpit and/or the Award?

A. I am grateful for the experience of the Award, it came at a crucial moment in my practice and I have appreciated fully every aspect.

This response is based on the successes of the experience throughout the Award and I would like to extend my deepest thanks to all the wonderful talented staff at both sites whom I’ve had the good fortune to work with, and to Clear Insurance for being the generous supporters of this incredible opportunity.

Keep an eye out for me and I would like to imagine that in the future I might return to the Cockpit Arts.

 

We’re looking forward to seeing more of Stephanie’s work in the future - and in the meantime, the 2019 Award was recently won by Ula Saniawa. We’ll have an update on her progress in the studio space soon.

Interested in entering for our 2020 Award? Entries will open in a few months time - keep an eye on our Twitter and LinkedIn to ensure you don’t miss out.

CLEAR are committed supporters of craft businesses and have run The CLEAR Insurance Scheme for Craft Workers & Designer-makers, an affordable insurance package tailored specifically to the needs of designer-makers, since November 2002.

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