A north-east jewellery designer is one of the latest creatives to benefit from a tailored package of support provided by Craft Scotland.
Aberdeen-based Emma Louise Wilson is set to graduate from the Compass Emerging Maker programme in March 2022 and says she is already reaping the benefits.
Compass offers a programme of learning and business development that includes mentoring, practical business training and access to upskilling designed to build resilience into the craft sector.
Craft Scotland said the scheme “helps spotlight and support the potential of some of the country’s most exciting makers from those reimagining traditional crafts in a design-led contemporary way to those leading the way in producing sustainable, ethical handmade objects”.
Emma, who makes fine silver and enamel jewellery as well as hand-raised bowls inspired by Scottish landscapes and weather, told the P&J this week: “Being on the Compass Programme for Emerging Makers has really helped me focus on how to grow and develop my business.
“We have done a lot of in-depth work on how to run the business, how to promote it, the financial side, social media, pricing, etc. I feel much more confident in my ability to do what I need to do to run a successful creative business now that I have that knowledge underpinning everything.
“As much as I love what I do, it’s not a hobby and so it needs to be sustainable, and hopefully as it grows I’ll be able to pay myself a decent wage and contribute to our family income.”
“Creative businesses are a huge part of the economy these days and so knowing how to structure the business and how to grow it in a manageable way is very important if I want it to last long term.
“Just as important is the wonderful community aspect of the course; the seven of us on the cohort are really supportive of each other. I am also getting much better at networking which is such an important part of business and one that I have certainly avoided in the past!”
Jo Scott, head of programmes at Craft Scotland, said: “Scotland-based makers enjoy many advantages, from excellent further education courses across the country, a strong heritage of making here in Scotland and an outward-facing sector keen to embrace new technologies and international influences to create new work.
“Despite this, makers in Scotland face their own set of unique challenges, many of which have been heightened by the impact of Brexit and the pandemic, including access to craft markets and fairs, disrupted supply chains or access to digital infrastructure for online-based businesses.
“Craft Scotland developed Compass in 2018 to focus on developing craft talent following a period of research and maker feedback. We have now had over 50 makers go through the programme.”