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What happened next…2017 Winner Mhairi Abbas

We have caught up with our CIDA winners and ones to watch to find out how it really is in the gritty world beyond the glittery awards. It's tough out there we know, but our colourful creative community are doing all right. Read on to find out what they've been doing since the awards and what they are up to now.

What was the first big thing you did after winning the award (new work, exhibition, show, event, meeting, pitch?).

The first big thing I did after winning the award was starting an eleven month design residency. This was really fantastic as it enabled me to quickly produce new work and start my journey on becoming an established designer.

How successful was it and what did you learn?

The residency paired perfectly with the mentorship from the award as I had a base to work from. It was also an extra plus point when applying for funding. I learnt a huge amount. Not least about how to conduct myself in a professional manner and set myself deadlines and goals.

What have been the hardest creative obstacles to overcome recently and do you think you have overcome them?

For me the hardest thing has been keeping a creative energy and focus over an extensive period of time. The temptation is to jump to something new constantly, instead of slowly evolving and improving. I have overcome this in many ways but it is an ongoing challenge that comes and goes.

What have been the best things you’ve done since winning the award and what have you learnt as a result?

One of the best things has been building my own business. It was something I did not think was possible and forced me to step outside of my comfort zone. It has been and continues to be difficult at times but so many things have come from it and I love it! Exhibiting, selling, designing and making my work is a real joy for me and I get such a sense of achievement from it. I have learnt that I can work extremely hard and accomplish a lot by myself. However, it is also okay and very necessary to ask for help too.

What’s next?

In the pipeline are a few exciting projects. I am at the very early stage of creating a new collection, lots of colour sampling and fun to be had there. My work will be part of at least one group exhibition in the first half of the year. Plus, I will be exhibiting and selling my luxury knitted scarves at summer Design Markets so watch this space…

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