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 the award was to deliver my first substantial commissioned piece, which I'd been working on for several months: a huge rippled walnut slab dining table for a private client, which is very different from the work for which I won the award!
How successful was it and what did you learn?
The piece turned out really well, although getting it up into the first floor of the renovated industrial property was a particular challenge involving a crane and several strong helpers! In my line of work it's very easy to get caught up in your own little world, but this project really opened my eyes to the need to ask for, and accept, help from others.
What have been the hardest creative obstacles to overcome recently and do you think you have overcome them?
My main challenge is getting the balance right between taking on commissions and producing new, more experimental work. Commissions are what currently keeps my business going, however as these are typically for private clients they aren't usually available for exhibition. Unless I find time in between to make new work, I run the risk of having nothing to take to shows or galleries. I worry that I may drop off people's radars as a result. To combat this, I'm being a little more selective this year about which shows to target, whilst continuing to develop ideas for new work, potential creative collaborations and more efficient production methods.
What have been the best things you’ve done since winning the award and what have you learnt as a result?
Off the back of the award and the New Designers show I received quite a few enquiries from architectural resource centres, trend forecasters, design consultancies and interior designers about my surface materials. Samples have since been placed in a number of materials libraries which have sparked a series of follow-up enquiries with a range of potential clients from food marketeers and high-end shoe retailers to architects and interior designers. I've been following up on these and hopefully one or two interesting opportunities will bear fruit in 2019.
Since winning the award I've also had a number of other experiences that were really interesting and helpful. I participated in three further exhibitions in 2018 which were very varied in terms of curation approaches and target audiences. This enabled me to build a better picture of how and where my different kinds of work appeal. Off the back of those exhibitions I took custom orders for the pieces I had on show at New Designers. Producing and delivering those, meeting the clients and seeing the incredible homes into which they were being placed, was really rewarding and helped me to feel like my fledgling business is going somewhere.
I'm currently working on a couple of commissions for some well-known public figures at home and abroad, which is very exciting! There are also a few other projects in the pipeline which will hopefully come off in the coming months, so things are looking reasonably good and busy for the time being, along with spending as much time as possible with my six-week old son! My aim for 2019 is to build and maintain this creative momentum, so that the business has a healthy, sustained order book through the year and beyond.