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How did you experience the first year of the Starter Studio Programme? What did you find difficult and what was fantastic? The difficulties for me in the beginning were practical ones. Although I had spent 3 years studying in Manchester, my permanent home for the previous 12 years had been near Basel in Switzerland. My experience as an expat had taught me that the first year can be a lonely one, and I was acutely aware that I lacked confidence in starting a new business. Accepting the place on the starter program meant the time had come to permanently relocate to the UK, adjust to a new city, new faces and new challenges far away from my friends and family. However, for me the excitement of change is enticing so my boxes were packed.
How do you think you have benefited from the support you have been given by Yorkshire Artspace? What has been fantastic on the program has been the quality of the studio space. My previous studio had a leaking roof, no heating, a blocked sink and no kiln - not a particularly motivating environment to start your career from. Today my toes are warmed by under floor heating, my ceramics cooked by two kilns and the washing up can been done with an uninterrupted flow of hot water. It is not surprising that productivity has increased. It has been in this comfort that I have been able to focus on developing my working method, refining my practice and building my strong individual identity. The support from Yorkshire Artspace has been incredible. Guidance and advice, in particulr from my mentor Susan Disley, has helped develop my technical skills and position my creative work. The delivery of business workshops by Mir Jansen the program manager has alleviated some of the fears of what and how to do things. Tapping in to the wealth of knowledge and enthusiasm from the generous creative community around me has dispersed the sense of isolation and my three studio buddies along with resident artist Edith Garcia have brought a warmth and professional atmosphere to the studio. I feel very lucky there is always somebody available for support across the whole spectrum of needs from emotional to practical.
What are your aims for your final year? My final year is a busy one. My work is now in the public eye in several galleries in the Northwest and I have been selected by the Craft Council as one of the participants of the Hothouse 3 program, an awesomeopportunity and expansion to my creative network to a national level. Its been a long time coming but I will launch my web site and my new branding in time before the large shows start later in the year and for the first time I will be taking my work south as far as Bovey Tracy via London. I don’t know how many more times I need to relocate in the future, the next one arrives in October when the new intake of starters will replace me and I will need to set up a studio elsewhere. Back to packing boxes. Still, exciting times ahead.