A new pottery studio is now open in Preston city centre.Advertisement
Make North, which is based in the former Saul Street Clinic, opened on Monday 15 July. It provides pottery facilities, with courses, private workshops and membership, plus studio space for designer-makers working in any discipline.
The building comprises a large, light and airy space where the shared facilities and workshops are held. Supporting facilities such as the kiln, glazing and sinks, and dusty space are in separate rooms either side, while the rentable studio spaces are found in the wings.
Founder Louise Smith has been busy putting the finishing touches to the studio with the help of donations.
Louise said: “We received donations of equipment plus money from a philanthropist who has set up an organisation called Woom to support start ups and the creative industries.
“He’s also got a team together to run a mentoring programme for the people in the studio spaces. There’s a marketer, accountant, gallerist and himself, who will give their time to help with business planning, etc. This will be really invaluable while people are starting out.”
Louise has more plans to help emerging designer-makers and artists.
“I’m looking for business sponsorship for subsidised studio spaces. As well as business support and mentoring, people starting out could actually just do with not paying anything for six months so they can focus on getting their business off the ground.
“The idea is one business would ‘adopt’ a designer-maker and pay £1,000 to cover studio space for six months. The business would then be credited in exhibitions and any publicity materials.”
Louise has also been fine-tuning the services on offer.
She said: “We welcome everyone, from absolute beginners to experienced potters.
“After listening to feedback, questions and requests from loads of people, we’re starting with an introductory offer of unlimited classes and courses with storage for £60 per month.
“The artists who teach the courses each have a studio space. They’re already winning awards, doing national shows and getting stocked in places like Liberty.
“In future there’s potential to expand the shared facilities and courses, for instance into woodworking or jewellery making, but for now we’re focusing on pottery. I know there’s the demand for it, particularly with BBC Two’s The Great Pottery Throw Down being popular.
“Also we have UCLan’s MA Ceramics course in the city, which is one of only seven in the country. It’s a really good course and all the tutors are practising ceramicists. So far every person in our studio space is a graduate of the course.”
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After running a similar enterprise with great success in Edinburgh, Louise moved to London where she worked in community development.
She said: “I was working in the community but realised it was not in my own community, so I decided it would be nice to come home and do something in Preston.
“Preston has changed massively in the past few years. UCLan has really grown and the retention of students seems to be higher, and that changes the dynamic, particularly in the United city centre. There’s also so much building, and lots of new apartments, so it is becoming a city-living type place.
“I also love the Preston Model and the focus on things being local and cooperative, and supported from the ground up by Preston City Council. I think it’s an exciting time to be part of Preston.”
To find out more visit the Make North website.
Will you be going to Make North? Let us know in the comments below.