Each year one show in London hosts all the arts departments from colleges and universities in the country in an exhibition called New Designers. Not only does it give students an opportunity to showcase their work nationally, it is also a barometer for many businesses seeking out new talent.
New Designers had roughly 15,000 visitors last year across the two weeks it was open. There are over 200 courses that exhibit with just over 3000 students taking part. An intriguing element of the show is to invite back the previous year’s exhibitors to see how they have fared during their first year in business.
The show calls it One Year In and here we look at some of those participating in the review.
Last year Alice Funge made her breakthrough at the New Designers show when she was spotted by the National Trust (NT) winning their Associate Award and receiving a prestigious commission to produce a range of work for sale in the NT shops.
She trained at De Montfort University where the course was mixed media with workshops that included metal, textiles, glass and ceramics.
She describes her work as follows;
It is all thrown on the wheel and then decorated with coloured slip and ceramic decals. The slip is poured in and out of the pieces, leaving behind a trail of colour that replicates the marks you get when pouring liquid from a jug or bowl. My work focuses on the everyday – temporary marks that would ordinarily be washed away after baking a cake or measuring an ingredient – and recreates them in slip. The ceramic decals placed around the edges of the pieces and are all parts of recipes, handwritten by my grandma.
The brief from the National Trust was to create an exclusive collection, containing a NT fruit scone recipe which she wouldn’t be able to sell anywhere else as the recipe is theirs. Maintaining her inclusion of her grandma’s handwriting as part of the design, coupled with her love of baking, the recipes were the ideal thing to put on mixing bowls and ‘bakeware’. For the NT commission she has made 144 pieces in total made up of 36 medium bowls, 36 small bowls and 72 jugs.
Invited to return to take part in One Year In and bring a selection of her NT work she was awarded an Associate Prize by the influential UK magazine Country Living.
Since graduating Verity Howard has taken part in an international ceramics residency at Guldagergaard, International Ceramic Research Centre, Denmark. This allowed her to exhibit at the Apple House Gallery, Denmark. Furthermore, she is currently exhibiting her work internationally at the 4th International Ceramics Triennial UNICUM, 2018, in Slovenia. Throughout the year she has taken part in the Crafts Council’s creative business development programme for up-and-coming makers eponymously called, Hothouse. This scheme has had an immense impact on her practice and for six months she was involved in workshop sessions run by the Crafts Council. These lectures and seminars were hosted by a range of diverse and knowledgeable speakers who shared with the makers their experiences of running a successful creative business.
An intriguing element of the show is to invite back previous year’s exhibitors to see how they have faired during their first year in business.