A new year always brings new beginnings and there’s none more pivotal than setting up a studio and getting ready to take a creative business to the next level. This month has us welcoming three makers to Cockpit in Deptford and, as it’s a challenging time for many small businesses and especially for those on the first rungs of the ladder, we’re looking forward to enabling them to achieve their ambitions.
We were deeply impressed by the determination shown by ceramicist Izzy Letty who has already gained recognition for her work. In 2020 she was invited to be a Young Artist in Residence at the Guldagergaard International Ceramics Research Centre in Denmark: “these places are usually reserved for graduates from art schools who’ve been recommended by their tutor” Izzy told us, “however, as I am largely self-taught, I was awarded a place off the back of my portfolio alone.”
Izzy’s ambition is to be a proficient designer and maker of handmade ceramic tableware for restaurants and homeware stores. “I would love to collaborate with chefs and interior designers to create ceramic ranges bespoke to chefs’ menus or designers’ visions.” Her next steps are to purchase the right equipment and hone her skills for the volume of production and quality that she has planned. With the guidance of Cockpit’s expert team of business coaches, Izzy aims to master the essential tools of marketing, planning and perfecting her vision. “After a great deal of research, I know that Cockpit would be perfect to help me progress.”
Textile artist Annalisa Middleton specialises in embroidered fine artworks and fashion accessories using metal threads and wires. She established her practice 6 years ago but before that, worked as a costume maker, stylist and events curator for Prangsta costumiers for 7 years, learning millinery, corsetry, dressmaking and prop making.
Annalisa is fully aware her aims are less than conventional within the crossover world of art and fashion. “I believe slow textiles and the craft of embroidery has place in the fine art world and has been gaining notoriety in more recent years, with flourishing artists like Michelle Kingdom, Henry Hussey and Louise Gardiner. That’s not to say my future path as a maker is completely uncoupled from fashion; I’m still passionate about good design.” And she’s constantly developing her vocabulary of skills: “I’ve started learning to engrave metals with Castro Smith who’s based at Cockpit in Holborn. I have an engraver tool making workshop planned with Mariko Sumioka and an embossing tool making workshop with book binder Brien Biedler.”
So why Cockpit for Annalisa? “I’ve known about Cockpit since I started working for Prangsta costumiers on Creekside in Deptford. I’m looking forward to working alongside this network of makers and exhibiting with one of the best open studio events I’ve been to in London.” She expands: “I’m dedicated to carry on making these works but I need to find a way for my work to support me rather the other way around. The business support from Cockpit will be most helpful. I need to learn these skills to better manage myself on a daily basis but also to help me identify what exactly my creative business is, whether I’m a brand or an artist/maker. Can I be both?!”
Camilla Hanney is the recipient of the Cockpit/Newby Trust Craft Excellence Award 2022. She’s a ceramicist graduating from Goldsmiths’ University with a Masters’ Degree in Fine Art and a bursary awardee of Sarabande: The Lee Alexander McQueen Foundation. Camilla tells us: “working through ceramics, sculpture and installation, my practice explores themes of time, sexuality, cultural identity and the corporeal, often referencing the body in both humorous and challenging ways.”
The benefits of our Newby Trust Award will set Camilla off on the important next stage now that she’s identified her challenges: “I have always created work of a sculptural nature; however, ceramics arrived relatively late in my practice. Although I had access to a kiln during my degree, I have never received any formal training in ceramics. I work mainly using hand built clay techniques and the basic skills I rely on are all self-taught. My lack of technical knowledge often frustrates and puts physical restraints in the way of my achieving the type of work I want to create.”
Camilla expands: “The award will provide me with the ability to really take risks with ceramics and allow myself room for error and failure in learning the language of clay. It will allow me time to truly play with the material and experiment with scale alongside new techniques. It will also provide me with confidence and support in my practice and art making. I feel at this very early, precarious stage in my career that support holds immeasurable worth.”
You can follow the progression of these talented makers via their Instagram accounts – @camilla.hanney @letyceramics @annalisaluciana – and we hope you’ll come along to meet them in person at our Summer Festival and Open Studios in June. Watch out for more details in our newsletters and on social media.