Designer Maker (Self-employed) - Laura Lane
Laura Lane. Photo credit: Rachel D'Cruze-Sharpe.

Course: BA (Hons) 3D Design; MA Design
 
Current location: Cornwall

“I love my job. I love the quiet days in the workshop throwing pots, listening to the radio; then also the hectic periods: getting ready for a fair, setting up the stand, and talking to customers about my work. Being self-employed means there are many different jobs to do, so it’s always interesting.”

Tell about your career path since graduation.

Since I finished the MA last October, I really haven’t stopped. I showcased my new work at a fair down in Cornwall and picked up a handful of galleries in West Cornwall. After Christmas I worked at Petroc College in North Devon teaching Foundation degree students ceramics, as well as running my business from my studio here in Cornwall. I was selected to showcase at the Contemporary Craft Festival in Bovey Tracey where I won an award (The Tony Piper Award for Craft Excellence), which has also given me the opportunity to showcase my work in the Devon Guild of Craftsmen. Alongside featuring in shops and galleries across the country, I also run weekly workshops and community workshops.

Has your career path changed since graduation?

Before I came to university I was growing vegetables from our smallholding here in Cornwall, so in many ways I’m still playing around with mud! On a more serious note, I was growing vegetables and looking after three young children and it really wasn’t enough for me. As much as it sounds pretty idyllic, I wasn't fulfilled; which is why I came to university as I wanted a career. So things really have changed!

What is the best, most exciting or fun thing that you have done in your career?

Everything! I love my job. I love the quiet days in the workshop throwing pots, listening to the radio; then also the hectic periods: getting ready for a fair, setting up the stand, and talking to customers about my work. Being self-employed means there are many different jobs to do, so it’s always interesting.

What advice would you give to anyone wanting to get in to the same line of work?

Just go for it but always think about the next step. Being a maker means taking a risk. It’s hard to set up a studio and to fill it with the equipment you need before you've even sold a thing. So I would suggest selling at craft fairs or online whilst at university and save up for stuff (that’s what I did), so that when it came to leaving university I pretty much had a working studio ready to use.

How did studying at Plymouth help you?

The BA was great for pointing me in the right direction, and it also gave me a good business grounding which has been invaluable (other courses don't provide as much business skills as Plymouth University – I’ve spoken to students from other universities and they've all complained about this particular issue).

The MA really helped me to focus on what was important and helped me find a process and a way of working. The MA was by far the best thing I could have done. Honestly!

What is your favourite memory of studying at Plymouth?

Time spent in the workshops and ceramic studios with friends and laughing at various plaster related disasters! (There were a few!)