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We Are MA: Textile Design graduate selected for Craft Council’s Hothouse

Lizzie Kimbley graduated from MA Textile Design in 2019. In 2020 she was selected for the Craft Council’s Hothouse programme, a creative and business development programme for emerging makers and businesses, so we catch up with her to discuss the experience and life since graduating. 

Can you tell us a bit about your practice?

I’m an artist and maker working with woven textiles to create contemporary artworks for galleries and interior spaces. Conscious of the volume of waste sent to landfill each year and the need to value our natural resources, I explore responsible textiles and circular design. Walking and a connection to place form the narrative behind my work.

Can you tell us about the Craft Council’s Hothouse 2020 programme?

Hothouse is the Crafts Council’s creative business development programme for up-and-coming-makers. I was very excited to be selected as it’s such a prestigious programme. Hothouse works with many of the UK’s leading craft and design organisations to provide the tools to grow sustainable and successful businesses and build professional networks.

For Hothouse 2020, the Crafts Council selected 26 maker businesses covering a broad range of disciplines including six ceramists, five jewellers, five furniture makers, five textile makers, two metal makers, two leather makers, a milliner and a maker who works with lino products.

Why did you decide to apply for the Crafts Council’s Hothouse 2020 programme?

My practice and business seem to have evolved by ‘just seeing what happens next’ and I wanted more focus and a longer-term plan to work towards. Also, I really valued being part of the creative community at NUA so hoped to join a group of like-minded makers within Hothouse.

Over the years I have been inspired by many of the Hothouse alumni especially those in textiles and weave. It’s been inspiring to see their ambition and watch their progress.

“It has helped me to build a creative business toolkit that I can refer to in the years to come. “

What support and resources have you received as part of the process?

The Hothouse programme has been amazing. It has helped me to build a creative business toolkit that I can refer to in the years to come. We’ve had sessions on designing our future and business modelling, finance, communication and presentation skills, marketing, networking, creative thinking and business growth. The sessions built towards creating a business plan that we presented to a panel and received feedback on.

As well as the fantastic support and encouragement from the Hothouse facilitators and other participants, we were also matched with a mentor for 6 months after Hothouse.

Have you had the chance to meet other makers on the programme? 

Yes. Hothouse started in February 2020, so we were still able to meet for a few sessions before the lockdown in March. After this the training went online so we were still meeting regularly over Zoom.

It’s been great to be part of a group of such talented makers. Everyone is supportive and encouraging and I’ve definitely been inspired to dream bigger and aim higher.

In what ways have you noticed your practice change or develop over the six month period?

The most important thing for me has been learning about vision and planning longer-term rather than just looking for the next thing. I have a firmer vision of what I want to achieve in the next 10 years and I have a plan of how to get there. I’ve also really valued working with a mentor.

See more of Lizzie’s work on her website and Instagram

Explore MA Textile Design