In the fourth of our Contemporary Dorset Maker series, we talk to Alice Blogg, a Dorset based furniture maker and designer who is carving out a successful career using locally-sourced materials.
Do you see a craft revival happening in the UK, and what does that mean for your practice?
Yes there has definitely been a craft revival in the UK, which is positive for all craft businesses. This does help the wider audience to understand my business and for me to reach out to more clients. The introduction of social media has helped this happen, and therefore can reach every corner of the country, including Dorset.
Dorset has a history of craft and lots of people are creating and always have been, it’s just more people know about us now and can reach us from further afield.
Do you face any challenges as an emerging maker either within the region or wider afield?
Every emerging maker faces many challenges every day. Having a business as a designer/maker isn’t simple and straightforward. You need to face these challenges in your stride. One of my biggest challenges is coping with the demand; this is a positive thing of course!
In any business managing cash flow on large jobs and having the small jobs still running in the background is important.
To grow is essential, and to keep assessing the present state of your creative output and workflow, but knowing when to rest before the next explosion of new work is key!
Tell us how instrumental mentor figures have been in shaping and developing your practice?
I am lucky to have grown up and returned to a place where there is a wealth of incredibly talented furniture designer and makers work and live, including John Makepeace. They have all helped me along my way, always sharing and being open with their wise words and knowledge.
I’m also not shy to ask people a question or two! I have many mentor figures who have really helped me shape my business and understand how to move forward and deal with the projects to hand, not just in Dorset.
Your partner, Fergus Peterkin of arttus.com is also a designer – how often do you collaborate?
Every evening! We talk about our work to each other a lot, we both get excited about each others projects. At the moment we don’t work too much together, we are both excited about the future and the potential of our businesses collaborating more, not just in the evenings. We collaborate constantly on our renovation and design of our lovely little cottage and luscious garden.
To any emerging designer maker based in Dorset, or any rural location for that matter, what is the one piece of advice you would share to help them get started as business?
Social media is one of the most important ways of getting yourself out there to people not in your area. A visual diary to show what you are working on, your thoughts and recent work, making sure the pictures are good.
Keep your website up to date, although I can’t talk! Don’t be afraid to go to events across the country and talk to others in the creative fields. You never know where conversations can lead!
Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?
Living in Dorset! My dream is to continually be able to design and create and to work with others. My partner and I wish to collaborate more, something which will inevitably happen. I feel truly rooted to my practice and it’s always hard to say what the future will hold, hopefully some really exciting projects. If I look back 5 years it’s incredible to see the progress. My desire to collaborate with other makers and design large pieces will hopefully have the same sensitivity as I set out to achieve when I started my business using English Hardwoods. Here’s to the future!
See more work by Alice Blogg on her here
Check out the other Contemporary Dorset Makers here