You graduate from a creative course – and then what? Just a couple of months into my final year at Cardiff School of Art & Design (CSAD) studying Ceramics I began to panic slightly over the prospect of not knowing what exactly what I was going to do after graduating.
One of our modules, ‘Professional Practice’ involved us scouting for opportunities we could embark upon after graduation, and it was then that began thinking about applying for a place in CSAD’s Incubation Unit – the Inc Space.
Essentially Inc Space was offering access to studio space and facilities for around 10 recent CSAD graduates to launch and develop their businesses as practicing artists, designers or makers for an additional year.
The idea of me staying for another year on campus and taking advantage of the amazing workshops and facilities CSAD had to offer was an exciting one – as well as being able to access support from the technical team to develop my practical skills.
The initial investment alone to set up a studio for myself would have been tremendous, so applying for Inc Space was a no brainer. Fast forward a few months and one arduous application process (all of this while going through an intense third year of a Ceramics degree!) I managed to get a spot among the 10 chosen artists.
Exactly a year later I am so glad I took the step of applying, and I’m very excited to what the future holds.
This year has been a great opportunity for me to find my voice as a maker and learn the key skills I need to become a sole trader. I feel like I now have the ability to transfer those skills into setting up a studio for myself, with the ultimate goal of helping other sole traders to establish their practices too.
Inc Space also works with Cardiff Met’s Centre for Entrepreneurship which provides a range of workshops, talks and advice to ensure we are in the best position to succeed in our chosen careers in the long term.
I also feel very lucky to have such a good mix of makers around me – from other ceramicists to woodworkers, textile artists, illustrators and fine artists. All are very good at what they do, and lots of opportunities for collaborations have been discussed. We are all pretty excited to share what we are doing with the public.
We have the opportunity to take part in workshops with external creative sector specialists and learn more about marketing, creative writing, networking, dealing with figures and some less fun but equally essential aspects of business. We even have our very own mentors with whom we meet regularly.
I’ve also made some fantastic contacts and opportunities this year through the Cardiff Met Degree Show and other events like New Designers and Art in Clay Hatfield. I have been able to link up with Rhian Stone, the Senior Programme Assistant at Mission Gallery Swansea – we’re exploring the relationship between my more commercial work within Wales and the realities of showcasing and exhibiting.
I’ve also had a couple of sessions with the Director of Mint Shop in London, Lina Kanafani. This has been an immense help in knowing how my work could fit into the London market and the world of interior design. Maybe one day I’ll see my work at events like the Craft Council’s Collect at the Saatchi Gallery!
It is all really exciting, and there’s so much more to share than I can fit into a blog post – but please feel free to pop into our studio in N Block at the Llandaff Campus for some tea and a chat if you’d like to know more and meet the rest of the INC space crew!
See more of Toni’s work at his website. Looking for more about what Cardiff Met graduates are doing now? Check out our Life After Uni blogs. You can also check out the latest Cardiff School of Art and Design degree show video below: