Making it

Making it

Craft NI's making it programme is focussed on supporting designer-makers as they take their first steps towards establishing sustainable craft businesses.

Every two years, the programme places studio-based craft businesses within host organisations throughout Northern Ireland. Each making it programme normally hosts up to eight designer-makers and is a very competitive programme attracting a large number of applications.

In 2015, we celebrate the 10th anniversary of the making it programme. The innovative making it programme has supported a range of start-up craft businesses since its establishment in 2005, investing a total to date of £200,000 with many designer-makers going on to have sustained local, as well as international success. Read more about a sample of the programme's participants, where they are now HERE. Watch the videos to see how the making it programme benefitted their careers.

Video (Part 1 - courtesy of Arts Council NI) -

Video (Part 2 - courtesy of Arts Council NI) -

making it is funded by Invest Northern Ireland and the Arts Council of Northern Ireland

making it 2015 Programme Participants (this programme runs until 2017)

The new range of participants of making it 2015-2017 have recently been selected and placed with host organisations across Northern Ireland, from Belleek in Co. Fermanagh to FabLab in Belfast. See below for further details.

Maker Medium Host Organisation
Andrew Cooke Andrew is a maker of unusual ceramic instruments & strange things. South Eastern Regional College, Bangor
Nicola Drennan Nicola makes ceramic sculptures, giftware and jewellery from stoneware clay. Studio Souk, Belfast
Helen Faulkner Helen is a potter designing and making tableware with a rich red clay and a range of contemporary colours. South Eastern Regional College, Downpatrick (Apr - Oct 2015) & Down Arts Centre, Downpatrick (Nov 2015 - March 2017)
Sasha McVey Sasha is a contemporary designer-maker who creates a range of unique, high quality ceramic wares including sculptural vessels, functional wares and commissioned ceramics. Northern Regional College, Ballymena
Malcolm Murchison Malcolm has a particular interest in the ‘hot crafts’ processes of ceramics and glass. Ulster University Belfast School of Art
Angela O'Keefe An exploration of colour and texture, Angela's jewellery is defined by its unique language using salt crystals, glass shards and crushed silicon carbide in combination with precious metals, resin and pigment. Surgery Studios, Belfast (Apr-Sept 2015), Belfast & Ulster University Belfast School of Art (Sept 2015 - March 2017)
Wendy Ward Wendy is a designer-maker of bespoke porcelain lighting. Belleek Pottery Ltd, Fermanagh

making it 2013 Programme Participants (this programme runs until October 2015).



Host Organisation

Lauren Scott Textiles Project 24/North Down Museum, Bangor
René Mullin Printed Textiles Belfast School of Art
Julie Scott Ceramics Belfast School of Art
Aine McKenna Ceramics Down Arts Centre, Downpatrick
Rebecca Killen Ceramics Southern Regional College
Kirsty Martin Jewellery Flowerfield Arts Centre, Portstewart
Shauna McGowan Printed Textiles Seacourt Print Workshop, Bangor

making it 13 participants delivered their final presentations on the 27 October 2015 at Invest NI and have now completed the programme.

Carousel image: making it 13 participants with facilitator Francis Verling, Alan Kane, Chief Executive, Craft NI, Suzanne Lyle, Director of Visual Arts, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, Gráinne McVeigh, Invest NI Director of Consumer Products. 

What is making it?

 making it is a model of best practice in craft enterprise development and aims to support:

  • development of quality craft practice
  • establishment of sustainable craft business
  • development of a network of expertise for emerging craft businesses
  • development of audiences and markets for contemporary craft

Since 2005 making it has supported 28 participants working with 17 host organisations: View a full list of making it makers and host organisations

The current 2-year placements began in November 2013.

(VIDEO) Craft NI Chief Executive discusses the benefits and aspirations of the making it programme, while current participant René Mullin, Placed, talks about how the programme is supporting the development of her craft business. Watch the video HERE.

Who for?

 The programme is open to:

  • motivated, ambitious designer-makers who want to see their business grow within the craft industry;
  • arts centres, educational institutions and other arts and cultural organisations that will benefit from a maker's creative input;
  • commercial businesses in partnership with local cultural organisations and local enterprise agencies.

What’s on offer to makers?

 Selected makers will receive a comprehensive package of support including:

  • Studio space, overheads and additional support services
  • A place on Craft NI’s business development programme (currently running for the 2013-15 participants)
  • Audience development and facilitation opportunities
  • Makers may also apply to the Arts Council of Northern Ireland’s SIAP (Support for the Individual Artist Programme). This can be used towards equipment and other resources (subject to ACNI application). During the 2013 programme, this had the potential to amount to up to £9,000 of funding over 2 years. However, in light of the current government funding cutbacks, it is unclear if SIAP will be available in the future. A decision to participate in the making it programme should not be based solely on an expectation that you will receive SIAP funding.

What's on offer to host organisations?

  • Professional, creative input from skilled makers
  • Programme and audience development opportunities
  • Strengthened links to creative industries & enterprise economy

Business Development Programme

Over the course of each two year making it programme, Craft NI runs a business development programme which is designed not only for makers taking part on the making it programme, but is also open to all makers interested in attending. The final sessions of the current Business Development Programme are taking place in the coming months, with the 2015-2017 beginning later this year. Read more about the Business Development Programme HERE.