William Morris is often sited as an inspiration for the first Labour Party Manifesto. Today many of us working in the traditional crafts feel as if we have been overlooked yet there are potentially great times ahead, hence the need for a Manifesto for Making. Not a manifesto for designing or innovating or being an artist simply for making. Yesterday at the V&A the spring conference of the Heritage Crafts Association centred on the theme manifesto for making. We had great speakers and also participation from the delegates to help create our Manifesto.
Our first speaker was David Hieatt, someone I have long admired but never met. He is making jeans in Wales, his dream is to get 400 people their jobs back and put soul back into a town.
I scribbled notes furiously as he shared gem after gem of wisdom about making and marketing. Here are just a few
"People don't dream about quality, as craftspeople quality should be a given. People dream about changing the world. Sell the dream, your customer wants to be part of the change you want to be in the world."
"LOVE....you get 86,400 seconds a day from the time bank, they are non returnable, use them wisely. Do the thing that matters to you most."
"The best way for your customers to love your work is for you to love it first"
"Embrace Selling, there is no point making gold and selling it as silver"
We followed with a great talk from TV presenter and HCA patron Paul Martin who is passionate about crafts and really wants to get more craft on tv, he encouraged the audience to engage with him through HCA to help pitch ideas to the BBC for better craft shows than have been done in the past.
We had 4th generation wheelwright Phil Gregson running us through his family's history with the trade and the processes of making a wheel.
Deborah Carre gave a great talk explaining the various aspects of her business making the very best bespoke shoes and we were told that if we only remembered one thing it should be that she was a cordwainer not a cobbler, the difference being that she makes best quality shoes from new leather where a cobbler cobbles together and repairs shoes from second hand parts.
The day finshed with Mila Burcikova a dressmaker and expert on William Morris, we could not have a manifesto for making without mentioning Morris.
Mila brough great insights into Morris from different perspectives to those we normally read. One quote from Morris and Co seemed to be rather a theme running through the day,
"It is believed that good decoration, involving rather the luxury of taste than the luxury of costliness, will be found to be much less expensive than is generally supposed”
Good work may apear expensive but if it lasts and does not end in landfill in a coupe of years then it turns out to be good value.
Have a look at the good work by our speakers here
Jeans by Hiut denim
bespoke dressmaking by Mila at Misense
Shoes by Deborah Carre
All in all an inspiring day you can see what other folk thought on the twitter feed here