For today’s interview, please welcome ceramic artist Jo Lucksted.
1. Firstly, please introduce yourself and tell us a little about where you are based, for example in which country and part of that country? Hello, my name is Jo Lucksted and I have an open studio/shop on the High Street of a small market town in Somerset, England.
2. Please tell us a little about the nature of your craft/design based business. I am a ceramic artist. I always hesitate when asked to give myself a title as I’m not a potter-in that my work isn’t thrown-I’m more sculptural in how I work, but to say I’m a sculptor conjures images of statuesque bronzes or stone carving! Basically, I tend to make small sculptures and bowls which are decorative rather than functional, and anything else from buttons and brooches, to beads and the bizarre!
3. How did the idea for your business come about? I have always been creative and worked with many media over the years including textiles and silver, but clay has been my first love since A level studies, I went on to study ceramics as a mature student for my own pleasure.
A surprise third pregnancy in my more mature years (!) forced my hand to give up work and take the plunge with becoming a full time maker. It’s funny how things work out sometimes – I would never have had the courage to leave employed work and have faith in my abilities unless I had been pushed! With the shop becoming available at the same time as my maternity leave ending it seemed the right moment to go for it and set myself up in production.
4. How long now have you been established? It’s been three years now that I’ve had my studio, my business is ever evolving and I’m always looking at what’s going on out there and trying to make time to play with new ideas.
5. How do you decide what to make, and how do you come up with your great ideas? I make what pleases me, which comes about in response to flicking through interior magazines, looking in museums and galleries (I’m talking old school here!), religious artefacts, fashion, nature and all objects of curiosity and vintage pieces. Usually, if it’s whimsical, has beauty and isn’t practical it’s either something I love or would love to make. I admire old fashioned craftsmanship.
6. Do you undertake your business on a full-time basis or do you have other work/family commitments? I have a family – three kids spanning the age of 3 up to 18, and a husband, plus a sorely neglected house and allotment. I would say my work is part time but in reality I probably devote more hours to work or work related activity than I did when I was employed and there was a cut-off point. (I’m including facebook as work…which can lead me to be on the computer until stupid o’clock most nights!)
7. Tell us a little about your typical day and what is involved in running the business? Getting up and getting the kids out to school/college and nursery is step one. Once my youngest is at nursery for the morning I go to my studio to get on with making for orders. At the moment most of the work I’m producing is being made to order, although I need some time to be developing new ideas to supply galleries and to put on my website. It’s easy to get stuck in the trap of selling online and then reproducing to replace stock-it’s important to keep coming up with new work but the growth of internet sales has changed the way a lot of makers produce now.
Once I finish physical hands on making, I generally continue with taking photos and uploading images or doing admin or more computer based work in the afternoon and evening. And then there’s posting orders, which always takes more time than you allow for…..all this is making me realise that I need a bit more structure to my week!!
8. What advice would you give to others who are considering running a craft based business? Speak to other craftspeople: they are usually very generous with advice based on their own experiences and can recommend good craft fairs or galleries. Social networking is also a good way to meet other makers and share experiences.
Value what you do: look around to see what others are charging, but make sure that your prices enable you to make a living – you have a skill and an original idea that should be valued, so don’t undersell yourself – it doesn’t do you or other makers any favours!
Get a business head on: being creative and business minded don’t usually go hand in hand but you must be prepared to take a step back and evaluate your business and where it’s going , learn from the past, reflect on what worked and what didn’t and be in a state of constantly assessing what you want to achieve and how to do it.
Self publicise – it’s not a sin! You might have the most amazing product but hiding your light under a bushel doesn’t make sales. I know it feels horrible and might make you cringe to begin with but you have to let people know you’re here and have something to show off!
Finally be prepared to work all hours…it’s worth it eventually!
9. As this is Art of Crafts I have to ask, do you enjoy any crafts yourself in your spare time? If so, please tell us more. In the past I have enjoyed knitting and crochet, but last year took up cross stitch, which has been very addictive! I recently went on a lampshade making course which was great fun and had immediate results – and there are so many amazing fabrics out there. I’m about to do a free motion embroidery class, but would really love to do some print making as it crosses over into ceramics really well. Essentially, I like having a go at most crafts…it’s just having the time to do it all!
10. Finally, if people want to learn more about your business/website do you have a web address, Facebook page or Twitter profile where they can find out more ?
Yes, I have a website which is about to get a shop attached to it:
and I can also be found on facebook at my page Jo Lucksted Ceramics
and I have Etsy and Folksy shops too:
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