Louise is the founder of the new Make North pottery studios in Preston City Centre. Make North opened in August 2019 in the former Saul Street Clinic adjacent to Preston Magistrates and Crown Court, they offer community membership, courses and professional studios and held their first open-studio event in November.
Tell me a little about yourself and your background, please?
I grew up in Preston and after completing my Art & Design Foundation Degree at UCLAN moved to Derby to study for a degree in Ceramics, Metal and Print. Following graduation and after working in Community Arts for five years, including work for PRESCAP and Wyre Borough Council, I moved to Edinburgh and established ‘Process Studios’, a community workshops and artist studios for Ceramics, Textiles, Print and Upholstery. During my time in Edinburgh I developed a number of long-term partnerships with community groups and higher education, sat on the Craft Scotland steering group ‘Innovation in Craft Education’ and the selection panels for the ‘Mini Maker Fair’ and the NESTA Enterprise programme ‘Starter for 6’. After handing over management of Process Studios in 2016 I worked as development and programming lead for Kindred Studios in London, before moving back ‘home’ to Preston in February 2019.
What motivated you to set up this business?
My ambition with Make North is to develop an accessible space for the applied arts in Preston, open to all levels from complete-beginners to experienced professionals and to build a thriving collective of northern makers, working with them to develop community programs and events. I chose to start with Pottery as it’s one of the most accessible art forms; we interact with pottery in our daily lives, so we understand it, yet making pottery involves a kind of alchemy and holds a real magic. There are such a huge variety of techniques that can be applied to clay, including print, painting, wheel throwing and casting and it can be used for making everything from expressive sculptural work to functional tableware. It’s also incredibly tactile and working with clay has been proven to be therapeutic.
What types of customers/clients are you aiming to attract?
Our courses and membership are open to everyone and most of our members are complete beginners. Our studios are open to professional designer-makers from all disciplines.
What makes your business unique?
We provide membership, with independent-access to the facilities, as well as a rolling programme of classes, which allows people to develop projects at their own pace and structure their own learning journey. There are three levels of membership to suit hobbyists through to professionals, as well as storage and desk space.
Do you employ any staff in the business?
The courses are taught by three of our professional resident potters, Micaela Schoop, Christine Cherry and Katie Timson.
What services are you currently offering at ‘Make North’?
Our courses include slab building, coiling and surface decoration for beginners and a range of classes for the more experienced. We are thinking of developing a workspace for textiles and related crafts, such as dyeing, sewing and print. In 2020 we will be launching programmes for young people and adults with additional needs.
What are your opening hours?
Public open hours are, Tuesday and Wednesday 3.15- 9.15 pm, Fridays 4:00-7:00 pm and Saturdays 10:00- 1:00 pm
What is the long-term vision for the future of ‘Make North’?
Watch this space, I hope to confirm soon!
How can people get in touch with you if they are interested in finding out more about ‘Make North’?
Information on membership, facilities, courses and studio space can be found online: