Made In Plymouth served up a new range of souvenirs from Plymouth-based artists and makers at an exhibition in Royal William Yard’s Ocean Studios, which showcased a range of textiles, ceramics, jewellery, kitchenware and more, all inspired by the city of Plymouth and brought to life by additional backgrounds and illustrations created by Plymouth College of Art BA (Hons) Fine Art graduate Sarah Smalldon.
It was a fab example of the creation of a creative CIC (community interest company aka social enterprise) to big up the city and support artists with a social enterprise souvenir line.
A social enterprise souvenir line
From the first wave of ideas submitted to Made In Plymouth, 20 were chosen for prototyping, and these prototypes and designs are now on show at Ocean Studios, including Plymouth street sign badges, Plymouth coastline ceramic cups, and glass vases inspired by the history of settlers leaving Plymouth in the Mayflower.
Artist Sarah Smalldon, who has created fridge magnets, notelets, tea towels and prints for Made In Plymouth, said: “I graduated from Plymouth College of Art with a first class degree in BA (Hons) Fine Art in 2011, and won the Ben Hartley Fine Art Award in the same year.
“My degree focused on home and dwellings, leading me to switch to illustration after graduating, to draw buildings. I’m inspired by the different architectural styles of Plymouth.
“I work now as a ‘house portraitist’ from my home studio in Peverell and also my studio at Ocean Studios, where I can make larger pieces of work. I create house portraits, illustrating people’s homes (and families), wedding venues, favourite restaurants… Working with Made In Plymouth gave me an excellent opportunity to share my love of local architecture with visitors to the city.”
An alternative to mass-produced
The inspiration behind the founding of Made In Plymouth was to create a unique and beautiful range of locally-designed, produced and retailed souvenirs to showcase the incredible artists and makers that call Plymouth home, as an alternative to the kind of mass-produced items available to tourists in most other major cities.
We Built This City
A similar project was set up in London in 2014, called We Built This City, and was a massive success. We Built This City founder Alice Mayor visited Plymouth for the Made In Plymouth CIC announcement event to share support and advice.
A city of makers
Jenny Bishop, head of Marketing and Communications at RIO, said: “As a city of makers, filled with incredible talent, it is only right that visitors are offered souvenirs that are authentic.
“This range, made and produced by Plymouth-based talent, celebrates our city, our lifestyle and supports the creative industries based here.”
Social Enterprise Investment Fund
Made in Plymouth received initial support from Plymouth City Council through its Social Enterprise Investment Fund. Once operational, commission from selling souvenir products will fund the ongoing management of the project, along with the time and expertise invested from the partners.
Artists and makers
The complete list of artists and makers whose designs were in the first wave of Made In Plymouth products includes: Plymouth College of Art BA (Hons) Fine Art graduate Sarah Smalldon, BA (Hons) Graphic Design graduates Alice Bailey, Eve Gill, and Adam Endacott (with Plymouth College of Art Employer Engagement Manager Sarah Holcombe), BA (Hons) Illustration graduate Kate Coffin, BA (Hons) Printed Textile Design & Surface Pattern students Jessica Swinmurn, Sean Weller, Emma Corner, Emma Morris and Eleanor O’Rourke, BA (Hons) Ceramics graduate Rebecca Roberts, BA (Hons) Illustration students Michael Spark and Rowen Griephan Culshaw, BA (Hons) 3D Design Crafts graduate Rosie Groom, BA (Hons) Jewellery and Silversmithing graduate Val Muddyman, jewellery designer and former Plymouth College of Art staff member Clare Elizabeth Kilgour, Plymouth College of Art Glass Workshop Coordinator Lawrence West, and French illustrator Clarisse Thomas, who spent the past year studying BA (Hons) Illustration at Plymouth College of Art through the Erasmus+ programme.
top image: Emma Corner Made in Plymouth skylines tote bag
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