What are the main occupations in this sector?
There is a diverse range of careers in craft and design which are equally challenging, innovative and fulfilling. Training as a craftsperson or designer opens up a variety of career opportunities. You could be a self-employed designer/maker in areas such as fashion, textiles, ceramics, jewellery or furniture design, or how about working as a design consultant, a museum/gallery curator, a retail buyer, college lecturer, multimedia CAD designer or even a trend forecaster. There is a wide range of options open to you by simply following your desire to express yourself through your skills and creativity.
You could consider becoming:
- Self-employed designer and craftsperson in a range of areas such as: fashion, textiles, ceramics, jewellery, furniture making
- Studio-based production, design and manufacturing
- Design consultancy
- Museum or Gallery Curator
- Educator, College Lecturer
- Retail Buyer
- Multi-media CAD Designer
- Trend forecaster
Get inspired to pursue an exciting career in the craft and design sector! View work from a range of makers and designers as varying stages of their careers:
Future Makers works to support third level students and emerging makers who wish to persue a career in the craft and design sector: www.futuremakers.ie
Design Ireland connects a diverse community of makers retailers and design lovers in a commercial and creative space:www.designireland.ie
PORTFOLIO actively works to grow the reputations of makers across all major disciplines of contemporary craft. Featured makers are those producing innovative objects, either one-off pieces or limited editions, and working to high standards of design quality and technical skill: www.irishcraftportfolie.ie
TISSUE is a womens ready-to-wear label based in Dublin. Our clothing is designed and made in Ireland using high quality natural fabrics. TISSUE clothes are 100% ethically and sustainably produced. http://www.tissue.ie/
We work on very different schedules. Hannah is an early bird, in the studio by 8.30am and out the door at 4pm, Gráinne works better in the evening. We start each collection with a chat about what has been on our radars lately, in terms of cultural theory/design ideas etc. and then set out design and production deadlines and go from there. Gráinne does all our print design so she’ll be off drawing and tinkering on the computer and Hannah works on the garment design and construction process. Each collection is supported by ongoing visual research, we have a giant mood board in the studio and we often break to discuss what way things will work together. There is a lot of admin involved as well so that takes up quite a lot of time. We have a shared studio space with a few other designers so there is a really nice supportive and creative atmosphere.
What types of employment contracts are there?
Generally those in contractual positions within the crafts sector (so not self-employed) are either in full-time positions or part-time roles. There are limited opportunities for job sharing or remote working.
What are the typical earnings of these occupations?
DCCoI are currently conducting a survey of the sector and will post this information on the site, when it becomes available.
How do you get a job in this sector?
Creativity, a love of materials and process are a good basis for choosing a career in craft or design. Additionally an interest in business is useful if thinking of setting up your own enterprise. You will need passion and determination to succeed and stand out in this sector, and good interpersonal skills are an advantage for networking.
Finding a job or establishing a business:
Jobs in the sector are found through a number of means. Being subscribed to the right newsletters and alerts is key. It is therefore very important for those studying a craft or design discipline to make contact and become members of professional networks. For example the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland (DCCoI) has free student membership.
Internships, workplacements and volunteering are also good ways to make connections and begin getting experience in this area. But sure to select your internship or placement carefully so that you will get the most benefit out of it. Does the organisation you are working with have a good reputation? What kind of work you will get to do while you are there? Can you ask a past intern how they found working there? Is it in the right area for where you want to go in career?
If you are thinking of setting up a craft or design enterprise in the future you might want to look at the DCCoI enterprise website.
You can also seek advice from your Local Enterpirse Office.
FURNITURE: Alan Merideth Studios
From a young age I had a desire to make things from all sorts of materials. Over the years wood became my material of choice. The disciplines of woodturning and furniture making traditonally use solid wood and so I was naturally attracted in this direction.
Studying Architecture came about from a desire to explore design and making from a broad perspecive. Setting up my studio after my studies was an attempt to steer my career towards a creative process with more physical involvement.
What has your career looked like so far?
Throughout my time in university I was making and selling my furniture and
installations that are both material based and with substantial spacial consequences.
Lately I have produced a distinct collection of furniture and turned vessels which have been exhibited both nationally and interna6onally. I produce both speculative and bespoke commissions from my workshop. This allows me to maintain a steady workflow while also giving space for experimentation.
The work I have produced over the last couple of years is sold at fairs and through galleries and I have won a number of awards including the Tresor Discovery Award in Basel, Switzerland and the Future Maker of the Year award from the DCCOI.