Earlier this summer I was privileged to be invited to Central St. Martins to take part in an event called CSM MAKE, Women in Making along side other amazing makers including Harriet Vine, Chloe Marlow, Karice Liela and Rachel Matthews. All invited makers were asked to participate in a panel discussion and then lead a workshop sharing some of their skills or experience as a maker .
CSM invited women from local children’s centres, community college and other groups to come and meet the makers and get tips and advice on different ways to get into a creative, practical, career as well learn new skills.
I decided to make a bench in my workshop using the design we came up with for Bonny Downs community garden. I really enjoyed sharing, with the invited women, the skills, knowledge and confidence I have acquired over the years as a women who works with materials, and at a scale, that is often perceived as male work.
Interestingly I was the only invited maker who was employed as opposed to self-employed. Often being self employed is presented as the only way to have a career as a creative person and while it has many benefits around being able to be flexible and setting ones own agenda it is also a lot of work. You are entirely responsible for every single aspect of your business, not just the creative fun bits but also the finances, tax returns and admin and if you are sick, you don’t get paid. People who are successfully self-employed are, in my view, super human and I have massive respect for them. I tried it and found it too much for me.
Women often already hold most of the responsibility and day to day logistics of their home life and the prospect of becoming self employed on top of that can seem daunting or straight up impossible. As a single mum it was great to be able to stand up and be living proof that there are alternative ways to have a successful, fun and fulfilling job as a maker that include holiday pay, sick pay and best of all, how ever much you enjoy your job, you get to leave at 5.30pm and not think about it again until 9.30am the next day.
By Eva Freeman, Co-DB Play