How do you view Scotland as a place for celebrating craft?
There are definite improvements that could be made but there is also a lot of excellent work going on here, which could be celebrated more. We need to strengthen what happens within Scotland and then showcase it elsewhere. There is less of a market here, but that can change.
What actions do you think would positively impact craft and making in Scotland?
There should be a better understanding and support system – sharing of knowledge, experience and opinions on a peer-to-peer level. This happens naturally but I think it should be encouraged – often the support systems that are in place are out of touch. Funding opportunities should go directly to designers/makers and organisations that exhibit and sell their work.
What actions do you think would positively impact the craft sector in Scotland?
Craft education and departments are declining when there should be an increase in these skills. How can we invest in skill at all levels of education, from early years through to PhD and also support more short courses? More inter-generational skills sharing would be really useful too. There should be more routes into craft careers and enterprise alongside increased research into craft as a way of looking to the past to inform the future – a focus on material and the rich heritage that we have here.
Through all of this there should be more priority given to craft in arts funding, enabling us to connect material knowledge and traditional skills with digital tools and new technologies.
Mhari McMullan is a textile designer, curator and consultant. She works across exhibitions, retail and education in craft and design. Mhari graduated from Central St Martins in 2003 and relocated to Glasgow in 2007. She opened Welcome Home in 2009, is co-curator of Early Learning and is also a founding director of Collect Scotland. All her work stems from a preoccupation with pattern.