Make North opened in August 2019 in Preston City centre, established by Louise Smith as a community maker-space, where members could access facilities such as pottery wheels and print benches, as well as attending formal courses. Seven months after opening Covid-19 struck and Louise launched a home-pottery service and along with Make North's tutors: Christine Cherry, Katie Timson and Micaela Schoop, spent 15months delivering clay to member’s doorsteps, delivering online tutorials, giving advice over the garden fence and collecting & firing members pots. Over 120 households participated, with all ages taking part and some brilliant work was produced.
It was a tough year and even after restrictions were lifted in April things continued to be incredibly quiet in the studio, so in July, with attendance still very low, winter looming and no funding because we were too new to be eligible for government Cultural Recovery Funding, Louise took the decision to give up our premises. Our tools and equipment are all currently in storage and Louise is working with a group of eight long-term members, and new trustees of Make North, to reopen the studio in 2022.
UPDATE OCTOBER 2021
I'm so grateful for everyone's support and encouragement over the past two years, it's not been an easy time, and so I'm delighted that despite the many difficulties I'm now working with a group of eight fantastic members, who have stepped up and jointly taken on responsibility for governing Make North, and on a practical level running the studio.
Our new trustees are doing this all on a voluntary basis and I am incredibly impressed by them; they have already put in a huge amount of work and I know they would value your ongoing support and encouragement as they take the studio through this next transition.
The trustees would like to invite anyone interested in membership to join them for an informal meeting followed by Christmas drinks on Sunday 12th December, in the early evening. Please email email@example.com if you would like to attend.
A joint message from our new trustees
Who are we?
We are a group of eight long-term members who share one goal - we want to ensure this community, brought together through Louise’s tireless efforts and dedication, continues, and thrives.
We believe pottery and the support of a community is great for mental health and self-confidence
We want to highlight the importance of the arts and accessibility
We have a range of valuable skills that we hope will complement a fledgeling co-operative enterprise
We are community-driven and want to give back where we can
Our Action Plan
We have been working with Louise over the past few months to come up with a plan. We hope the future studio will continue to benefit both the Make North membership and wider community, while providing a solid foundation to prepare for whatever could happen next.
TRANSITION from a limited company with a sole director, to a community interest company; a non-profit organisation run by the people who need it most.
COMMUNITY-LED by a team of members, who can share the responsibilities and challenges, and are dedicated to volunteering on a regular basis.
ESTABLISH the studio in new premises, creating an inviting space to ensure Make North can continue providing specialist equipment, tuition, and facilities.
DEVELOP AND DELIVER an exciting programme for 2022, offering glazing, firing, wheel throwing, fundraising, competitions, our own Great Pottery Throwdown part two - the sky’s the limit!
We want to keep Louise’s core values in place. At its heart, Make North should remain a community pottery, which is open to all. We hope you will continue to support Make North as it starts a new chapter in 2022.
You can find information on our new trustees here
Meet our Trustees
I joined Make North in May 2020, early on in the pandemic. As an NHS key worker, maintaining patient facing work in the face of so much uncertainty was more stressful than I realised. Joining make north and having such a creative sensory outlet was a life saver. Louise was amazing in the way she adapted the service, allowing individuals to work from home, when getting together was impossible.
It did not feel right that Make North should not exist any longer, I have met such a wonderful community & I am proud to become a fellow director in order to keep moving forward. The idea of a community cooperative that would enable myself & other creatives, who value this outlet for creative self expression really appealed to me, & quite frankly just felt right after all the work Louise had put in to creating the community. Working as an occupational therapist in acute mental health, never has it been more apparent that engagement in meaningful activity is essential to restoring wellbeing. Make North provides just that.
I joined Make North in May 2021 during one of the first wheel-throwing classes after restrictions were lifted. I had been looking for a new hobby for a while and was hooked after my first class, I have been making ever since. I have found pottery very meditative and it has helped me with my mental health as well as introduced me to a lovely group of people I would never have met otherwise.
As a director, I hope to gain more technical skills and to learn about the processes of pottery as well as create an inviting space for creative people to share ideas and work together.
I believe the community spirit amongst current Make North members is something to be nurtured and shared with the wider public through events and open making sessions.
A lot of work has gone into making Make North what it is today and this deserves recognition as well as dedication to continue on with the mission to make pottery available to more people.
I joined Make North as a member in April 2020 at the beginning of the first Lockdown. I’ve always been creative and had wanted to learn pottery for a long time but never took the leap. Since joining my pottery skills have grown and confidence in my abilities has soared. I’ve found pottery addictive in its mix of joy and excitement when it goes right and frustration and learning when it goes wrong.
My motivation for becoming a Director of Make North is both to continue my personal journey with pottery alongside likeminded people, but also to try and serve more people in the wider community. On a personal level I can see how beneficial being part of Make North has been for my own mental health and that combined with a supportive network of other creatives to spark ideas, share in failures, and cheer successes has been priceless, especially during such a hard 18 months. Having benefited so much from being part of Make North, I would hate to see something that I know first-hand can be beneficial, disappear from the community.
I joined Make North's innovative lockdown pottery service in 2020. Having a new interest and focus was so beneficial during difficult times. The support, via tuitional videos and advice over the garden gate was invaluable to a newbie and it is important to me that Make North continues to be able to offer tuition, services, firing and glazing.
My motivation to become a director stems from wanting to see Make North continue to thrive and grow. Being involved in the studio management will enable the continuance of the facility for the ceramic community which has built up around Make North.
In the short term I want to ensure we can keep the existing community together, assisting and enabling each other on our clay journey. In the longer term I hope we will be able to reach out and include wider audiences and help others enjoy the therapeutic effects of being creative, thus enhancing lives
I joined Make North in January 2020, I’d been running a small art business online for a few years, after graduating from university and I missed having a creative group where I could get feedback and share ideas and inspiration with like-minded people. I have loved the studio atmosphere and the community at Make North.
I’m keen to keep Make North going as I think an open access studio is such a great idea. Louise has taught me practical studio skills, including how to mix glazes, reclaim clay and use the kiln and I’m happy to volunteer wherever needed. Louise has laid a strong foundation which I hope we as members can continue.
Not only has Make North provided specialist equipment and facilities which would be difficult to access otherwise, they have also had experienced tutors sharing guidance and knowledge. I love talking to other members about what they’re working on and having a space to share tips and encouragement.
I joined Make North at the beginning of March 2020, just before lockdown and managed a few hours in the studio trying out wheel throwing. During lockdown I continued to support Make North, using the home pottery service which Louise set up to deliver clay and equipment and putting tutorials on the website. When the studio reopened during different easing of local lockdowns I continued using the studio. I also took part in Make North’s ‘pottery throwdown’ challenge, which was fun and I learnt a lot.
Becoming the trustee of a community organisation is something I would never have previously imagined, but I want Make North to keep going. I love working with clay and the joy of this and the drive to keep it in the community is my motivation.
Louise has put so much work into getting Make North off the ground, making pots in the studio is a lovely way to spend time and it’s important to keep it going.