Ireland has a strong heritage in craft and design, for example the famous Kilkenny Design Workshops. Our skills in creating are renowned worldwide. The craft industry is estimated to be valued at €122M.
There is a diverse range of careers in craft and design which are equally challenging, innovative and fulfilling. A wide range of options are open to you by simply following your desire to express yourself through your skills and creativity.
There are a number of routes to becoming a highly skilled craftsperson or designer. Many people choose to study in a college of further education or undertake a third level degree. Others take up an apprenticeship with a craftsperson or design studio.
It is advisable to get experience where you can. Try volunteering, maybe think about an internship or other work experience to give you a taste of the area you feel you might be interested in.
Glen Lucas is a professional Woodturner. Following his Leaving Certificate he did some classes with professional woodturners. He also undertook a FÁS cabinet making course. Following a Business Skills Course which he took with the Craft Council of Ireland he set up his own workshop in 1997.
What were the main 'career decision' milestones in your life so far?
Who are the people who most influenced your career direction?
How did you go about getting your current job?
Describe a typical day?
7.30 Set up workshop for day’s work. Prepare wood for or finish work for an order or exhibition. Prepare workshop for a class – one-to-one or group. Update my website with recent press and new dates for classes. Make and return calls/emails to buyers, suppliers and potential students. Keep my machines in good working order.
What are the main tasks and responsibilities?
Planning ahead – class dates at home and overseas, completion dates for orders. Preparation – workshop for classes, raw materials for orders, check stock of packaging, VAT returns etc Maintain machines and keep a healthy working environment in the workshop Customer service – to all my clients, buyers and students Excellence and consistent standards in production of work and teaching.
What particular skills do you bring to your workplace?
What is your education to date?
What aspects of your education have proven most important for your job?
What have been the most rewarding events in your career so far?
What personal qualities do you have that helps you in your career?
Does your job allow you to have a lifestyle you are happy with?
What advice would you give to someone considering this job?
Get making as soon as possible. Do plenty of classes with a range of different teachers. Find your unique style and product. Get as much relevant feedback as possible and use it to the best of your ability. Make a business plan and amend and change it regularly. Get into shows and exhibitions and build up a cv.
What are the three most important personal characteristics required for the job?
Have you undertaken, or do you plan to undertake any further training as part of your job?