There are no hard and fast rules about who can join the designermakers.org.uk discussion list, but here are a few pointers, further to the general guidelines given on the 'About Us' page.
A definition of 'designer-maker' for our purposes is hard to pin down. It would include people who design and make what the Americans would call 'studio furniture'. However, we welcome people who are not necessarily trying to be avant guarde, and may in fact be quite conservative in style, and may actively resist becoming too 'precious'. On the other hand we welcome people making 'furniture as art'. It comes down to a matter of emphasis and intent, and maybe the best thing is to ask yourself questions such as:
- How important is the fact the designing and making processes are intertwined?
- Do you run a small workshop through choice or because you have not yet managed to grow it into a multinational corporation?
- Obviously we all try to make a profit, but how important is that as a motivation compared with the quality, individuality, longevity, artistry, etc of what you design and make?
- What is your motivation for being on the list - do you genuinely welcome discourse with your peers for the greater benefit of designer-makers as a 'movement', or is it simply a way of getting another link to your website?
Here are some example attributes, one or more of which may apply to a typical member. These are by no means prerequisites, and there are certainly members about whom these things do not apply - but that should be more because of their choice rather than ineligibility.
- They exhibit at Celebration Of Craftsmanship
- They are represented on the Crafts Council Photostore (Index as was)
- They have received a Craft Guild Mark from the Worshipful Company Of Furniture Makers
- They are members/fellows of the Society Of Designer Craftsmen
(Forgive this list if it appears narrow or parochial - members please add similar examples.)
The following will not be eligible:
- Makers who concentrate on reproduction work.
- Makers who plagiarise or produce work in the style of another maker.
- Large manufacturers.
Ultimately it will be up to the existing membership to approve or deny new applications. The intention is not to try and draw a line around ourselves and feel superior! Far from it - we simply want to strike a balance between the group becoming too broad and too narrow - there is no question of whether a successful member is better than a non-member. If the membership becomes too broad, the very personal nature of the list will be lost, whereby everyone at least stands a chance of knowing all the other members (even if only by name), and discussions, requests for help and offers of help would become constrained by the feeling that we are addressing too wide an audience, and people who are not really our 'peers'. On the other hand, we do not want to be too narrow in our definition of what a designer-maker is, and miss out on all sorts of valuable and fresh insights from people who do things differently from ourselves.