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Designer-makers are struggling with lack of materials during COVID-19, industry survey finds

StayAtHomeStudio 2

A survey carried out by The Goldsmiths’ Craft & Design Council (GCDC) finds that Covid-19 is adversely impacting designer-makers across the UK, driving it to announce a series of new initiatives to support, connect and inspire isolated craftspeople during this time.

In a survey shared with silversmiths, jewellery designers, manufacturers, apprentices and those working in allied trades, the GCDC sought to understand the current needs, concerns and mood of its audience in order to best support them during this time.

Among key results and feedback from over 120 respondents, the GCDC study finds:

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  • 37% are still designing day-to-day
  • 30% are working in some capacity day-to-day
  • 25% are focused on activities such as social media and accounting
  • 17% are using this time to plan for the year ahead
  • 10% are improving their website
  • 9% are undertaking online courses
  • 2% are currently furloughed

In terms of their daily working, 39% say they have access to their own workshop and 33% are working from home, while a quarter have no access to their workshop at all.

Industry-wide closures are also impacting how jewellers, silversmiths and the allied trades are functioning. Of those surveyed by the GCDC, 28% say a lack of access to materials is having the greatest impact their working, versus 21% who say cancelled selling opportunities are negatively impacting them, while 11% cite Assay Office closures as having a knock-on effect on business.

Of note, 10% say a lack of contact with others is having the greatest effect on their working.

In response, The Goldsmiths’ Craft & Design Council is launching a series of online initiatives to ignite contact between its audience, supporters and followers, and inspire creativity and interaction during this time.

“We recognise that our audience – from our past and present entrants and award-winners, to our supporters, judges and industry peers – are feeling the impact of more than a month in isolation. In some cases, not being able to work is having a major effect on their wellbeing,” says chairman of the Goldsmiths’ Craft & Design Council, Peter Crump. “In response, I am pleased to report the Council will be hosting a number of online projects and talks to inspire people and help the reconnect with others at this time.”

The first initiative, #StayAtHomeStudio, is a social media hashtag encouraging craftspeople to share inspiring views and videos from their bench or workshop at this time.

The GCDC is also launching a series of industry-led design briefs – including fine jewellery to silversmithing – with entered designs set to be presented via the GC&DC social media platforms.

Alongside this are plans to launch a handful of larger, long-term projects with key patrons and sponsors of the GCDC’s annual awards.

Tags : coronavirusGC&DCGoldsmiths Craft & Design Council
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The author Stacey Hailes

Editor, Professional Jeweller

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