A glass artist graduate from De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) is appearing in a new BBC TV series championing craft entrepreneurs.
Belinda King is one of 30 designer-makers appearing on Make It At Market, hosted by The Repair Shop’s Dom Chinea.
The new series features an eclectic mix of amateurs, ranging from potters, blacksmiths and weavers to woodworkers, jewellers and furniture makers, each a passionate maker extraordinaire from across the UK.
Each craftsperson is paired with a mentor who is a master craftsman in that industry. They are set a series of challenges and discover what kind of business model might work best for them in the real world.
Belinda, who graduated from Design Crafts last year, said: “I was approached after the producers saw my work online and I said yes, absolutely not realising I would get onto the show. I just thought if nothing else, it would be an amazing experience to do the interview and apply.
“It’s just been the best experience, the other crafters are an amazing group of people, all incredibly lovely, and I just feel very lucky to be part of it.”
She was thrilled to be paired with master craftsman Allister Malcolm as her mentor. “It was a surreal experience because I had followed him for quite some time. His work is stunning and he has had such an amazing career. To get the support throughout the whole experience from someone like him who has been in my shoes, and knows exactly what it’s like to start was unbelieveable.
“Getting to meet Dom from the Repair Shop was brilliant. Coming from the Design Crafts course we all watch it, it should probably be required for the course because we are all huge fans of the programme and how it shows traditional crafts and how important they are.”
Filming for the series was done at Stoneywell, the Leicestershire Arts and Crafts home designed by Ernest Gimson which is now owned by the National Trust.
“I’m really excited to see the episode but also slightly nervous!” said Belinda. “For me, it co-incided with my degree finishing, the end of my artist in residence time at DMU and so it’s like this amazing ‘time capsule’ moment.”
Since filming in summer this year, Belinda has joined DMU’s Crucible business incubation programme. Crucible takes final year students, graduates, and alumni through a 12-month programme to develop their business ideas, with mentoring and masterclasses from a host of real-life business owners.
She said: “I’m enjoying being part of the Crucible. People don’t tell you how to make a business from your art, you learn how to create the work but not how to sell it. I’m seeing so much of what they told us on Make it At Market on the Crucible, and having the support from the mentors has made me more determined that I will do this as a full time career. I’ve seen it can be done.”
Percy Emmett, senior lecturer in enterprise and director of the Crucible programme, said: "We are so proud of Belinda, she came onto Crucible thoroughly inspired by being on Make It At Market, and she's gone from strength to strength. It's been an incredible experience for her."
Make It At Market began on BBC 1 on January 2, with Belinda’s episode due to air today (January 3).
Dom said: “It was a privilege to work with such an array of gifted and ambitious craftspeople. What was particularly fulfilling was seeing in real-time, how the unique and varied skills on offer were nurtured and shaped throughout their stay at Stoneywell, allowing the makers to turn their talents into viable business opportunities. It’s the perfect programme to get anyone’s creative juices flowing!”
Rachel Platt, commissioner for BBC Daytime said: “Make it at Market reveals the extraordinary skills that, with a helping hand, people can use to change the course of their lives.”
Posted on Tuesday 3rd January 2023