Catching up with Make Works

Fi Scott, Make Works founder

We last caught up with Fi Scott, founder of manufacturing platform Make Works, back in 2014. Here we check in with her again to find out what she and the rest of the Make Works team have been up to in the past two years…

What’s new for Make Works since we last caught up with you in 2014?

When we had just launched, we hadn't had too much time to understand how the site would be used and how we would operate as an organisation once the platform was up and running. Two years on, we've learnt a lot about who we are, what we do and how we like to do it! 

We still go out and film new factories each week (we aim for four to six companies each month, though we have a waiting list at the moment!) This is still my favourite part of running the organisation, as we find ourselves in some incredible manufacturing spaces and workshops around Scotland and it’s really fun getting to share that information with everyone! 

Last year, we were getting so many requests from places outside of Scotland who wanted a Make Works where they were, that we expanded the platform so that groups could set up Make Works in their own region. It's exciting to see it grow in that way, but for Scottish creatives this is brilliant too, because if they end up on a residency or travelling somewhere else around the UK (or abroad) - they can rock up in that city and find a ready-made set of suppliers to make work with.

Make Works with William Johnston. Photo: Eoin Carey

What are some of the success stories that have came about thanks to Make Works?

The best part is when the manufacturers listed tell us things like "I'm literally losing track of the number of commissions coming from Make Works." How great is that?! 

We also hear really lovely stories about small designer-makers, like Mimi Hamill, who founds ways to get her scarf business into production as a result of the site. 

One of the things I've been really pleased with was working with Hospitalfield last year on the "Hospitalfield in Industry" Residency Programme.  We placed surface designers, Bespoke Atelier with composite manufacturer Smyth Composites in Carnoustie. They had a month to work intensely together and came up with some really innovative work that neither expected.

Make Works Hospitalfield Residency in Industry from Make Works on Vimeo.

How does Make Works fit into Scotland’s wider creative sector?

It's the practical side to all of it. In every creative practice, physical things still need to be made. Whether that is sculpture, visual art, craft objects, print, products, scale models or fashion design -  through to the props, set and costumes for film and theatre; it all needs to be made somewhere. Often these things are required in small quantities or need to be made bespoke - and those are the sorts of manufacturers that we list.

Evergreen Studio Edinburgh

What would you say to any artists/designers/makers etc who weren’t already making use of Make Works?

Please use it! If you are unsure of where to start, have a look at the guides to different areas or processes on the blog. For some inspiration, have a look at the Make Works roulette.

I'd also suggest to any manufacturing novices that picking up the phone works a treat when dealing with a lot of factories - and if they get stuck or can't find what they are looking for we are always happy to help.

Mike Stoane Lighting

What are your plans / hopes for the future of Make Works?

Tricky one! Listing even more manufacturers, and getting a good crowd behind our Patreon campaign is most on my mind at the moment. I think with anything like Make Works you have to accept that it's a really long term project, so you need to take it at a reasonable pace. I'd still love to run a Make Works trade show in Scotland, or even set up a material supply shop at some point. Watch this space!

MW Patreon Film from Make Works on Vimeo.

For more information on Make Works visit, follow @thisismakeworks on Twitter and like Make Works on Facebook.

Make Works have received National Lottery funding through Creative Scotland's Open Project Fund.

This article was published on 26 Oct 2016