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Disgrifiad

An oral history interview with Molly Curley, a founding member of Craft in the Bay and the Makers Guild in Wales, 18 September 2016.

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The Chronicle Project is a community heritage project supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund and run by VCS Cymru with the aims to document the history of volunteering in Cardiff, from 1914 to 2014.

Visit our website at: http://chronicle.vcscymru.org.uk Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/chronicleVCS/
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AN = Alexandra Nita (interviewer), MC = Molly Curley (interviewee)
AN: So would you like to start with your name?

[0:05 – 1:29 : Molly introduces herself]
MC: Yes. Hello! My name’s Molly Curley, I’m currently a potter and I’m quite ancient. I’m not gonna tell you how old. Um, but I was born in Cardiff and grew up in Cardiff, was educated here, ended up at the art school in Cardiff specializing in book illustration and then doing a teaching course and after which I taught art and crafts and eventually ceramics at various high schools, ending up in Cardiff High School for 16 years where I ended up teaching nothing but ceramics, which I got into almost by accident. I never trained as a potter, but then I took early retirement to be a potter. And before that we’d lived in Cambridge for 3 years and then in Birmingham for 5 years so for 8 years I was not in Cardiff, but the rest of my life I have been here. Did a bit of teaching in Solihull, but I was a bit busy having 4 children, so I started back teaching when we got back to Cardiff and that was at Cardiff High School.

[1:32 – 2:54 : Origins of the Makers Guild in Wales]
MC:I took early retirement to be a potter and then of course the problem with being a crafts person is that you couldn’t find a market for your work. That probably is more important than making the stuff because it piles up quite quickly if you’re a potter. So in those days – this was in the early 1960s – there were lots of craft fairs around and every weekend there was a craft fair somewhere in South Wales and we’d go to ones in Cardiff and Cowbridge and Brecon sometimes, as far away as that and things like that. Some of them were good, some of them were not very good, bit sort of tatty, no quality control. And it got worse. And it got worse. So, in the end craft fairs became more like jumble sales, almost. And a few of us got together [who] were making what we thought [was] good quality stuff and we thought well perhaps we can run our own craft fairs and select who we wanted to show in them.
[2:54 – 3:46 : Setting up the Makers Guild in Wales]
MC: So we did – we started the guild. Five of us started it off: a woodturner, a jeweller, a paper maker, a weaver and myself. And we spread the word around. We still went to craft fairs, we had to. We spread the word around amongst other craftspeople and they got interested and eventually we had about 20-odd who were interested enough to turn up to a meeting in Cardiff to talk about forming the guild [1984]. We did that, we formed a committee and I came home as chairman, to my astonishment. And I was the chairman for the first year, which was very very formative.
[3:46 – 4:34 : The Makers Guild in Wales inaugural exhibition]
MC: One of the members – her role on the committee was to do the marketing and to fix up exhibitions and things like that for us. Amazingly she got an exhibition in a design centre in Cardiff, which is no longer there, but it was a very nice gallery near the New Theatre in Cardiff. And we had our inaugural exhibition there and there was a press call in the morning and the local paper, The Western Mail and Echo, turned to report it. The BBC were there with their cameras. I had to do a bit of camera about what we were about and it went out on the six o‘clock news – which I thought “Wow”. It wouldn’t happen today, but it did then.
[4:35 – 6:02 : A Makers Guild in Wales shop in Cowbridge]
MC: And the next day I had two phone calls: one from a manager of a department store in Cardiff inviting us to have a display in his china department – which we did; and another from a little potter that I knew that ran her own little shop in Cowbridge. A tiny little shop, it must’ve been the smallest shop in Wales, I should think. She’d given up potting and she had it empty for 5 years so she offered it to us. And we opened a shop in Cowbridge, about 10 of us. And one of the members, she was a leatherworker, she designed all the stands, which were sort of hold-up affairs. And we had a stand each around this tiny little shop. There was no loo, there was no kitchen. We were there for about 23 years altogether. In the end it sort of diminished. We ran it as a cooperative. But one of the things that Linda, the one who was organising events, did (the one who’d organised the first exhibition) – she went into St David’s Hall, which hadn’t long been opened, and met the director and offered to do a big craft fair one weekend in St David’s Hall, and he said yes! And we did that and it was a great success, loads of people came.

[6:03 – 7:38 : The expansion of the Makers Guild in Wales]
MC:By this time we were having about 4 selections a year from applicants who wanted to join the guild and we were up to I think about 40-odd members. We were very fussy who we took. It had to be well designed well-made and original, everything that people made. But all the crafts were involved and anyway, we did several of these wonderful craft fairs. We had a big banner across the road between the St David Hall and the Old Library which said “Makers Guild in Wales” and we used to have big pieces in the local press and the new director then, who had taken over, Michael Tearle, he was very impressed with us. And at this time they were building a new library at the bottom of The Hayes in Cardiff. It’s gone now, I think it’s where John Lewis is. But it’s gone, they built another one instead. Anyway, they built the new one, so the old library, in The Hayes in Cardiff, just opposite St David’s Hall, was going to be empty and the City Council said to Michael Tearle, director of St David’s Hall, “You can look after it, you think of something to do with that building.” So he thought – art gallery and crafts centre. So he phoned me one morning – I was up to my elbows in clay – and asked me to come down and walk around the building with him, which I did - washed my hands first.

[7:39 – 8:38 : Makers Guild in Wales moving into the Old Library Craft Gallery]
MC:And walked round it and I thought and he offered us one room – it was quite a big room – one side of the building – I think it’s where the bar is now [Locke & Remedy] but offered us one room, and he said we could have it for a craft centre he called it and I said “Well let’s call it a craft gallery,” so we called it “The Old Library Craft Gallery” I believe. We all decided “Yes, we would take it,” so we moved in that Easter and it did very well. It was in a good spot in the centre of Cardiff, we didn’t actually have to pay very much rent and he had the art gallery in the big lending library bit, which is now, I think, the Cardiff [Story] Museum. And it worked very well. We were there for 6 years.

[8:38 – 11:25 : Makers Guild in Wales moving into the Old Tin Shed]
MC:Then it was decided the Old Library, which was a bit crumbling and decaying a bit down in the basement, should be refurbished. We had to find new premises. So we went looking around. We looked down in the bay which was still Cardiff Docks, it hadn’t been developed. No Marina down there or anything like that, or Mermaid Quay. And we were offered an old tin shed. It was like an aircraft hangar. It had been an aircraft hangar I think, it was where Techniquest had just moved out of and into their big premises where they still are. So again Cardiff Bay Development Corporation who owned the building thought “What could we do with it?” so suddenly we got offered it. And we were devastated to think we were leaving the centre and coming down to the docks. But well it stood in its own little car park, which was quite handy, just gravel, and opposite what’s the name of that fish place [Harry Ramsden’s] down there? Opposite anyway. Not far from there. And we moved down, I mean it was an empty shed with steel walls. So we had to think what to do with it, and the WDA [Welsh Development Agency] were just disbanding some sort of place up at Treforest and they had a lot of hessian covered screens, wooden screens, to get rid of. So we got all those and we lined the building with the hessian screens on which we could stick things up on, which was ideal. And we got a grant from the Arts Council to get some whole lot of these still these same plinths which we’ve got here. We got them all made and they arrived, we painted them all and eventually we opened. And it was quite a huge success, people came down, amazingly. And Harry Ramsden’s was the name of the place opposite, that’s right. And we were there for 3 years and we were doing very well and people were coming. We employed a manager by this time. The rest of us were all working as volunteers, helping in, as we had in the Old Library, helping out the manager on a day to day basis. Some of us would do several days a month perhaps. It worked alright, seemed to.

[11:25 – 14:19 : Makers Guild in Wales building and moving into the purpose-built Craft in the Bay centre]
MC:And then Cardiff Bay Development Corporation said that they were going to sell it and build all these lovely new shops and restaurants and places down there. So we had to go and again we had to look for somewhere new. And all we could find was a place at the bottom of Bute Street here, it was an office block. And it had a series of one, two, three rooms in a long line, which was not ideal, and offices upstairs. But it was all we could find, so we took it, moved in and we struggled along there for about 4 years. And during that time our chairman at the time was a very lively lady, Kate Bosset, and she got together with the Arts Council and other people and we got quite a good grant to build our own gallery, which was this! And we used Cardiff Bay architects and amazingly it all happened.We were able to almost pay for the building which cost about a million pounds and we were offered – because the the Pierhead building and the Docks Authority owned a lot of bits and pieces around here, derelict bits from the old dockyard days. They had this little old tin shed which had been a dockside warehouse. Just behind the Pierhead building it stood and it was derelict, but it was listed, because it was the last one of its kind down in Cardiff docks. So it couldn’t be thrown away but it had to be moved because it was where they were going to build the Millennium arts centre [Wales Millennium Centre], so the Pierhead master offered it to us. So we said “Thank you very much!” And this was incorporated in the design of the building. And the original bit from the old listed building, which makes this [Craft in the Bay centre] a listed building, was all the metal work in the roof and the iron columns, cast iron columns that support the roof all around the outside of the glass, which is where they were before, but the glass walls were wooden walls when it was a dockside warehouse. But the tin was mainly on the top. And so the architects managed to incorporate all that and build us a nice gallery at the same time and with a little extension where we were able to have workshops and offices and the café which helps us to pay our overheads, because they pay us a rent. And we’ve been here for since 2002, which is what 14 years.
AN: So it’s a permanent place?
[14:22 – 14:55 : Volunteer responsibilities]
MC: Yes it is. And our members still come and do their voluntary days, which is one of the things you have to once you become selected to the membership. And everyone comes, and if they’re in North Wales they’re only expected to do 2 days a year, but if they’re in West Wales I think they do about 4 and if they’re in Cardiff they do about 8. That’s a fair arrangement. And I think we all enjoy coming down, because it’s good to keep in touch, it’s good to meet the customers and it’s good to know how the business is going.
AN: What would you say motivated you to volunteer and start this project?
MC: To what?
AN: To start this project with all of your friends and the other artists?
[15:10 – 15:20 : Motivations for starting the Makers Guild in Wales]
MC: What motivated us all was the desire to sell our work, basically. We weren’t thinking of volunteering, we were just promoting ourselves. That was what it was about.
AN: But now you’re promoting other artists as well so it’s quite a selfless organisation.
[15:24 – 15:45 : Makers Guild in Wales as a charitable cooperative]
MC: Well, yes, we are a cooperative and we’re a charitable cooperative, because we do a lot. Any potential profit, which there isn’t very much of – goes towards education in the crafts and that sort of thing, and ...yeah, I think it’s been a very worthwhile project.

AN: What were the biggest challenges when you were chairman in the very first year?
[15:53 – 16:13 : The challenges of being chairman of the Makers Guild in Wales]
MC:Well trying to get the guild known about and an awful lot of people in Cardiff still don’t know about it. And getting events going and we had to write the constitution and make up the rules. And we hadn’t done this sort of thing before, any of us, so we just sort of made it up as we went along.
AN: Was there anybody who inspired you in this period? Did the members inspire each other?
[16:21 – 16:59 : Members of the Makers Guild in Wales]
MC: I think so. Yes, I think they did. Yes, must have done. I mean the work that our members were doing was excellent and most of them are still here. One very good weaver, Anna Adam, sadly died a year or two ago, but the rest of us are still kind of going, not so strong perhaps, but going. Simon Rich is here today, who is a potter, and he makes wonderful pots. I’m sure you’ll love them. They’re usually over by the door somewhere, with crystalline glazes – marvellous!
AN: You mentioned you collaborated with quite a lot of people for venues and finding new places like these but what about collaborating with other charity organisations?
[17:13 – 17:32 : Relationship with other charities]
MC: With other charities – I don’t think we have done that very much, not as far as I know. I mean we have a lot to do with the Arts Council still and they’ve been very helpful over the years. I think we occasionally get a grant from other charities.
AN: I’ve read that the Makers Guild does projects and workshops with different organisations for example the Crossroads Young Carers and there is a STAR project for children with difficulties for doing arts and crafts workshops.
[17:58 – 18:13 : The two sides to the organisation]
MC: I think you need to talk to Charlotte about that sort of thing. I’ve never been involved with that side of it at all. I’ve always been more involved with the business aspect of the selling and the manning and all this kind of thing.
AN: Have you volunteered in anything before you did the Makers Guild? Did you do anything?
[18:22 – 18:37 : The demands of family life]
I don’t think so. I don’t think I had time for that sort of thing because I was teaching full time and I had a family of 4 kids growing up. I think the volunteering I did was tootling them all round to their various functions in the evenings, you know.
AN: That is true I guess. How do you think the Makers Guild contributes to the community of artists and the community of Cardiff?

[18:47 – 19:08 : What the Makers Guild in Wales brings to the community]
MC:Well, I think it probably shows the very best of what’s made in Wales. Not the only gallery that does that I’m sure, but we must be among the most important galleries in Wales for bringing this sort of thing to the public eye. Ask the Arts Council what they think of us, I mean you know, this is what we do.
AN: Would you say your arts is more accessible to people who are not necessarily interested in art now because you’re here in the Bay which is a…?
[19:22 – 19:41 : Reaching a new audience]
Well, I suppose so, if we weren’t here a lot of people wouldn’t be seeing this kind of thing, would they? People do just come in and gawp a bit and walk around in a bemused fashion and they’ve never seen anything quite like this before probably, but they do appreciate it, they say “What wonderful stuff” usually. Almost always.
AN: It is wonderful stuff.
MC: It is, isn’t it? Yes.
AN: Yes, quite so. Do you have anything else to add or that you’d like to share with us and the People’s Collection?
[19:56 – 20:37 : Hopes for the future of the organisation]
MC: Well, I just hope that after I’ve kicked the bucket, which probably won’t be very long, somebody will carry on, you know. I’m more or less retried off now, I do very little except the odd days stewarding. So it runs itself very well. We’ve got a fantastic manager, Simon [Burgess], and the part time managers that work with him. And Charlotte [Kingston] and Cindy [Lambert] in particular, they’re invaluable. We only have a handful of 3 full-time staff and we run this place, you know. It’s pretty good. They work very very hard. And I do appreciate them, I hope they always will.
AN: So you still do the job here voluntarily?
[20:42 – 21:12 : Plans for the future]
MC: Yes oh yes, oh, I love it! I come about almost once a month, it’s 8 times a year, you see. And every time I have to be taught how to use the computer on the counter again. It’s nice to catch up, you know talk to Simon, catch up on how the business is going. We’re about to get solar panels on the roof and better more efficient lighting inside, it can’t be bad.
AN: Thank you very much for your time.
MC: You’re welcome.

AN = Alexandra Nita (interviewer), MC = Molly Curley (interviewee)
AN: So would you like to start with your name?

[0:05 – 1:29 : Molly introduces herself]
MC: Yes. Hello! My name’s Molly Curley, I’m currently a potter and I’m quite ancient. I’m not gonna tell you how old. Um, but I was born in Cardiff and grew up in Cardiff, was educated here, ended up at the art school in Cardiff specializing in book illustration and then doing a teaching course and after which I taught art and crafts and eventually ceramics at various high schools, ending up in Cardiff High School for 16 years where I ended up teaching nothing but ceramics, which I got into almost by accident. I never trained as a potter, but then I took early retirement to be a potter. And before that we’d lived in Cambridge for 3 years and then in Birmingham for 5 years so for 8 years I was not in Cardiff, but the rest of my life I have been here. Did a bit of teaching in Solihull, but I was a bit busy having 4 children, so I started back teaching when we got back to Cardiff and that was at Cardiff High School.

[1:32 – 2:54 : Origins of the Makers Guild in Wales]
MC:I took early retirement to be a potter and then of course the problem with being a crafts person is that you couldn’t find a market for your work. That probably is more important than making the stuff because it piles up quite quickly if you’re a potter. So in those days – this was in the early 1960s – there were lots of craft fairs around and every weekend there was a craft fair somewhere in South Wales and we’d go to ones in Cardiff and Cowbridge and Brecon sometimes, as far away as that and things like that. Some of them were good, some of them were not very good, bit sort of tatty, no quality control. And it got worse. And it got worse. So, in the end craft fairs became more like jumble sales, almost. And a few of us got together [who] were making what we thought [was] good quality stuff and we thought well perhaps we can run our own craft fairs and select who we wanted to show in them.
[2:54 – 3:46 : Setting up the Makers Guild in Wales]
MC: So we did – we started the guild. Five of us started it off: a woodturner, a jeweller, a paper maker, a weaver and myself. And we spread the word around. We still went to craft fairs, we had to. We spread the word around amongst other craftspeople and they got interested and eventually we had about 20-odd who were interested enough to turn up to a meeting in Cardiff to talk about forming the guild [1984]. We did that, we formed a committee and I came home as chairman, to my astonishment. And I was the chairman for the first year, which was very very formative.
[3:46 – 4:34 : The Makers Guild in Wales inaugural exhibition]
MC: One of the members – her role on the committee was to do the marketing and to fix up exhibitions and things like that for us. Amazingly she got an exhibition in a design centre in Cardiff, which is no longer there, but it was a very nice gallery near the New Theatre in Cardiff. And we had our inaugural exhibition there and there was a press call in the morning and the local paper, The Western Mail and Echo, turned to report it. The BBC were there with their cameras. I had to do a bit of camera about what we were about and it went out on the six o‘clock news – which I thought “Wow”. It wouldn’t happen today, but it did then.
[4:35 – 6:02 : A Makers Guild in Wales shop in Cowbridge]
MC: And the next day I had two phone calls: one from a manager of a department store in Cardiff inviting us to have a display in his china department – which we did; and another from a little potter that I knew that ran her own little shop in Cowbridge. A tiny little shop, it must’ve been the smallest shop in Wales, I should think. She’d given up potting and she had it empty for 5 years so she offered it to us. And we opened a shop in Cowbridge, about 10 of us. And one of the members, she was a leatherworker, she designed all the stands, which were sort of hold-up affairs. And we had a stand each around this tiny little shop. There was no loo, there was no kitchen. We were there for about 23 years altogether. In the end it sort of diminished. We ran it as a cooperative. But one of the things that Linda, the one who was organising events, did (the one who’d organised the first exhibition) – she went into St David’s Hall, which hadn’t long been opened, and met the director and offered to do a big craft fair one weekend in St David’s Hall, and he said yes! And we did that and it was a great success, loads of people came.

[6:03 – 7:38 : The expansion of the Makers Guild in Wales]
MC:By this time we were having about 4 selections a year from applicants who wanted to join the guild and we were up to I think about 40-odd members. We were very fussy who we took. It had to be well designed well-made and original, everything that people made. But all the crafts were involved and anyway, we did several of these wonderful craft fairs. We had a big banner across the road between the St David Hall and the Old Library which said “Makers Guild in Wales” and we used to have big pieces in the local press and the new director then, who had taken over, Michael Tearle, he was very impressed with us. And at this time they were building a new library at the bottom of The Hayes in Cardiff. It’s gone now, I think it’s where John Lewis is. But it’s gone, they built another one instead. Anyway, they built the new one, so the old library, in The Hayes in Cardiff, just opposite St David’s Hall, was going to be empty and the City Council said to Michael Tearle, director of St David’s Hall, “You can look after it, you think of something to do with that building.” So he thought – art gallery and crafts centre. So he phoned me one morning – I was up to my elbows in clay – and asked me to come down and walk around the building with him, which I did - washed my hands first.

[7:39 – 8:38 : Makers Guild in Wales moving into the Old Library Craft Gallery]
MC:And walked round it and I thought and he offered us one room – it was quite a big room – one side of the building – I think it’s where the bar is now [Locke & Remedy] but offered us one room, and he said we could have it for a craft centre he called it and I said “Well let’s call it a craft gallery,” so we called it “The Old Library Craft Gallery” I believe. We all decided “Yes, we would take it,” so we moved in that Easter and it did very well. It was in a good spot in the centre of Cardiff, we didn’t actually have to pay very much rent and he had the art gallery in the big lending library bit, which is now, I think, the Cardiff [Story] Museum. And it worked very well. We were there for 6 years.

[8:38 – 11:25 : Makers Guild in Wales moving into the Old Tin Shed]
MC:Then it was decided the Old Library, which was a bit crumbling and decaying a bit down in the basement, should be refurbished. We had to find new premises. So we went looking around. We looked down in the bay which was still Cardiff Docks, it hadn’t been developed. No Marina down there or anything like that, or Mermaid Quay. And we were offered an old tin shed. It was like an aircraft hangar. It had been an aircraft hangar I think, it was where Techniquest had just moved out of and into their big premises where they still are. So again Cardiff Bay Development Corporation who owned the building thought “What could we do with it?” so suddenly we got offered it. And we were devastated to think we were leaving the centre and coming down to the docks. But well it stood in its own little car park, which was quite handy, just gravel, and opposite what’s the name of that fish place [Harry Ramsden’s] down there? Opposite anyway. Not far from there. And we moved down, I mean it was an empty shed with steel walls. So we had to think what to do with it, and the WDA [Welsh Development Agency] were just disbanding some sort of place up at Treforest and they had a lot of hessian covered screens, wooden screens, to get rid of. So we got all those and we lined the building with the hessian screens on which we could stick things up on, which was ideal. And we got a grant from the Arts Council to get some whole lot of these still these same plinths which we’ve got here. We got them all made and they arrived, we painted them all and eventually we opened. And it was quite a huge success, people came down, amazingly. And Harry Ramsden’s was the name of the place opposite, that’s right. And we were there for 3 years and we were doing very well and people were coming. We employed a manager by this time. The rest of us were all working as volunteers, helping in, as we had in the Old Library, helping out the manager on a day to day basis. Some of us would do several days a month perhaps. It worked alright, seemed to.

[11:25 – 14:19 : Makers Guild in Wales building and moving into the purpose-built Craft in the Bay centre]
MC:And then Cardiff Bay Development Corporation said that they were going to sell it and build all these lovely new shops and restaurants and places down there. So we had to go and again we had to look for somewhere new. And all we could find was a place at the bottom of Bute Street here, it was an office block. And it had a series of one, two, three rooms in a long line, which was not ideal, and offices upstairs. But it was all we could find, so we took it, moved in and we struggled along there for about 4 years. And during that time our chairman at the time was a very lively lady, Kate Bosset, and she got together with the Arts Council and other people and we got quite a good grant to build our own gallery, which was this! And we used Cardiff Bay architects and amazingly it all happened.We were able to almost pay for the building which cost about a million pounds and we were offered – because the the Pierhead building and the Docks Authority owned a lot of bits and pieces around here, derelict bits from the old dockyard days. They had this little old tin shed which had been a dockside warehouse. Just behind the Pierhead building it stood and it was derelict, but it was listed, because it was the last one of its kind down in Cardiff docks. So it couldn’t be thrown away but it had to be moved because it was where they were going to build the Millennium arts centre [Wales Millennium Centre], so the Pierhead master offered it to us. So we said “Thank you very much!” And this was incorporated in the design of the building. And the original bit from the old listed building, which makes this [Craft in the Bay centre] a listed building, was all the metal work in the roof and the iron columns, cast iron columns that support the roof all around the outside of the glass, which is where they were before, but the glass walls were wooden walls when it was a dockside warehouse. But the tin was mainly on the top. And so the architects managed to incorporate all that and build us a nice gallery at the same time and with a little extension where we were able to have workshops and offices and the café which helps us to pay our overheads, because they pay us a rent. And we’ve been here for since 2002, which is what 14 years.
AN: So it’s a permanent place?
[14:22 – 14:55 : Volunteer responsibilities]
MC: Yes it is. And our members still come and do their voluntary days, which is one of the things you have to once you become selected to the membership. And everyone comes, and if they’re in North Wales they’re only expected to do 2 days a year, but if they’re in West Wales I think they do about 4 and if they’re in Cardiff they do about 8. That’s a fair arrangement. And I think we all enjoy coming down, because it’s good to keep in touch, it’s good to meet the customers and it’s good to know how the business is going.
AN: What would you say motivated you to volunteer and start this project?
MC: To what?
AN: To start this project with all of your friends and the other artists?
[15:10 – 15:20 : Motivations for starting the Makers Guild in Wales]
MC: What motivated us all was the desire to sell our work, basically. We weren’t thinking of volunteering, we were just promoting ourselves. That was what it was about.
AN: But now you’re promoting other artists as well so it’s quite a selfless organisation.
[15:24 – 15:45 : Makers Guild in Wales as a charitable cooperative]
MC: Well, yes, we are a cooperative and we’re a charitable cooperative, because we do a lot. Any potential profit, which there isn’t very much of – goes towards education in the crafts and that sort of thing, and ...yeah, I think it’s been a very worthwhile project.

AN: What were the biggest challenges when you were chairman in the very first year?
[15:53 – 16:13 : The challenges of being chairman of the Makers Guild in Wales]
MC:Well trying to get the guild known about and an awful lot of people in Cardiff still don’t know about it. And getting events going and we had to write the constitution and make up the rules. And we hadn’t done this sort of thing before, any of us, so we just sort of made it up as we went along.
AN: Was there anybody who inspired you in this period? Did the members inspire each other?
[16:21 – 16:59 : Members of the Makers Guild in Wales]
MC: I think so. Yes, I think they did. Yes, must have done. I mean the work that our members were doing was excellent and most of them are still here. One very good weaver, Anna Adam, sadly died a year or two ago, but the rest of us are still kind of going, not so strong perhaps, but going. Simon Rich is here today, who is a potter, and he makes wonderful pots. I’m sure you’ll love them. They’re usually over by the door somewhere, with crystalline glazes – marvellous!
AN: You mentioned you collaborated with quite a lot of people for venues and finding new places like these but what about collaborating with other charity organisations?
[17:13 – 17:32 : Relationship with other charities]
MC: With other charities – I don’t think we have done that very much, not as far as I know. I mean we have a lot to do with the Arts Council still and they’ve been very helpful over the years. I think we occasionally get a grant from other charities.
AN: I’ve read that the Makers Guild does projects and workshops with different organisations for example the Crossroads Young Carers and there is a STAR project for children with difficulties for doing arts and crafts workshops.
[17:58 – 18:13 : The two sides to the organisation]
MC: I think you need to talk to Charlotte about that sort of thing. I’ve never been involved with that side of it at all. I’ve always been more involved with the business aspect of the selling and the manning and all this kind of thing.
AN: Have you volunteered in anything before you did the Makers Guild? Did you do anything?
[18:22 – 18:37 : The demands of family life]
I don’t think so. I don’t think I had time for that sort of thing because I was teaching full time and I had a family of 4 kids growing up. I think the volunteering I did was tootling them all round to their various functions in the evenings, you know.
AN: That is true I guess. How do you think the Makers Guild contributes to the community of artists and the community of Cardiff?

[18:47 – 19:08 : What the Makers Guild in Wales brings to the community]
MC:Well, I think it probably shows the very best of what’s made in Wales. Not the only gallery that does that I’m sure, but we must be among the most important galleries in Wales for bringing this sort of thing to the public eye. Ask the Arts Council what they think of us, I mean you know, this is what we do.
AN: Would you say your arts is more accessible to people who are not necessarily interested in art now because you’re here in the Bay which is a…?
[19:22 – 19:41 : Reaching a new audience]
Well, I suppose so, if we weren’t here a lot of people wouldn’t be seeing this kind of thing, would they? People do just come in and gawp a bit and walk around in a bemused fashion and they’ve never seen anything quite like this before probably, but they do appreciate it, they say “What wonderful stuff” usually. Almost always.
AN: It is wonderful stuff.
MC: It is, isn’t it? Yes.
AN: Yes, quite so. Do you have anything else to add or that you’d like to share with us and the People’s Collection?
[19:56 – 20:37 : Hopes for the future of the organisation]
MC: Well, I just hope that after I’ve kicked the bucket, which probably won’t be very long, somebody will carry on, you know. I’m more or less retried off now, I do very little except the odd days stewarding. So it runs itself very well. We’ve got a fantastic manager, Simon [Burgess], and the part time managers that work with him. And Charlotte [Kingston] and Cindy [Lambert] in particular, they’re invaluable. We only have a handful of 3 full-time staff and we run this place, you know. It’s pretty good. They work very very hard. And I do appreciate them, I hope they always will.
AN: So you still do the job here voluntarily?
[20:42 – 21:12 : Plans for the future]
MC: Yes oh yes, oh, I love it! I come about almost once a month, it’s 8 times a year, you see. And every time I have to be taught how to use the computer on the counter again. It’s nice to catch up, you know talk to Simon, catch up on how the business is going. We’re about to get solar panels on the roof and better more efficient lighting inside, it can’t be bad.
AN: Thank you very much for your time.
MC: You’re welcome.

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