Modern Makers

'The best way to become a skilled maker is to learn from one'

Modern Makers is a programme for a small group of young people to work intensively with a professional maker to learn craft skills.

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Young artist working with Amanda Simmons: photo by Colin Tennant
Tools in Godfrey Smith's workshop: photo by Colin Tennant
Godfrey Smith's workshop. Photograph by Colin Tennant
Godfrey Smith's workshop. Photograph by Colin Tennant
MHC participant working in Godfrey Smith's workshop. Photo by Colin Tennant
Ian Cameron Smith, one of the Makers in 2014. Photo by Colin Tennant
Modern Makers 2016, working with Sam Booth of Echo Living in his workshop. Photo by Colin Tennant
Modern Makers 2016. Working with Sam Booth of Echo Living (photo by Colin Tennant)
Modern Makers 2016. Photo by Colin Tennant

For most of our history, making things by hand was the norm with the skills passed from one generation to the next. In this digital age, when so many spend their days in front of a computer screen, the thrill and sense of satisfaction in taking time to make something is that much more important. Yet there are crafts that form part of our cultural heritage that are in real danger of dying out. Dumfries and Galloway has a rich cultural heritage and is home to a large number of craft makers using traditional techniques, materials, and methods creating both functional and sculptural work with modern relevance.

Modern Heritage Craft Final Film from Spring Fling on Vimeo.

An extension of Modern Heritage Craft 2013 - 2015, Modern Makers is a programme for a small group of young people from a variety of backgrounds to work intensively with a professional maker to learn a craft and make a collection of contemporary functional products over the period of 5 months.

This programme addresses issues around youth career progression and clear pathways in a rural area; highlights issues around the heritage crafts of a rural area dying out; supports a rural contemporary craft sector giving young people the opportunity to try making and experience first hand a rural micro-business; raises discussion around the possibility of creative apprenticeships in artists and makers studios; creates a programme and a space for young people to debate, network and think critically about making; and values the skills of professional makers by paying them to share skills.                  

Modern Makers 2016

During 2016 six young people worked with Sam Booth in his workshop near Castle Douglas.  With over 30 years experience in interior, product and building design Sam has realised his ambition to develop beautiful, sustainable, small buildings through establishing Echo Living. For the first time the group worked collaboratively to design and build a structure which is to be sited at the Crook of Baldoon, an RSPB reserve near Wigtown.

Modern Makers 2016 was supported by The Holywood Trust and CashBack for Communities through Creative Scotland's CashBack for Creativity Programme.

Modern Makers 2016 (clip) from Upland on Vimeo.

For more info on Modern Makers 2016.

Modern Makers 2017

Applications are now closed for young people to take part in Modern Makers 2017. 

The professional makers for the 2017 project will be slipware potters Douglas Fitch and Hannah McAndrew  -

Students of the Modern Makers programme will be introduced to all aspects of the slipware process, from the mixing of materials, the making and decorating of the pots, through to assisting in the exciting firing of the pieces in the wood kiln. They will also be offered an insight into the running of a pottery business, visits to other potter’s workshops to explore different approaches to the craft, to galleries and a pottery fair.  


Modern Makers 2017 is supported by Creative Scotland, The Holywood Trust, LEADER and the William Grant Foundation.



© 2015-2017 Upland. Registered in Scotland as a Community Interest Company Limited by Guarantee No. SC350101. Registered office: Gracefield Arts Centre, 28 Edinburgh Rd, Dumfries DG1 1JQ