Ceramicist Tessa Eastman has over twenty years’ experience of working in clay. Her dynamic work is at the vanguard of the British contemporary ceramic art scene and she has impressed with her originality, skill and daring approach to her art form. Tessa’s meticulously hand-built ‘cloud bundles’ and complex crystal formations appear curiously alive with movement. She explores the strangeness of growth of natural phenomena where systems flow and digress from an intended pattern, translating her findings in colourful glazed ceramics. Tessa joined London Creative Network in September 2016 and Cockpit Arts Deptford in May this year.
What impact do you feel the LCN programme is having on you and your business so far?
Being part of the London Creative Network (LCN) is pushing me forwards at quite a speed. There is so much on offer it means I can take what I want now and leaves me with the resources to process other topics when I am ready. The way the workshops are structured allows me to take it all on board and work on it at my own pace.
It is teaching me to take a more holistic approach to my business and has opened up my thinking to things I hadn’t considered before, as well as giving me useful tips to better manage aspects that I did. The sessions have really got me to hone in on my business and my values and what is really important to me, as well as considering how to communicate this more coherently to my clients.
What was your main motivation for enrolling on the LCN programme?
Being a creative, I’m not naturally good at business and I knew that this was an area I really needed to work on. I need a greater awareness of business process and systems and to create a more rounded business. In order to be successful I felt I need to address this and thought that being part of the LCN programme would help me with this.
So much is on offer through this programme and such a wealth of in-depth information is provided through the sessions. The range of speakers, who each have their own strengths, is amazing. The courses are really tailored towards creatives, which has made it really easy for me to engage with the topics and see how I can use the information and techniques.
I have met some really interesting people through LCN; talking to them about their practice and their business has given me a network of peers to work things through with, as well as identifying potential collaborations.
What new business system are you introducing to your practice and why?
After attending the sessions on Pricing and Creative Finance, I have started to think about how I am costing my work and all the elements that need to be considered before setting a price for a piece. Part of this is includes setting up new systems to keep records of how much time I spend on each element of my business, which should inform how I make decisions about pricing. In addition to this I am learning how to use my financial figures to evaluate what is going on in my business and setting up new systems and processes to aid my decision making.
The sessions on communication and relating to customers and clients have been really helpful. My next steps will be to review how I use MailChimp and making changes to my website, including adding a new “About” page. I am also hoping to make a new short film about myself and my work in the near future.
What is the most useful advice or tips you’ve been given on the programme so far?
I have taken on so much information from the courses and I know that it is going to take some time to implement it all in my business. Everything has been so tailored to creatives that I have been able to see how each element fits together to form part of my practice. The most useful thing about being part of LCN is gaining this holistic view and how being clear about my values helps inform every aspect of what I do.
What plans do you have after participating with LCN?
Beyond LCN I plan to keep implementing everything that I have learnt through the programme and revisiting aspects periodically. I will be proactive and continue to apply for shows and awards to promote myself and my work. In the future I hope to take on a part time intern/employee.