This new social enterprise souvenir line was Made In Plymouth

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Designs and prototypes for Made In Plymouth’s new range of souvenirs from Plymouth-based artists and makers are on display until 22 July 2018 in Royal William Yard’s Ocean Studios, showcasing a range of textiles, ceramics, jewellery, kitchenware and more, all inspired by the city of Plymouth and brought to life by additional backgrounds and illustrations created by Plymouth College of Art BA (Hons) Fine Art graduate Sarah Smalldon.

Sarah Smalldon in Ocean Studios 4

Made In Plymouth CIC is a joint venture between RIO, Plymouth College of Art, the University of Plymouth, and Plymouth City Council, working together to create a social enterprise souvenir line that celebrates and supports local artists and makers.

From the first wave of ideas submitted to Made In Plymouth, 20 were chosen for prototyping, and these prototypes and designs are now on show at Ocean Studios, including Plymouth street sign badges, Plymouth coastline ceramic cups, and glass vases inspired by the history of settlers leaving Plymouth in the Mayflower.

Emma Corner - Made in Plymouth skylines tote bag

Artist Sarah Smalldon, who has created fridge magnets, notelets, tea towels and prints for Made In Plymouth, said: “I graduated from Plymouth College of Art with a first class degree in BA (Hons) Fine Art in 2011, and won the Ben Hartley Fine Art Award in the same year. My degree focussed on home and dwellings, leading me to switch to illustration after graduating, to draw buildings. I’m inspired by the different architectural styles of Plymouth. I work now as a ‘house portraitist’ from my home studio in Peverell and also my studio at Ocean Studios, where I can make larger pieces of work. I create house portraits, illustrating people’s homes (and families), wedding venues, favourite restaurants… Working with Made In Plymouth is giving me an excellent opportunity to share my love of local architecture with visitors to the city.”

The inspiration behind the founding of Made In Plymouth was to create a unique and beautiful range of locally-designed, produced and retailed souvenirs to showcase the incredible artists and makers that call Plymouth home, as an alternative to the kind of mass-produced items available to tourists in most other major cities. As a result, visitors to Plymouth will be able to buy authentic souvenirs crafted by some of the city’s most talented artists and makers, taking a piece of Plymouth home from their visit.

Eleanor O'Rourke - Made in Plymouth silk scarf

A similar project was set up in London in 2014, called We Built This City, and was a massive success. We Built This City founder Alice Mayor visited Plymouth for the Made In Plymouth CIC announcement event to share support and advice.

Jenny Bishop, Head of Marketing and Communications at RIO, said: “As a city of makers, filled with incredible talent, it is only right that visitors are offered souvenirs that are authentic. This range, made and produced by Plymouth-based talent, celebrates our city, our lifestyle and supports the creative industries based here. There are some fantastic pieces here which I know will be popular with visitors and proud Plymouthians alike.”

The complete list of artists and makers whose designs are being used for the first wave of Made In Plymouth products includes: Plymouth College of Art BA (Hons) Fine Art graduate Sarah Smalldon, BA (Hons) Graphic Design graduates Alice Bailey, Eve Gill, and Adam Endacott (with Plymouth College of Art Employer Engagement Manager Sarah Holcombe), BA (Hons) Illustration graduate Kate Coffin, BA (Hons) Printed Textile Design & Surface Pattern students Jessica Swinmurn, Sean Weller, Emma Corner, Emma Morris and Eleanor O’Rourke, BA (Hons) Ceramics graduate Rebecca Roberts, BA (Hons) Illustration students Michael Spark and Rowen Griephan Culshaw, BA (Hons) 3D Design Crafts graduate Rosie Groom, BA (Hons) Jewellery and Silversmithing graduate Val Muddyman, jewellery designer and former Plymouth College of Art staff member Clare Elizabeth Kilgour, Plymouth College of Art Glass Workshop Coordinator Lawrence West, and French illustrator Clarisse Thomas, who spent the past year studying BA (Hons) Illustration at Plymouth College of Art through the Erasmus+ programme.

Made in Plymouth received initial support from Plymouth City Council through its Social Enterprise Investment Fund. Once operational, commission from selling souvenir products will fund the ongoing management of the project, along with the time and expertise invested from the partners.