Weston Beamor has become the twenty-first business in the Birmingham region to join ‘Make Works Birmingham’ www.makeworks.co.uk/birmingham) a unique online platform which links local manufacturers, material suppliers and fabricators with those who work in the creative sector. The website’s objective is to enable designers, artisan producers and other creative businesses to source local companies, which can provide assistance with their production processes and offer everything from one-off prototypes to mass production runs.
This not-for-profit project is led by Workshop Birmingham, in conjunction with ‘Make Works’, a project which has been running in Scotland for some years and offers a directory of almost 200 Scottish manufacturers. It is the brainchild of two artists, Ruth Claxton and Sean O’Keeffe who, having worked closely with art students, when they were technicians at Birmingham City University, were aware of the high level of skills in the immediate vicinity and decided to find a way of making designers and makers more aware of the truly remarkable range of production resources the City offers.
“Birmingham has long been known as the city of a thousand trades and Workshop Birmingham, aims to build new, productive relationships between sectors with we hope to encourage more creative businesses to prototype, make and manufacture locally,” explains Sean O’Keeffe. This is an ambition backed by Arts Council England which has supported the project.
Glen Day, Business Manager at Weston Beamor, is enthusiastic about the possibilities Workshop Birmingham and Make Works offers to them and to other manufacturers. “As a business we have long made it our goal to reach out to the artistic community and are proud of the close links we have established with Birmingham City University and other art colleges around the UK.
“In recent years we have also made a conscious effort to market our services to those in other creative industries. Many of the processes we offer are useful across a broad range of artistic and craft endeavours – not simply the manufacture of bespoke jewellery. We currently collaborate with sculptors, architects and car manufacturers and have absolutely no doubt that we can be of assistance to those working in many other fields as well. We are optimistic that our involvement with Workshop Birmingham and Make Works will assist us to make new contacts and new collaborations and to develop our services further.”
Weston Beamor’s entry to the Make Works Birmingham website, which includes a short film and an interview with Glen Day, has recently been posted and can be viewed at https://make.works/companies/weston-beamor
Other businesses featured on the site produce everything from silverware through to rope products and bespoke woodwork. It is anticipated that a further 20 or so companies will sign up in the next few months and O’Keefe is optimistic that in the future the site can attract 100s of businesses as has been the case with Make Works in Scotland. “Birmingham has long been acknowledged as a centre for jewellery and silverware and I feel sure that there will be many other companies out there who are keen to offer their services to the wider creative industries. If so I do hope they will make contact with us. This is a free service and one which we believe is truly useful,” he says.
Glen Day agrees. “There is undoubtedly a real and growing appetite amongst consumers for anything that is ‘Made in Britain’ and Weston Beamor is proud of its long manufacturing heritage and of its expertise not simply in traditional jewellery making skills but also in CAD, 3D printing, rapid prototyping and lost wax casting across a variety of metals. If we can help local companies to be able to say that their product, whatever it is, is not simply ‘Made in Britain’ but also ‘Made in Birmingham’ we would be more than delighted,” he concluded.