26th April 2016

NADFAS David Bell Memorial Award was established in 2014 to support a young crafts person aged 17 – 28 who is inspired by music and starting out in business. The Award was named in honour of the former Chief Executive of NADFAS, David Bell, who had a passion for music and encouraged young people to develop and enjoy a career in the arts throughout his ten year career at NADFAS.

In April 2015 Camilla Lee Lambert was selected as a recipient of the prestigious Award. Camilla was awarded a place at a Cockpit Arts incubator for a year. The Award includes the following benefits:

– Studio space within the creative community at Cockpit Arts, London
– Business and professional development services including on-site coaching, workshops and seminars
– A range of selling and promotional opportunities including the twice-yearly Cockpit Arts Open Studios events
– Opportunity to collaborate with other designer-makers in the Cockpit community
– Access to office facilities and resource centre
– The opportunity to apply for a cash sum to pay for craft professional development including tools or equipment; training, travel, or other personal career development activity.

About Camilla Lee Lambert
Camilla Lee is a London based designer working in the field of furniture, lighting and sound.
Whilst studying 3D Design & Craft at Brighton University, Camilla developed a broad range of skills working with various materials. She is interested in the aesthetics and organic sound qualities of wood and ceramic, and is passionate about fusing functionality with unique aesthetic forms.
Application of sound and pattern has become a recurrent thread within her work, linking themes of sound therapy, interaction and line.

Q. What difference has The Cockpit Arts / NADFAS David Bell Memorial Award made to you and your business so far?
It’s kicked everything off really. It’s made everything very serious and very professional. Everyone at Cockpit Arts is looking out for you and encouraging you. You look at all the designer-makers in the studio around you and you see their incredible work and you think ‘wow I’m of this standard’ – well, sometimes you think “I’m not there yet but I will be; I can be of this standard!”

The other designer-makers in my shared studio space are fantastic. They are so knowledgeable about manufacturing and so generous with their help and support; they help me look at my practice in very different way, so being with them has made such a difference to the way I look at my work.
Being at Cockpit Arts is very different from being in a workshop with just one type of craftsperson – being with the mix has made me ask myself questions like “How can I batch manufacture these aspects?” or “How can I be more economical with the time that it takes to make these handcrafted pieces?”
Because I want to retain the handcraft element of my work but I also want to grow my business, the support from Cockpit Arts has really helped me be realistic but also ambitious in my business. It’s a great reality check to have – considering the implications of my business growing so much and having to plan for that is a challenge I welcome for the rest of my career.

Q. How has the Award affected the profile of your business?
Without a doubt the Open Studios have acted as an incredible profiling opportunity for me. Had I had the stock ready for it, I think I would have sold a lot of amplifiers! But I’ve got those orders ready now which is brilliant and people are so patient and generous knowing that I am just starting out and developing my practice.

When I was at (design trade show) Tent London it was brilliant to be able to say ‘I’m at Cockpit Arts’ and everyone’s positive responses meant a great deal to me – it seemed that as soon as I said that people understood how seriously I was taking my craft. It’s great to have another strong brand like Cockpit behind you, who have such a good reputation amongst the design community.

Q. How has the Award affected the growth, development and/or performance of your business?
It’s grown so much over the last six months. I collected 20 amplifier pre-orders over the Christmas Open Studios. That number is just going up and up and up, and as that happens I’m continually improving the way I’m manufacturing and the efficiency of it.

In terms of developing my business, the amplifiers have taken over my working life for the last 6 months. I always expected it to though because getting a product to market, fully formed, is very time consuming. I’m working so hard to streamline the manufacturing process for the amplifiers so that I can free up my time to pursue other aspects of my practice. I’m excited to explore interactive projects and new ideas for interesting partnership such as immersive amplifier performances at festivals and painting at live music events. All of these ideas could act as great PR and give my products another artistic presence. I’d also like time to further explore furniture making, because I want to continually improve my woodwork skills ready for my next big idea.

Q. Are there any particular areas of your business that have changed over the last 6 months?
A massive change for me is being able to get back into woodworking since being here. I love doing it, it’s my true passion and it’s so great to have the equipment and the space to do it in. I’ve found an amazing ceramics producer called Lauren Nauman who is going to start manufacturing parts of my ceramic amplifier so that I can focus on producing the wood. Her work is much more skilled and more beautiful than I could ever achieve! I was struggling with the ceramic aspect of my work and losing too much stock because of cracking, so it’s a perfect partnership which frees up my time and skill to focus and develop my woodwork.

Q. What are you looking forward to the most in the next 6 months?
I’m so looking forward to selling now! There’s been so much build up with the design, manufacturing, sourcing… and I’m so ready to go out there and sell. When I first developed the idea for the amplifiers at university, it was always my dream to stock in Liberty’s. I have a meeting with Liberty to discuss a provisional order, and Jo Malone commissioned me to make her son’s Christmas presents which she absolutely loved. With all that behind me, I’m in a strong position to start stocking in shops as well as online, so the next stage is to sort out my packaging and branding for the products.

Q. Are there any other comments you would like to make about Cockpit and or the Award?
It’s been brilliant engaging with NADFAS – showcasing at the Annual General Meeting was great to familiarise myself with the NADFAS community, and several family friends who are members of NADFAS have been saying “We saw you in the magazine”! They are so encouraging and lovely so I would like to extend my thanks to them and to Cockpit Arts for their support.

Camilla Lee Lambert on Cockpit Arts