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Local Artists set for First Flight!


In Spring of this year, the Local Enterprise Office Waterford invited submissions from artists and small craft businesses to apply for the First Flight Enterprise programme at the Kite Design Studio in the heart of Waterford’s Viking Triangle.

This year’s successful candidates are Michelle Dunne (Strong Roots Jewellery), Lisa Hodge (Totes Upcycled) and Tanya Dobbyn (Clayful Creations by Tanya).

Kite Design Studio is an innovative space based in Waterford City and designed to enable the sharing of knowledge, resources and facilities for craft businesses.  Through an ethos of collaboration where businesses can connect support and grow, coworking spaces offer you the opportunity to bring structure to your day while increasing productivity and is a great alternative to working from home.

First introduced in 2013, this year’s First Flight programme provides a professional workspace, mentoring and practical business advice to creatives in a bustling, collaborative co-working space for six months commencing in June 2023.

To date, dozens of small craft businesses, artists and graduates of Waterford VTOS (Vocational Training Opportunities Scheme) have availed of First Flight placements, enabling them to develop their businesses commercially.

Michelle Dunne is one of those selected for this year’s First Flight placement. Michelle, originally from Tramore, now living in Ferrybank, is an artist and metalworker, and is planning to make the most of this opportunity. “The craft industry can be a lonely job, so places like Kite Design Studios are extremely important. Designers working alongside each other, inspires and increases knowledge in the whole design process.”

Jamie Whitty, Business Advisor with LEO Waterford said, “Over the years we have seen some inspirational artists and small craft businesses travel through this programme since 2013.”

As First Flight co-ordinator with the LEO she sees the benefit of the programme, “Waterford’s tradition in the arts and abundance of artistic talent cannot be denied, be it fashion designers, sculptors, jewellery makers or crystal craftspeople.  The First Flight programme gives talented individuals the resources and assistance to cultivate their businesses and gain from the experience of their peers in a shared creative space.”

If you are an artist or small craft business and would like to avail of a dedicated workspace, mentoring and business advice, speak to your Local Enterprise Office about the First Flight Enterprise programme. Alternatively visit or call into Local Enterprise Office Waterford at 35, The Mall.


Photo by David Murphy Studio:

Tanya Dobbyn (Clayful Creations by Tanya), Lisa Hodge (Totes Upcycled), Jamie Whitty (Business Advisor with LEO Waterford) and Michelle Dunne (Strong Roots Jewellery).

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