For 18 hours at a time and sustained by her husband’s deliveries of sandwiches, Patricia Shone feeds her hungry wood-fired kiln, continually stoking and tending to it just as makers have done for generations before her.

Outside, Skye’s ever-changing weather complements the dramatic scenery – nature’s inspiration for her highly textured ceramics with crackled and rutted surfaces that mirror the island’s rocks, bone dry sheep tracks, bumpy old roads, peat stacks and stone dwellings.

In her workshop, Shone has sweated over the blistering heat of her kiln and methodically teased clay into pots and vessels while preparing for the opening of her new studio. It might just be her and a glass of flat Prosecco, she concedes, but there will be a celebration of sorts to mark a landmark point in an otherwise grim year.

With galleries closed, exhibitions cancelled, craft festivals scrapped and creative juices temporarily drained by Covid’s depressing news, Shone, a former chef, ended up posting an update to her Facebook followers that she would be making sourdough bread instead.

Ironically, while the rest of the nation coped with the stresses of Covid-19 by getting creative with old and new-found crafts – from crochet to drawing, sewing, painting to pottery and carpentry – professional crafters across Scotland were plunged into crisis.

According to an impact survey carried out by Craft Scotland, the national body which supports makers and promotes their crafts, the economic impact of the pandemic on the nation’s makers and the craft infrastructure that supports their work, may be felt for years to come.

It warned of makers overwhelmed by the collapse of income with trade shows and wholesale orders ditched, shops closed, commissions hit by the cancellation of celebrations like weddings, and face to face workshops and classes cancelled.

There were concerns over being able to access studios and equipment, added issues of trying to remain creative while juggling childcare while trying to pivot businesses to capture online sales – particularly hard for those in slow broadband areas.

Additionally, the Survey for Venues, Studios & Curators showed problems linked to the loss of income and challenges of adjusting and reworking programmes stretched beyond the makers’ workshops.

While Shone found comfort in baking and put final touches to her new studio during lockdown, she realises how difficult the past few months have been for makers.

“There are a lot of urban makers with studios located away from their homes,” she says. “They’ve not been able to go to them.

“Others use their home as a studio and have been hit really hard, not able to get any help or support. Some will have faced big investments trying to put their business online and setting up a website.

“There are some people have been really on the edge financially.”

Now in an effort to boost the sector the body which supports Scotland’s 3000 contemporary craft makers and businesses, Craft Scotland, is launching the first Craft Week Scotland.

Running from November 9 to 15 and developed to raise awareness of the vibrant craft sector and boost sales, it will showcase the work of internationally renowned makers like award-winner Shone, alongside emerging talents in everything from furniture to jewellery, ceramics, textiles, glass and more.

In addition, craft destinations such as shops and workshops across Scotland will host visitors – subject to Government rules – with late night shopping and special events planned.

There are also plans for a series of talks and In Conversation events with makers and industry experts covering a range of topics including craft and the community and career routes into craft.

In Corsock, Dumfries & Galloway, Amanda Simmons wears protective equipment – not unlike a medic on a coronavirus ward might – to protect her from silica dust as she creates her kiln-formed glass.

Like Shone, her work is inspired by nature: pre-lockdown time spent in the Flow Country of Caithness and Sutherland helped to inspire a range embracing the vivid colours and textures of moss, mires and peat bogs.

“The pandemic has affected everyone,” she says. “All the galleries disappeared, I had an open studio coming up which is normally good for sales, a whole west coast of America tour ready to go – cancelled.

“Everything had to stop.

“When facing the fact that there is nowhere to sell anything, you might wonder ‘what is the point?’. I felt a little bit lost.”

With none of the usual outlets for her work, she did what many others did: decorating her home, taking up running and exploring her local countryside.

More recently she has swung her business towards trying to capture online sales, offering classes and web-based tutoring sessions, and grappling with learning how to film the intricacies of her glass-making.

Her studio will be open during Craft Week Scotland, but with no sign of things returning to normal, she expects makers will increasingly have to discover new ways to sell and earn.

“I love galleries, but we’ve got to embrace the online world,” she adds. Faced with “every nook and cranny” of his studio-based creative practice being affected by the pandemic, Edinburgh-based hand weaver James Donald also threw himself into finding new ways to keep going.

“I lost sales through retail closures, postponed weekend and evening classes and the potential to mentor from the studio,” he says. “I also lost my retail space, Concrete Wardrobe, indirectly through lockdown, which I co-ran with fellow textile designer Fiona MacIntosh for 20 years.

“This was a real blow, there was a loss of income and revenue from sales as well as being a space to promote my studio-based activities.”

Undaunted, he organised online textiles showcase CLOTH#20. “The website I developed, launched and set up for the event saw just under 3,000 unique hits in the first 48 hours of going live,” he says. “That is very exciting and something to build on.”

Craft Week Scotland will showcase craft talent, feature maker stories and include online craft workshops, courses and exhibitions.

Craft Scotland Director Irene Kernan said: “As the national development agency for craft, one of Craft Scotland's key aims is to promote high quality contemporary craft practice locally, nationally and internationally. Feedback from our recent COVID-19 Impact Surveys demonstrated the serious economic impact of the pandemic on Scotland’s craft sector and participants highlighted that both makers and craft destinations need increased support in reaching audiences.

“The Craft Week Scotland campaign is to encourage people to visit, engage with and buy from makers and craft destinations, including galleries, venues, independent shops and small businesses.

We want to encourage Scotland to shop handmade and local, and showcase the breadth of contemporary craft that is happening today.”

Full details of Craft Week Scotland are available on and updated activity can be followed using the hashtag #craftweekscotland.