smoart is the company behind Sandra Owens, Artist & Designer Maker was founded in 2007 while Sandra was studying for a BA in contemporary craft at Coventry University. Sandra received as start up grant from the Speed (Student Placements for Entrepreneurs in Education) programme to help with initial equipment, research travel funding and as part of the programme she undertook business training in parallel to her creative studies.
After graduating in 2008 the economic situation in the UK was lacking promise so Sandra decided to undertake a masters degree in contemporary crafts, also at Coventry. This had to be part time as economic pressure had begun to have an impact on the whole family. In a difficult and economic time it would have been easier not to continue with expensive studies and or choose to open a studio, to give Sandra a creative space away from home, where she could make and showcase her work. Kirk (Pickstone) Sandra’s Husband and co-director stood firmly behind Sandra, as his belief in her work has been a key driver for keeping the creative side of smoart alive.
The designs and products that define smoart and Sandra Owens were borne out of her masters studies where for Sandra ceramics met industrial design (ID). Many months were spent in the ID studio tweaking the machines and designs to achieve the desired results, Sandra says
‘I sometimes forget how much time and passion has gong into developing today’s products, it is healthy to look back at the very first prototypes and badly cast tiles to see just how far we have all come.
Today smoart is very much a family affair with all family members having specific roles skills which significantly contribute to producing Sandra’s designs.