How do you describe what you do?
I make slightly wonky pots.
How did you get started in ceramics?
Ceramics begun for me when I went to my first, free-form clay workshop at the Makerspace. That then led onto the 3-week throwing workshop in January this year. After my first session, I was straight back into the studio the following morning playing with the clay and making some very questionable shapes. It was so fun.
What makes your work and/or process unique?
I’d say it’s the way everything has a bit of character and is not identical to the other pieces in their batch. Right now, I make very small batches of things and tend to change up their shapes overtime. I like to experiment with how I can adapt my design. As I progress, and get better at ceramics, I would like to find my definite style. But, for now, I’m happy with how varied my pieces are.
What would your top tip(s) be for anyone considering taking up ceramics?
Just go for it! Don’t worry if it all goes ‘wrong’ at first. You really learn as you go along and YouTube videos will be your best friend throughout. There is always something helpful you can pick up on there.
I think it would also be greatly beneficial if you’re able to access a Makerspace or potters studio, to have a community around you that can help. There will be times you’ll have questions and it’s great to have knowledgeable people on hand.
What piece of work or project are you most proud of?
I’ve recently been asked to make 30 pots for the Willow Home and Occasions plant store in Lowestoft. This couldn’t have been a better match for me to start with in selling wholesale. I am a massive plant lover myself and I cannot wait to visit the store to see my pots on display - while picking up 1 plant or 5.
When you have the dreaded creative block, where do you get your ideas and inspiration from?
I find Instagram to be a great tool for finding ideas of what to make next. There is such a vibrant community of ceramicist on there, creating all kinds of things from 12-piece dinner sets to intricate porcelain sculptures. If I see something I like, I will sketch out some ideas of how I could make that piece unique and my own.
Sometimes I will be in the studio throwing my usual shapes, stuck for ideas and something will go wrong, leading to a new idea. This happened just last week when I was throwing some of my mugs and the clay was not cooperating with me at all. So, it led to me just making what I could of it and a small vase was produced. It was as though an idea just fell into my lap without even trying, which was lovely. I’m looking forward to progressing the idea further.
What other artist or maker do you admire and why?
I really admire Lilly Maetzig who runs Mae Ceramics. Her work is so beautifully crafted, and she often shows her processes on Instagram stories. You get to see the item transformed from a ball of clay to a masterpiece. I’ve really learnt a lot from Lilly just by watching her videos, but I would love to go to her one-on-one clay sessions because I think I would benefit so much from it.
I also really love the work of Henrietta Harris, who is a Fine Art painter and illustrator from New Zealand. Since discovering her work in 2015, I’ve been following along as her as she moves on from portraits onto landscapes, and becoming even more breathtaking as the years go on. I’d love to be able to visit an exhibition of Harris’ and experience her work.
Any books or exhibitions and events coming up you can recommend?
Amazing Glaze by Gabriel Kline! I was gifted this book at Christmas before I even was able to throw - I love it so much. There are glaze recipes inside with all the measurements for some gorgeous and unique colours. I’m yet to dabble in the world of mixing up a glaze recipe, but this will be the book I turn to for that.
As for exhibitions, I’d highly recommend visiting the Royal Academy Summer Show that is on from June to August every year. There is always something for everyone. Last year, Grayson Perry curated the exhibition, which has been my favourite to date.
Why is Colchester Makerspace important to you/or and your work?
Colchester Makerspace is the most valuable resource I have. I would have never been able to realise my love of clay and making ceramics without access to this space. It’s ever growing with equipment, and it’s a true gem within Colchester.