An interview with Lucy Ogden – Ceramist

Hello and welcome back to the Artists and Makers fair blog, this will be our final post for the year as the fair is upon us! Don’t forget to come along this Saturday 1st December 2018 in Lewes Town Hall 10am to 5pm to kick your Christmas shopping off in style whilst also raising money for Western Road Primary school!

As this is the final post it is important that we take this opportunity to thank ‘The Team’ behind the scenes, who work so so hard to get the brilliant Artists and Makers fair off the ground and are responsible for making it runs so smoothly – they really all are an incredible bunch. Also, we also want to give our thanks to every volunteer who make the fair such a great success each year. If it weren’t for people giving up their valuable time the fair would really not be possible so THANK YOU!!!

Now here, for our final interview of the series we have Lucy Ogden. A ceramist with 25 years experience behind her. Lucy’s work is often inspired by the South Downs and also by her two Lurchers who she walks there every day. Working using the time-consuming but beautiful paper-resist method of decorating ceramics, Lucy makes a small quantity of unique and stunning pieces. Some of which you will be lucky enough to see on Saturday! Here is more about the artist herself…

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Have you always wanted to work as a ceramist?

I fell in love with pottery when I did a little at school but didn’t continue with it
until I did an evening class in my early 20s.

How did your career get started?

In many ways I think my career has only just got started. For years I was
making very different work, mainly wheel thrown and decorated with hand
brushed patterns. I didn’t feel particularly proud of my what I did, it was just
what I did. Then a couple of years ago I changed my working practices
completely and decided to make my work much more illustrative. I’m finding it
so incredibly enjoyable and it seems to be much more popular too!

20181115_152747Can you describe your creative process?

I’m always thinking about my work, ideas popping around in my head
constantly. Once I’ve decided on a road to go down design wise, I do a few
quick drawings then move on to cutting shapes out of pieces of paper. I use a
paper resist method to create my designs, this involves painting the ceramic
piece with coloured slip, applying the paper shapes then painting over with
more slip. Once the slip is dry I remove the paper to reveal the design, I then
add details with sgraffito and hand painting. The pieces then dry slowly before
being fired.

How do you choose your designs? Where do you take your inspiration from?

My designs are mainly inspired by nature, more specifically by my walks on
the South Downs and also fairy tales and children’s books.

20181105_120040How has your style changed over the years? How would you describe your
style now?

It has become far more illustrative, I would describe it as contemporary
illustrated ceramics.

What is the most challenging part about your work as an artist?

Learning to be patient, very important in ceramics, waiting for the kiln to cool
down and not rushing things!

Where do you work? Can you describe your workspace?

I work in a studio in my garden, a 20” x 10” shed with a kiln, wheel and lots of
worktop and shelves.

What is your typical working day?

My day starts with an early walk with my lurchers then into my studio by
8.30am. There is no typical day, it just depends on where I’m at with the latest
batch, so I could be wedging, weighing, rolling out, mixing up colours,
decorating, designing, glazing, packing orders, website and paper work. The
day ends when it ends, often far too late.

Hannah Ryggen, Drømmedød (Death of dreams), 1936. © Nordenfjeldske Kunstindustrimuseum National Museum of Decorative Arts
Hannah Ryggen, Drømmedød (Death of dreams), 1936. © Nordenfjeldske Kunstindustrimuseum National Museum of Decorative Arts

If you could meet an artist or maker from history who would it be
and why?

I would be fascinated to meet Norweigan textile artist Hannah Ryggen. She
made tapestries that were beautiful and shocking responses to the Nazi
occupation of Norway. She used abstract pattern and colour alongside a
compelling narrative.

What advice would you give to someone just starting out in ceramics?

My advice would be work out what you love about ceramics and do that. Don’t
waste any time trying to do what you think others might like and just keep at it!

 

So that’s a wrap for another year. Thanks for reading the posts and for all your love and support for the fair. We will look forward to seeing you all there on Saturday!

Merry Christmas!

Jo

The Lewes Home

An interview with perfumer Nancy Meiland

We’re delighted to be welcoming Nancy Meiland and her wonderful scents back to Artists and Makers this year.

Initially trained as an actress, a chance meeting at a party led to a whole new career path for Nancy. Read more of her story below.

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Have you always wanted to work as a perfumer?

I’m always been almost magnetically drawn to the creation of scent and the delicate interlacing of art, alchemy, people and the natural world that it involves. I’ve always had a keen sense of smell and my earliest scent memories have always stayed with me; my Grandfather’s wax jacket coming in from the rain and burying my face in the giant, dew-drop bejewelled, roses in my Grandmother’s garden.

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How did your career get started?

It all began very benevolently when, fresh out of drama school, I met perfumer, Anastasia Brozler at a party in St James, London. Within a week I started as an apprentice to her – she is one of those rare people who are so utterly generous with their knowledge. I would clean the vials in the fragrance library, decant oils and run her diary and assist with the fragrance ‘profiling’ of clients – a who’s who of interesting people who came to have their bespoke fragrance created.  My time working for her spiked my interest daily and although I was still focussed on acting at the time, cramming auditions into lunch hours and memorising scripts, I couldn’t have known then what a magical trail into perfume it promised to be and what a gift I was being given.

Can you describe your creative process?

S.l.o.w. Ebb and flow. I can go through hundreds of drafts of perfume and outline sketches of formulas before I hit on something that I feel is truly exceptional. Sometimes the inspiration and the shape of a formula emerge quickly and easily but I usually work gradually, allowing formulas to take shape on their own accord.

How do you choose your scents? 

I’m most attracted to natural raw materials that have the quality of transporting us into a landscape and offer a sense of place, exalting the natural world.  I especially love herbaceous notes, tea and Oud notes within a perfume. I always take a walk, often over the Downs, with my final formulas to see if they make enough of a connection to the natural world and if they feel too brash or jarring, then I know the balance needs to be refound.

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Where do you take your inspiration from?

Always from mother nature herself. A sense of time and place within a perfume continues to fascinate me.  It could be a particular light or time of day.  For my ready-to-wear collection, I’m usually inspired by nature’s wildest landscapes.  I then work with individual clients on bespoke scents and fragrances for brands for coveting something highly individual and special – my SIGNATURE SCENTING process. This keeps my work varied and new – I adore these commissions.

How has your style changed over the years? How would you describe your
style now?

The feel of the collection is ‘luxury bohemian’ in style – I try to remain true to my instincts rather than be swayed by fragrance trends and fashion projections.  In terms of what’s coming up for NMP, I’d say the howI create my perfumes is changing and evolving rather than my overall style. 

What is the most challenging part about your work as a perfumer?

Perfumers are very tightly regulated in terms of what we can use and in what quantity and that changes year on year in accordance with IFRA, our regulating body.  Also, naturals are increasingly expensive!

Where do you work? Can you describe your workspace?

My desk is split between a shared studio space and home.  It’s pretty organised paperwork wise and shot through with pictures by my children, postcards from art exhibitions I’ve enjoyed, the odd apple core and a clutter of vials and perfume bottles.  I like to light a candle and blend in peace and quiet – when the children are at school or in the evening! I try to let the ‘silence speak’ when I’m creating.

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What is your typical working day?

I try to do my daily practise and meditate first thing in the morning, as often as I can.  Then I leave my phone at home and start the day with the school run followed by a run or walk with the dog.  The I’m either at the studio or home, processing orders and handling the admin side of NMP.  Then most days, I cook something for the family for supper around lunchtime. Then I have a few more hours to work on NMP followed by school pick up and a fair few clubs through the week they need taking to.  My days are full but I consciously try to live in the present, sew in time to see my friends, hang out with the kiddos and sit quietly between it all. 

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If you could meet a creative person from history who would it be and why? 

Frida Kahlo because she used her art to transmute her pain and suffering. Frida’s art is both the rose and the thorn – she painted her inner truth to set her free. 

What advice would you give to someone just starting out in scent?

Try to stay objective about ‘good’ and ‘bad’ smells – every aroma is a combination of notes.  Take risks, stay curious and work out what you want to say through scent.

An interview with printmaker Patrick Edgeley

Patrick’s brilliantly eyecatching, typographic work takes inspiration from his career as a graphic designer… and it shows! We love his vintage style screenprints and use of rich bright colour. We talked to him about his studio in Newhaven and the maker he would most like to meet from history.

Visit his website to see more of his beautiful work.

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Have you always wanted to work as a designer?

From as far back as I can remember I have always been creative making and drawing. 

How did your career get started?

I went to several art schools and ended up studying graphic design. I really enjoyed this for many years exploring typography and imagery, but found I wasn’t able to express myself as freely as I wanted. I had studied print at art school many years before and decided I would like to try my hand at it again so joined a refresher course. I instantly fell back in love with the process and found myself utterly addicted to screen printing. 

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Can you describe your creative process?

I spend a great deal of time gathering images and information about the subject matter I want to work on. I make a lot of pencil drawings and then work on the collage print or illustration until I feel happy with it. From this I make it into a series of positives ready to be printed which is always challenging. The print studio is where I mix the various colours, expose the screens and lay down one colour at a time until I feel happy with the result.

Where do you take your inspiration from?

My inspiration stems from my many years as a graphic designer. Typography, Americana, vintage packaging and retro images feature greatly in my work. 

How has your style changed over the years? 

I would say my work has changed quite a bit over the years as I explore more & more with print, trying to push the boundaries incorporating new materials and techniques, this keeps me focused and engaged.

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How would you describe your style now?

I have two styles at the moment. One is more illustrative, celebrating vintage design in the form of products such as ceramics, cameras and radios as well as package designs, predominantly from America from the 50s to the 70s. The other is more recent, in which I take old imagery and recycle it to use it in collages which I then screen print. I have recently been working on 3D picture boxes which incorporate 3D typography with printmaking. 

What is the most challenging part about your work?

Probably trying to work out how to print each piece as some have up to forty colours and you have to be really careful which colours to out down first and subsequently. 

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Where do you work? 

I split my time working at my home studio in Hove and my print studio in Newhaven.

Can you describe your workspace?

It’s a fully equipped non profit print studio in Newhaven which I run. This is where I produce my screen prints & 3D work. It’s lovely big space with plenty of light.

What is your typical working day?

I often take a bit of time out to explore new ideas I’ve thought of during the previous day, this goes into my ideas folder which I can refer back to when I need inspiration. Some days I’ll work on existing projects at home where I can work up the ideas so that I can take it to the next stage at the print studio.

If you could meet a maker from history who would it be and why?

There are many but Eduardo Paolozzi who was one of the pioneers of pop art would be fascinating to talk to. I’ve always loved his work but after seeing it in the flesh at an exhibition in London a few year back I was utterly mesmerized by his work, both sculpture and print. There is so much going on in some of his work it’s hard to know where to look first, with his use of bold colours and imagery, it’s a huge inspiration.

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What advice would you give to someone just starting out in design?

Don’t be afraid of pushing the boundaries, you won’t always get it right but that’s part of the process.

An interview with printmaker Hannah Forward

Hannah Forward has always been an outside observer of the world around her. In her art she absorbs and simplifies modern life as she sees it, creating order through colour and shape.

In this week’s blog post, Artists and Makers asked her more about her creative process and enjoyed a sneak preview of some of the visual delights she will have on offer at this year’s fair.

For more info on Hannah’s work, visit her website or Instagram – @hannah_forward_art

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Have you always wanted to work as an artist? 

I’ve definitely always dreamt of being able to work at home all day being creative. When I was very young I wanted to be an author as it was the only job I was aware of where those two elements came together. Having the time and space (and quiet) to be free to dream stuff up all day (and hopefully somehow make enough money from it to get by!) I remember watching a short documentary once about a comic book writer and illustrator living in Glasgow who said he just really enjoyed having control over all the elements of his creative output – rather than being a small cog in a large machine, you are your own whole little machine yourself! I can really relate to that. 

How did your career get started? 

A bit about my background – I studied graphic design at Brighton Uni (2003-2006) which gave me an insight into becoming a more commercial artist, where one spends the majority of their time sat infront of a computer screen. I knew by the end of the course this wouldn’t suit me. I also began drawing for hours every day almost as a meditative practise. I uploaded the drawings I was doing onto a blog, which became my own website, which then lead to a few illustration jobs. Working for clients to a brief still didn’t feel like the best fit for the way I worked, however. I kept on drawing and developing my work, then got a job working for Lawrence Art Supplies in Hove in 2010 which introduced me to printmaking for the first time. I did a short course in relief printmaking at Bip in Kemptown and that was it – I was so excited by the possibilities of producing images through printmaking, exploring colour and shape, using drawing as a basis for everything. Everything about it suited me down to the ground – and so things suddenly became much clearer. I wanted to become a full time printmaker, I wanted to make my living as an artist. 

Jumping forward, I am now a full time printmaker and painter, which has been a very gradual process of cutting back my hours working at Lawrence’s until I felt brave enough to make that final jump. Which was probably the scariest decision I’ve ever made! How I earn my living is a combination of selling my work online, selling through artists open houses (including my own, 12 Scott Road, Hove), doing personal commissions, selling prints at the Royal Academy Summer Show and selling through galleries and shops. It’s all been a gradual building up of a local network and an online following. In June last year I appeared 

in a BBC documentary about three people hoping to get their shortlisted work into the 2018 RA Summer Show, so the exposure this provided for me and my work gave me the final boost I needed to finally quit my day job. 

The Match - Hannah Forward

Can you describe your creative process? 

I keep very rough ‘ideas’ sketchbooks for print ideas which I think might have potential, it might take months or years to look at that initial idea again and begin working on it properly in order to realise it as a final print. I always have a backlog of projects I want to work on, at the same time when I do decide on a print idea I want to develop I like to keep things as spontaneous as possible. I try not to labour too much over things, I want to keep the ideas and enthusiasm fresh. Often for small print ideas I’ll work straight onto the block in pencil and make decisions about the details as I’m doing it. For bigger, many layered print ideas it has to be more planned out but with print you can never quite predict the outcome of things, which is always so exciting. I’ll always opt for keeping things spontaneous and following the energy over worrying about things not being ‘perfect’. 

Where do you take your inspiration from? 

For my print work I seem to be drawn to depicting everyday events of modern life (maybe in a time before computers and smart phones became so ubiquitous) – people getting together for special events or activities or spending time alone with a hobby. I want my prints to express a kind of lively joy and positivity for life. I also have a series of detailed, multi layer analogue technology linocut prints, kind of like a tribute to the technology I grew up with that now seem like artefacts of a bygone time. I think it’s that I want to preserve this pre-digital time, and to kind of express what joy in life means to me. 

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How has your style changed over the years? 

When I began to develop my drawing I only drew with black ink and little paintbrushes for a long time. I didn’t want to get distracted by colour, I wanted to just concentrate on my lines and mark making until I felt I was developing something that felt like it was ‘mine’. So it was more kind of messy and raw looking. When I began making black and white linocut prints things naturally got more refined and I started to think more in blocks of colour as I developed into multi-layer printing. Now some of my prints are quite complex with up to six layers and maybe 25 colours, some are smaller and simpler but all have colour and movement as a key element. 

How would you describe your style now?

Contemporary, colourful with a strong sense of movement and an element of calmness and also humour! 

What is the most challenging part about your work? 

I work from my home printmaking studio, a space dedicated to my creative work. Working from home suits me well but it means the boundary between work life and home life is very blurred, so mentally and physically ‘clocking out’ from work and feeling like you’re properly away from it whilst still being in the same building is a challenge! It’s also hard to stop working when you enjoy your job so much – when I left my day job last summer I had nothing stopping me working crazy hours in the studio which then lead to me burning out and being forced to rest for a week. I’ve learnt a lot about my own limits in the last year or so, and just how important it is to give yourself a break regularly. Getting out the house and going for a run has helped a lot! 

Where do you work? 

In my home studio in Hove (two minutes from Lawrence Art Supplies) which I’ve gradually equipped with everything I need, including a very beloved Tofko press (a joint purchase with studio mate Georgia Flowers). 

Can you describe your workspace? 

I chose the biggest, lightest room of the house (which would typically be used as the master bedroom) to convert into a studio, so it’s at the front of the house on the first floor with a bay window. It’s got a large sturdy workbench (made for me by my dad) in the middle, with custom built shelves for portfolios of prints, paper and packaging. Then there’s the press, with boxes of ink and paint on the shelves underneath it. Generally I try to be pretty tidy because it helps me focus better. 

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What is your typical working day? 

I get up between 7.30 – 8am and three times a week will go for a run round the park. Then breakfast, then I’ll have a look at my log book where I write down my list of things to get done or work on that day. It’s usually a combination of replying to emails and packing orders in the morning then after lunch printing or painting for the rest of the day. Sometimes I have the morning clear so I’ll get to do printmaking or painting the entire day which I love. This is quite unusual though, as other little jobs easily build up and I like to get them cleared. I usually work until about 6.30pm, then my partner Georgia comes home and we’ll cook dinner together and watch something to chill out. 

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What advice would you give to someone just starting out as an artist? 

I graduated in 2006 and became a full time artist in 2018, so it took me twelve years to figure everything out. So I guess my main advice is to just keep the faith, and keep producing work that you love. Don’t expect fast success, being a full time creative is a hard slog especially while you’re building up your reputation at the beginning. Try not to get too distracted by comparing yourself to other people who you feel are more successful than you at this point, just concentrate on making really good work. Work hard and make great, original work and eventually people will come to you. 

I found Austin Kleon’s books ‘Steal Like an Artist’ and ‘Show Your Work!’ really helpful. 

An interview with Chloe Edward of Seven Sisters Spices

Seven Sisters’ Spices is a home based food business established by Chloe Edwards in 2013.

When Chloe moved from East London to East Sussex in 2010, she missed the spiced food she had grown up with. A keen cook, she set to trying to recreate the myriad flavours that her and her family were missing. Artists and Makers chatted to her about her inspirations and background.

For recipes and more details about Seven Sisters, visit the Seven Sisters Website

Have you always wanted to work as a foodie?

Lucky for me I grew up in a home where all the cooking was done from scratch, and I’ve always enjoyed cooking. I worked as a designer maker after graduating from Goldsmiths in the mid 90s, an endeavour I subsidised by working for a caterer, both waiting and cooking. I loved cooking for large numbers, really enjoyed the work and always thought it would be a good business to have. 

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How did your career get started?

The first seeds of Seven Sisters’ Spices were sown when we moved to Lewes from East London in 2010. I was so bereft of all the foods and flavours I’d grown up around being a Londoner, and I thought there was a gaping hole in the market locally for spiced food. Then a change in personal circumstances saw me at home suddenly and this presented itself as an opportunity to grow this seed of an idea. 

Can you describe your creative process?

When I’m planning recipes and menus I am influenced by the season, what’s available locally and also my mood – I find cooking an emotional experience and love how different moods can lead me to wanting to cook indifferent ways. 

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How do you choose your ingredients? 

Again local ingredients are a spur, as is anything I have growing on the allotment. My spices come from an organic wholesaler in the main, with Asian supermarkets supplementing some ingredients. 

Where do you take your inspiration from?

Along with seasons and moods I get inspired by food I eat while out and about, browsing the foodies I follow on Instagram and reading cook books. Realising I could claim the cost for cook books against tax was a mixed blessing! 

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How has your cooking style changed over the years? How would you describe your style now?

The way I cook has become more instinctive as I have grown in confidence. I started cooking with spices as a way to try and recapture the flavours I was missing from London, and being a novice I relied heavily on cook books and the Internet. But as I have honed my skills over the years and learnt more about flavours and how they work with each other I now really enjoy playing and being adventurous – free wheeling!

What is the most challenging part about your work?

The long hours and the physical work are most challenging. I love it, but it can be really tiring at times. Plus keeping on top of the admin when I’m busy in the kitchen can be really challenging!

Where do you work? Can you describe your workspace?

I work in my home kitchen. We have recently moved house and I am still learning about the space. It is bright and open with lots of light and access onto the garden. 

What is your typical working day?

There’s no such thing! My days are dictated by what commissions I have and what events are coming up. Twice a month I am at the Lewes Farmers Market, twice a year I am in The Feature Kitchen, sometimes I am doing lunches for a week long workshop, other times catering a wedding….it is literally different every day. Constants are my wireless headphones and audible account! I love having a job that allows me to work in my slippers listening to audio books a lot of the time!

If you could meet an chef from history who would it be and why?

Oooo, good question… currently I am a bit obsessed with Asma Khan of Darjeeling Express. I’ve booked a lunch table there for me and my partner in November to celebrate 20 years together. Her story is so inspiring, growing from pop up suppers to having a restaurant. I’m really lucky to work with Farley’s House and Gallery, interpreting Lee Millers recipes, and the more of them I cook the more I would love to go back in time and meet her over a G&T!

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What advice would you give to someone just starting out in catering?

Get to know the other foodies in your local area. Increasingly hubs and small community networks are doing exciting things in food. Embark on your enterprise consciously. There is a lot of potential for waste and pollution in catering, it’s best to embed systems to counter this early on. 

An interview with ceramicist Kate Brigden

Artist and maker Kate Brigden works out of her garden studio, nestled in the South Downs. After completing a Masters in Fine Art at Chelsea College of Art and Design, she turned her hand to clay in a quest to find a new surface to paint and make marks on. Her ceramics are all handmade in stoneware clay, fired in her kiln, glazed and then individually hand painted before their final firing, making each one unique. She took some time out to answer our questions.

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Have you always wanted to work as a potter? 

I studied as a painter for my degree and went on to do a Masters at Chelsea College of Art specialising in painting, but now pottery is what consumes me for now.

How did your career get started?  

I started with weekly pottery class, then started to work for my teacher Mohamed Hamid as a workshop assistant, then after my son was first born, (as with all babies) he was all consuming for 6 months at least. I really did struggle not being able to make things with my hands. When he was napping I used to make ceramic brooches in our spare room, even if i was exhausted and there was washing up to do   i still would  try and make something just to feel myself. I started selling them on Etsy and then when i had more time i went back to making pots.

Can you describe your creative process?

I’ve been trying to be a bit more disciplined the last few years.  I develop the patterns in a sketch book, usually inspired by symbolism and the natural world. In the last few years, I have been trying to launch a new pattern range twice a year. In terms of making the pots themselves that is a very lengthy process. I begin by throwing them on a pottery wheel, then drying them out a bit, then they are ‘turned’ or  ‘trimmed’ as it is sometimes called,  this is basically tidying up the bottom. Then they are left for more drying, the pot then gets fired in my kiln. Once out, it gets dipped  in a white glaze and that’s when i hand paint them, I mainly use a lovely blue colour which is lovely to paint with,  the pigment is actually mixed up by my boss Mohamed Hamid. I’m hoping one day he’ll give me the recipe1!:) The pots then get fired again and then they’re complete, i have lots of pots all in different stages, so it’s a juggling act.  

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Where do you take your inspiration from? 

Creatively speaking, paintings inspire me the most, I studied painting at art college. I carried on painting up until I had my little boy in 2016 but now my time is so limited that I have decided to concentrate on pottery at the moment – this way I can be creative but also bring in a little money for our little family. I will go back to painting at some point as that is my first love.

How has your style changed over the years? 

My paintings were quite intuitive and free and they weren’t at all commercial. Pottery is the total opposite of that, so I’ve had to completely change the way I create. 

How would you describe your style now? 

With pottery, my work is much more simple and accessible.

What is the most challenging part about your work? 

Working with clay and glaze means you are constantly being surprised, it is unpredictable and frustrating, as things can go wrong easily but it is also a wonderfully addictive medium. 

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Where do you work?

In my shed at the bottom of the garden with Radio 4 and Spotify for company.

Can you describe your workspace? 

Right now, pretty messy. I need to have a tidy up! 

What is your typical working day? 

My son is at nursery 3 afternoons a week so i have to cram in my making to those hours, as it gets busy in the lead up to Christmas, my husband’s work gets quieter, so he is looking after him more. If I have an afternoon or a full day of making ahead of me, I very rarely take a break – I get so engrossed, and I have so much to do in a short space of time! It’s generally one big juggling act of me trying to use my time effectively.

If you could meet a maker from history who would it be and why?

It would have to be a painter and it would have to be Frida Kahlo, she was so fierce and I love that in a woman. She had to endure so much in her life.  

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What advice would you give to someone just starting out as a potter? 

Before buying any big equipment, ask around pottery suppliers and fellow potters. I was so lucky to get my wheel and kiln for free. An elderly couple were wanting to get rid of  their equipment, this saved me thousands of pounds. I wouldn’t have the same set up as I have now, if it hadn’t been for their generosity. I’d still be saving up for a kiln in my piggy bank!