Interview: Elisabeth Edwards

If you read Design Hunter regularly you may know that I love to feature the work of designers from the Midlands where I live. There is a wealth of talent in the region, but because it isn't always clustered together in one place it can sometimes be overlooked. I discovered these beautiful pots by Elisabeth Edwards right on my own doorstep at The Pump Rooms Gallery in Leamington Spa recently.

Elisaeth works out of a studio near Shipston-on-Stour, throwing sculptural domestic ware in porcelain. One of the things that I love about her work is that intricate turned details are often hidden from view on the underside of the pots. She has just opened an online shop where you can buy a selection of her work and will be holding an open studio from 1-16 December which I definitely plan to pop along to.

I asked her to tell me a little more about her work, processes and inspirations.

Which 3 words best describe the style of your work?

Tactile, functional and serene.

I read on The Foodie Bugle (a site I really love by the way), that you began your career as a photographer, working in black and white. What influence do you think this has had on the type of work you now create?

I am very aware of all my senses. Sight and touch are a huge reason why I now create with clay and why it is so important how my work feels. Making something that sits pleasingly in the hand is more satisfying to me than a flat image. I now use photography as a way to express how my work feels to those who might not have a piece directly in front of them. I want my pots to look good and I really enjoy trying to capture that with the photographs I take of them. However, I would say that it is just as important, if not more so, how they feel. I love taking a beautiful image but I hope that it pales in comparison to the beautiful tactile object itself. I find colour very arresting to the eye and often it will be noticed before the form itself. As I am interested primarily in the shape, I am very cautious in using colour, as I do not want to detract from the form, both in photographs and in pots. I use colour in my ceramics as a punctuation amongst the white, and often hidden from view underneath.

Describe a typical day in the studio?

I love the freedom that being my own boss and having my own studio space brings. Each day is different, however it will invariably start with me arriving in wellies and a fair amount of mud having walked the half hour from home across the fields. This really sets me up for the day, a time to contemplate and plan. I have been in my studio for nearly a year and so far there has been no typical day in the studio.

What's your favourite part of the creative process?

By far my favourite part of the creative process is throwing. I absolutely love working with the soft, clean porcelain between my hands. The creamy whiteness and smoothness is so delicious to work with, I often get completely lost in it. It is quite a meditative action for me and very quietening to my mind. It is only a very small part of the making process however, as most of the time is taken with turning (trimming away the excess clay) and smoothing, burnishing and polishing the outside surface.

What are you currently working on?

I am currently working on a set of sake bottle and cups and developing a new black, glossy glaze. It is a busy and exciting time of year for me. My online shop has just been launched on my website which has long been dreamed of. After the huge success of opening my studio in the summer for the Warwickshire Open Studios (www.warwickshireopenstudios.org), I am excited to be opening up the studio again before Christmas. The studio will be open to visitors 1-16th December daily, 10-4. For this reason I am also testing which cakes bake the best in my kiln.

Who or what inspires you?

I am inspired by nature and usually by the tiniest of things, the details of a curled leaf perhaps or the tightly wound petals in bud.

One thing you couldn't live without?

Tea...endless wonderful tea in cups I have made myself. Either with visitors to the studio or just to defrost my poor frozen hands...

Photo courtesy of Fiona Murray Photography

For more information on Elisabeth's open studio dates in December or to buy work from her online shop visit  www.eeceramics.co.uk

Ceramics, InterviewsHelenComment