On this blog I spent the last five years sharing the work of makers I admire. But this last year things have been a bit different for me as I fell madly in love with creating ceramics. I’ve been working on my own ceramic projects for quite some time now, even though I haven’t shared too much about it, up until today. I’m very proud, excited (and a wee bit nervous) to finally introduce.. The Pottery Parade!
The Pottery Parade
Yup. It’s a shop called The Pottery Parade and it offers a selection of my own handmade ceramics. Pots, planters, dishes, bowls and more cheerful (ánd functional) items to flourish up the home. The collection is quite diverse; it’s a parade that celebrates the endless possibilities of ceramics and, considering my continuing urge to experiment with new techniques, I’m not expecting it to narrow down any time soon. But there are definitely some similarities to spot in my creations: lots of color, polka dots, quirkiness and of course: illustrated pots with cute little faces. <3
You will find the shop here.
How did this happen?
At the beginning of this year I started taking ceramic classes at a studio called Noot & Zo. I frequently had been sharing works of ceramists I admired and it started to tickle my interest. From the very first pot I created, I developed what I called a ceramics crush. My crush started became a passion: I soon started taking blocks of clay home so I could continue making things any moment I wanted. And then it became an obsession: basically, the last few months I’ve spent my days cycling back and forth between my office and the studio, trying to learn as much about pottery as possible at any moment I could.
I’m enjoying ceramics so much; it lets you express creativity in so many different ways! Endless shapes, colors, glazes and techniques. Like my ceramics teacher Suus mentioned: you can spend a lifetime learning about the different styles and techniques you can apply to clay, but you’ll never learn them all.
About Noot & Zo
Based just outside the center of Utrecht, The Netherlands, Noot & Zo is a ceramics studio and showroom run by Suus Notenboom and Ralph Swart. In their beautiful spacious workplace (where they’re often accompanied by their cute dog Vink), Suus and Ralph give ceramics classes, workshops and showcase a gorgeous selection of ceramic items by Suus who has been a ceramist from a young age. It’s pretty much the perfect place if you’re looking to learn as much about clay as possible. Every single idea that popped in my head, no matter how unusual it may have been at times, was encouraged. There is a philosophy there that supports people to try out as many things as possible and follow your own path, so you can learn, grow and develop your own style. Combined with the excellent instructions Suus provided me, this place was exactly what I needed to become familiar with ceramics.
So much to know about clay
So does that mean I now know everything I want to know about ceramics? Nah, not even close. With the countless hours I spent at the studio this year I definitely feel I’ve come a long way. But I also feel that I still have a lot to learn and discover.
The potters wheel for example is a tricky business when your’re building your own first pot. It takes time and lots of practice to get your own feel around it. And in the whole process of creating a ceramic piece, the moment it comes out of the oven is a fatal one. The ceramics are baked at an average temperature of 1200 degrees Celsius and there is a lot that can happen to materials when exposed to a temperature like that! I’ve been both pleasantly surprised and unexpectedly let down with the end results; the latter one often being the best for the learning process. Also, as I have been using beautiful glazes that have been developed by Suus, I’m getting to a point where I’d like to learn to make my own colors and designs. And perhaps that’s what I love about ceramics the most; the fact that you can spend years and years towards creating your own line of techniques and styles.
Pots with Character
Although I’m continuously trying out new ideas that pop in my head, there are definitely some things that I’ve gown fond of. Lots of the items I make have legs. Yes, I love to see pots on legs come out of the oven. Especially the long ones. They’re often a bit uneven, which gives them character. And, perhaps not a big surprise because of my love for illustration, I’ve recently started to sculpt eyes, noses and flowers on my pots, building little clay characters. They are so much fun to make! You can find a small selection of them in the shop and more are on their way.
The Shop is live!
So yes, after writing about makers I admire for so long, opening a shop wit my own creations is definitely a special moment. I hope you’ll enjoy them as much as I loved creating them. It’s been an amazing adventure! As each of the items is made entirely by hand, each is unique and has it’s ow little quirky personality (even the ones without faces).
Below is a small selection of items that are now available. You will find the complete collection here!