Since launching the special stoneware pieces, Fi chatted with Daisy to find out more about her creative journey, the inspiration behind the pieces for Bluebellgray and their mutual love of colour...
- How did you begin your creative journey? - I was lucky enough to have teachers at school from the age of 7 who taught ceramics and the first piece I ever made was a tile with a quail on it (my father kept these birds), the second piece was a head modelling the hairstyle I wanted at the time. So from an early age it was a material I easily expressed myself with. Visits to my grandmothers usually resulted in her giving me tea sets which were so precious to me and I kept them like precious treasures. We ate my grandmothers amazing cakes on fine china and sat in front of her open fire where I became familiar with every toby jug and pot adorning her fireplace. I knew from the age of 7 that I wanted to work in clay but didn’t know it was a possibility, its amazing that where there is an intention, the universe guides you. I had an amazing ceramics tutor on my foundation course where I specialised in textiles and ceramics. My degree at Leicester Polytechnic was chosen because there was textiles within the school which I could access. I specialised in ceramics and glass for Design for Manufacture. My MA was in ceramics within the school of Fine Art, here I explored the more sculptural aspects of ceramics and a personal narrative. Two tutors, ‘Gwen Heeney’ and Cornelia Parker were hugely inspirational.
- And what inspired you to start working in ceramics? A childhood visit to Hornsea pottery had me hooked, I viewed piles of discarded molds in a heap and could make out the shapes which the cast, I remember my curiosity of what exactly these were. Of course as a child brought up in the seventies, I watched the generation game, the guy who demonstrated pottery throwing ended up being my tutor in University!
- Can you tell us a little bit about your process? I work with a ceramic tableware company who supply UK high street stores. I love being given a brief or trend board and responding through making. The samples can then be sent to a factory and it’s then a process of working with the factory to get the results we are happy with. In forging links with industry I have built a close relationship with one factory in particular where I work directly on the factory floor. Once the shapes have been agreed, we develop the glazes and I show the factory how to apply the glaze.
- We are both colour lovers - what do you think it is that makes you love colour so much? I find the effects of light on colour is such an inspiration in the countryside. I rarely take a car journey without stopping and photographing the beauty of weather, landscape and animals within it. The same car journey constantly changes with the effects of weather and light. I love process and with ceramics, there is plenty of process and chemistry involved in achieving atmosphere and colour, stoneware glazes offer a richer palette than those in slipware and I am busy exploring this area of ceramics. The discovery of something new is what keeps me hooked, whether that is a mug handle, a surface pattern technique or a glaze, it’s an obsession and an addiction.
- And how did you come up with the special pieces you created for Bluebellgray? (View the collection here) - With the Bluebellgray range, I felt the work should sit within the textiles and complement it without feeling wallpapered. Bluebellgray is so amazing to work with because Fi understands how as a designer I need a degree of freedom to allow the magic to happen in a fluid way. Then we can collaborate on which areas are working and which need to be left behind. It’s akin to seeing a person or body shape and instinctively knowing what would suit them. I brought back 5 kilos of some Bluebellgray powdered glaze through customs so I could use exactly the same glaze on some samples I was making in my studio. Of course I was stopped and had to explain what this white powder was. My explanation seemed credible and I was on my way. I think the glaze drips over my shoes helped!