Claire is a small batch potter located in Hempstead near Saffron Walden, Essex. All her work is thrown on the potter’s wheel, using porcelain and stoneware clay, decorated simply using neutral and complementary coloured slips and glazes, which are bisque fired to 960 degrees, then a second firing exposes the pieces to 1,240 degrees. Claire's collection was one of our first suppliers, on the first day I fell in love with this vase and I think it’s the flash of turquoise on the inside that does it!
Claire and Mary in conversation …..
Q: How long have you been making ceramics?
A: I first picked up my first ball of clay just over 4 years. I have always made and created, and have tried every craft you could think of. My husband bought me a throwing weekend as a Christmas present, and at the end of day one I was on Ebay trying to find a second-hand wheel. I was hooked! I invested in my kiln 6 months later, when my garage had completely filled with unfired pots!
Q: How would you describe your products if someone had never seen them before?
A: I make wheelthrown ceramics, in simple forms and neutral pallets. They are designed to fit seamlessly into your home; to be functional but also beautiful.
Q: Where do you get your inspiration from?
A: I think I’m most inspired by my friends’ and family’s homes; I like to think about what would enhance their homes, something useful but also something to be proud of owning and displaying.
Q: Are there any little tips or tricks you’ve learned over the years, that would help or inspire budding artists?
A: If you want something passionately enough, it will happen. Don’t be tempted to rush and say yes to everything, and don’t get too down when sales are low, it’s not your product, it’s that you’ve got the wrong audience.
Q: Do you list to music when making your stunning products and if so, what are you currently listen to?
A: I listen to Radio 2 constantly, fail miserably at Pop Master, and shout at some of the callers on Jeremy Vine!
Q: What do you personally find the most challenging thing about your work?
A: I find multi-tasking quite hard. I’m great when I have a clear day of throwing, but when I have to juggle packing and posting, along with catching up on admin and emails, and being a taxi to my teenage daughters, things become quite challenging.
Q: What is the highlight of your career so far, or your proudest moment?
A: My proudest moment was selling my first pot at my daughter’s school summer fete. I was so delighted that someone was genuinely happy to part with their hard-earned cash to buy one of my pieces.
Q: Who is your favourite artist or creator, and why?
A: Goodness I have so many, I sometimes think that my ceramics business supports my art addiction! I particularly love collecting ceramics, and am currently enjoying the work of Ali Tomlin and Cambridge ceramicist Katharina Klug, and one day aspire to own a raku piece by Tim Andrews. As you can see, I’m drawn to clean contemporary lines.
Q: What small business are you loving at the moment?
A: I’m currently working with Kate Keller, who makes gorgeous chunky crochet baskets (Insta @katarzynkeller), and artists and illustrator Helen Wiseman (www.helenwiseman.co.uk). I also adore the Saffron Walden independent business scene, including Hill Street Chocolates (www.hill.st). "I love Hill Street as well Claire"
Q: We have just introduced your Mustard Ombre Mugs to Wonky Wheel, what other pieces that we have on offer are your favourite here at Wonky Wheel Gallery, and why?
A: I’m actually most proud of my cake stand. These are thrown in two pieces, then attached at the leather hard stage. It’s quite a challenge to ensure that cracks don’t appear at the join as the piece dries, so it’s kept under plastic for at least a week to ensure even drying. The next challenge is to ensure it doesn’t warp when fired, so the pieces are thrown separately up to 1240 degrees. I have a little happy dance around my studio when I open the kiln to these particularly challenging pieces!
Claire Folkes new work has arrival into the gallery in time for Christmas we look forward to your feedback. You can find out more about Claire Folkes Ceramics by clicking here
My favourite cake is Lemon drizzle cake, what's yours?
Happy Cake Day.... Until next week....