Laura Huston's original pieces are the latest addition to the Such & Such collection of ceramics. We fell for her tactile handmade pieces with their individual markings straight away.
Laura uses a technique known in ceramic circles as Sgraffito, which translated from Italian means, "to scratch". The surface of the clay is scratched away when the clay is hard to reveal the natural clay colour below.
All the pieces are completely unique and have a lovely subtleness to them. Her bowls, mugs and tumblers are a great size and the colour is perfectly balanced. Her lamp bases are truly different to anything we have come across and are where you see the Sgraffito more readily employed in the making process and finished design.
We had to find out more about Laura, her practice and who & what inspires her beautiful work...
How did you get to where you are today?
I decided on a career change about 8 years ago. I had been working on art departments for films but became dissatisfied with the lifestyle. I am a creature of habit and routine is really important. I knew my favourite part of the art department was just making stuff so I embarked on a course in pottery and woodwork to see which one suited me. It was obvious from the first session. For three years I took part time pottery courses in London, studying at Morley, Kensington & Chelsea and City Lit. I was going to attend the diploma course at City Lit but my partner and I fell pregnant with my first child. Instead we moved to Norfolk, where I grew up. I built a studio at my mothers house in a converted barn and I work there 3 days a week in between looking after my two children.
Where are you based & why?
We live in a cottage outside of a village called Houghton in North Norfolk. I grew up close by and used to walk past this cottage and fantasise about living here. When it came up for rent we grabbed the chance to live here. It’s surrounded by trees and a meadow and there are no neighbours for miles! I love the freedom and isolation. My studio is five minutes drive away.
What are you currently working on?
Lamp bases and large vases for a company called Norfolk by Design. They support local Norfolk artists and craftsman. I usually have a few orders to keep me busy and in the quieter moments I like to refine my designs or try new things.
What does a typical working day involve?
On the days I am not with the children I head to my studio around 9.
Every day is different depending on whether I am throwing new pots, turning the bottoms of previously thrown pots, applying slips or decoration, or glazing fired pots. There are so many elements to making a ceramic object. Sometimes I spend all morning mixing glazes. Sometimes it's making test tiles. No two days are the same.
What is the most exciting thing that has happened since you began working in ceramics?
Being part of a show at Groundwork Gallery in Kings Lynn last year was fantastic. It was the first time I saw my designs in a gallery setting and it really focused my thoughts on what I was making and how I wanted to proceed.
Who, where and what inspires you?
I admire the work of John Ward, Lucie Rie, Ian Godfrey, and Korean Buncheong ware for their timeless beauty, the ancient quality of their work and the way the decoration is integral to the pots.
I use sketchbooks to record what I see, drawing from life, sometimes using collage to play with texture, pattern and colour. Visiting museums has always been a source of inspiration, especially the collections of antiquities and ceramics at the British Museum and V&A.
Experimenting is key to my work and each success inspires new designs. I constantly rework ideas, playing with form, decoration, texture and glazes to create a surface that has a tactile depth.
In the last year I have simplified my style, attempting to create a subtle strength of form and pattern.
Tell us what you love to do when you are not working?
Swimming in the sea. Gardening. Hanging out with friends. I’m often alone in my studio so seeing friends and family is very important to me.
City or country? Country with mini-visits to the city
North or South? Both.
Beach or Mountain? Both. I live in the flattest county in the UK so mountains are really exciting!
Books or Movies? Both.
Sweet or Savoury? Savoury.
Tea or Coffee? Coffee in morning. Herbal tea after.
Cat or Dog? Cat but maybe a dog one day.
Sketchbook or Laptop? Sketchbook
Design or Make? Make
To see the new range of ceramics by Laura Huston for Such & Such click here