We are so excited to welcome brand new team member, Claire, to the deVOL clan. I thought it would be really nice for my next deVOLfolk blog to introduce you to our new ceramicist who’ll be working on a gorgeous new collection for deVOL…and it was the perfect excuse for me to get to know her a little better too.
Claire exploring Barcelona
C L A I R E F O W L E R
C E R A M I C I S T
A keen eye for design and a real skill for making the most beautiful ceramics has already seen Claire win the prestigious runners up prize at the New Designers exhibition in London, and land a job as deVOL’s latest ceramicist months before she even ordered her graduation gown. Claire’s laid back ambition is admirable, after such an impressive start to the year she doesn’t show an ounce of arrogance, just the will to learn more about something that she is clearly truly passionate about. We’ve been selling Claire’s amazing work at Cotes Mill for some time and absolutely cannot wait to see where her creativity and drive take her when she starts full time at deVOL this summer.
A display of Claire’s beautiful ceramics at the New Designers Awards
Firstly, congratulations on winning the New Designers runner up prize! Can you tell us a little bit about your project?
Thank you, I was so over the moon to be awarded a prize at such a huge event! My project focused on creating a range of functional ceramic ware for the home that explored coloured clay and simple forms. Using oxides to stain the clay, I was able to create colour co-ordinated pieces for use in the kitchen and at the table. The project was sort of a prototype collection of objects that I hope to carry on making when I start working at deVOL, who were incredibly kind to buy me a potter’s wheel to go in my room at Uni, so I could work whenever I wanted to on the project!
Claire celebrating her graduation at Loughborough University
How did you get into ceramics?
When I started my course, I was actually completely uninterested in ceramics – I was dead set on making it as a furniture or lighting designer… How things change! It wasn’t until the first day of my second year that I asked my tutor, Ben, to show me how to throw on the potter’s wheel and basically the rest is history! I was pretty bad when I started, but it didn’t bother me, I was hooked. After a few more days of trying to throw, I began watching YouTube videos for tips and tricks and just kept practising and practising until I could make the shapes I was drawing in my sketchbooks. It took me the whole of my second year to get confident with throwing various forms but my interest in colour and the need to glaze my work properly didn’t take off until my final year, that’s when I began my research into coloured clay.
Claire Barbecuing at home
You have done pieces with lots of other materials too. Is ceramics the direction that you want to focus on from now on or do you see yourself continuing in different fields of design too?
I’m pretty sure I’ll be sticking with ceramics for now but I’m working on getting better and better as I go, I’ve still got a lot to learn and I think working in an environment like deVOL can only make me a better designer. I love the combination of ceramics and wood though, so I’m really excited to plan some projects that involve using a mixture of these materials.
What excites you most about starting at deVOL?
The people, the location, the ever growing animal farm… it’s pretty dreamy for a first job straight out of university! What I’m most excited about though, is doing a job that I actually really love with a creative and passionate company that are so inspiring and supportive of young designers.
Claire overlooking beautiful Barcelona
So when you’re not at the potter’s wheel, how do you like to while away an afternoon?
If it’s sunny, then I love being outdoors – preferably on a beach! I managed to fit in a little holiday to Barcelona using some of the prize money from New Designers, which was just gorgeous! It’s a beautiful city and the tapas is just to die for… I’d definitely recommend it to any fellow foodies! I’ve also just moved into a new flat and I’m feeling like the biggest grown up ever! It’s pretty scary but it’s been so exciting settling in, I’m really enjoying spending time making it my own little space.
More of Claire’s lovely ceramics displayed at Cotes Mill
This summer you’ll find Claire pottering around our ceramics studio at our Cotes Mill showrooms, it’s a really lovely little space with a big old vintage kiln and lots of beautiful inspiration from our resident ceramicists Ed and Hannah. You can sit at the potter’s wheel and watch the comings and goings of Cotes Mill life, designers and makers wandering around amongst Peacocks and Guinea Fowl, it really is a very unique place to work.
– To see more of Claire’s beautiful designs, check out her Instagram here.