I met Sue last year at the Origin Contemporary Craft Fair at Old Spitalfields Market, with my very stylish friend Holly Telling, and was very taken with her work, as, to be honest I was with many of the exhibitors there. The quality of ideas and technical skill all under one roof made me positively tingle with pleasure!
Since then, I am thrilled to say, that she has become increasingly busy. It seems that people really are beginning to realise the value of individually crafted pieces full of passion and energy. And, partly because she has kept in touch and I have gotten to know a little more about her, and partly because I like her work at a personal level – I love the Minoan connection and it links me to a very special time spent exploring their world in ancient Crete – I thought that she would be a great subject for my second blog on hidden workshops and craftspeople.
She really is hidden away – in the depths of rural France. But tragically I haven’t been able to visit – yet. And so, she has kindly helped me to put this together….
“Age 10 or thereabouts, my archaeologist grandmother gave me a book about the ancient Minoans. I was hooked – the sophistication of this lost civilisation and their beautiful artifacts, so fresh and alive, all fascinated me. Later on, whilst doing art A level with an inspired teacher, I learned how to throw. What other art form allows you to create objects that are virtually everlasting? In what other discipline can you hold an object and feel the imprint of its maker’s hand, a maker who worked perhaps 4000 years ago?
Those were the experiences which started me, several decades ago on a lifelong journey of pot-making. I’ve remained a devotee of throwing, as well as a predilection for vases, which fairly early on in my professional career were ordered by firms such as Conran Shop, Next Interiors and David Hicks.
Despite a certain success, London life in the early nineties was losing its attractiveness and I thought that if I was planning to be a parent, I’d rather do that in a rural environment. However, when you’re a self-employed craftswomen, maternity leave is a complicated affair. Essentially, it doesn’t exist and as a designer/maker, doing a physically quite demanding, it proved impossible to continue working. It was at this point I decided, with my partner, to up sticks and move to south west France.
The move was a great idea in terms of quality of life, but a very problematic choice commercially. Setting up my workshop in France was a slow business, we’d bought a ruin and we didn’t speak the language – some of us really like to make things complicated! But things have slowly fallen into shape – probably less easily than I had imagined and my work is gradually getting recognition in France and in England. It remains complicated having a foot in both cultures, with quite different aesthetics and appreciations of craft and its position in the artistic world.
Should you find yourself on holiday in the Gers, my workshop is open to visitors whenever I’m at home and at work-that’s quite a lot of the time! If that seems a bit far, a number of UK galleries stock my work; please visit my website for details.”
Contact sue:- www.sueureceramics.com
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