ALL POST FROM 2013 ONWARDS ARE MY OWN WORK UNLESS OTHERWISE STATED
Pre 2013 posts are a mixture of my own work and inspirations… All inspirations are now here: http://pinterest.com/donutdisco/
Interviewing professionals within the ceramic design world has given me great insight into what I would potentially like to pursue when finishing university. It has reminded myself of my personal tastes and preferences to my own working practice.
The two people i had chosen to interview reflect a similar approach I have been thinking about doing. Both having been in a similar position to what I’m in now, the choices they have made in furthering there career and the balance of personal life with work.
Emily-Clare Thorn in an ex student of csm who studied ceramic design and left in 2011. Since then she has been in a variety of different projects that have all contributed to her role as a freelance designer.
‘The excitement of finishing university along with the new anxiety of what I was going to do fed my work’
Organisation and management came naturally to her so being apart of the degree show, final exhibition and fund raising made her believe this was the route she would take. Convinced of both her design style and direction she later found through development that this changed. Her final project allowed her to enjoy designing again and believe in her self more as a designer and not just as a project manager.
Her plans before university was to leave the uk and possibly concentrate on a more organisational role but after a year and a half of leaving university is still working in the uk as a freelance designer.
This had never been her plan but the balance between jobs (not all in ceramics) gives her the range and depth to keep her interested in what she does. This way she fulfils both organisational and design roles, which are both equally important to her.
Her work is varied so finds time management the key into completing tasks. A weeks work includes making ceramics, project/design development, and general admin tasks.
Currently she is working on new software designs for the QR code in partnership of the Horizon Digital Economy Research Institute. Bringing aesthetics and functionality together.
Also as a freelance designer she is currently providing advise on interior design for care homes. Requiring a lot of research and understanding of specific requirements for elderly people.
Along side this she works 2 days a week as an Assistant/Studio Manager of Ceramic Artist Clare Twomey.
Emily has a daily rate which she says is always negotiated and each project will earn her different amounts of pay depending on the clients budget.
She looks at pay in freelancing in two ways, either having short projects with daily rates or a year long contract that may not pay her the same but has the stability of knowing that project will run for a year.
Balancing these jobs is very important for her own enjoyment. So managing her time every week is vital so it doesn’t interfere with her weekends. Her personal life is not effected in anyway because of her management although if deadlines are near she will use the weekends if needed.
‘University for me was a 7 day a week job however now I am more capable of leaving work behind on a Friday and enjoying my weekends’
Unfortunately she is considering stopping her own ceramic work as she has less time for this now and would like to carry on freelancing. Before this decision though, she sold her ceramics through word of mouth, facebook and her own website.
- Time management - Scheduling your week can make balancing work loads easier.
- Finding a job - Looking for your ideal job can be hard so if that doesn’t work, try and find something in a similar role as you can later make a move when you have a solid idea of the path you want to take.
- Research - The internet is a wonderful thing and also talking to people.
- Networking - Its important to network as ceramics is a small industry so if you want to stay in it, network at any opportunity.
- Believe in yourself - Never give in. If something comes your way, even if its not in the same area your want to work; It will most likely keep you within the industry that you love.
Graduating in 2004, in 3D crafts her passion lies in ceramics. She spoke mainly about how she felt when she actually left university. Being apart of ‘New Designers’ was a great step in the door into learning how things run in the industry. She also wrote to 60 galleries after uni to try and get her work noticed but it was a slow process. She stayed realistic and eventually after a year of waiting heard back from one of the galleries.
She spent five years traveling the world, visiting such places as Mexico, San Fran and Australia. Along her journey she found the time to research and take part in ceramics whilst also having the travelling/holiday she always wanted. This was not only for inspiration but to later a return home with fresh start to which she could then concentrate and continue with her goals of being a ceramicist and creating her own studio.
Before she had children Tanya juggled a part time job as a technician and working on her own ceramics in rented studios and then In 2010 she graduated from the Royal College of Art completing a Masters in Ceramics and Glass. Doing an MA helped to develop her work even further whilst having children whilst also doing extra evening classes for throwing.
Her inspiration comes from the sea and natural environment, creating bespoke sculptural functional ware that replicates the surroundings and living environments of her clients.
Throughout university she never used porcelain but found its strength and whiteness helps as a canvas to start and illuminates the glazes when fired. This improving the quality of her work.
These range in price depending on time, materials and size of the piece. Living off selling her work is not an option for her at the moment though and told me that if it wasn’t for her family she would most likely have to work in other jobs along side her ceramics like she had done in the past.
- Keep Going - No matter any doubts you might have, always keep going. Its learning and gaining knowledge of mistakes that helps mould you and your work.
- Variation - Try out as many different things as you can, then you will be able to see what you enjoy and are your strongest points to work with.
- Tutors & Fellow Students - Keep in touch with your tutors and class mates as its good for support and career moves.
- Finance - Get as much help from grants and try and save as much as you can for setting up a studio.
- Practice - Practice makes perfect, so keep doing what you love and have patients!
From my research and the advise I’ve been given I have gained enough knowledge to realise the positive and negative aspects professionals go through in the ceramic design world. I can now see my self more confidently becoming a ceramic designer and would like to be able to grow using similar methods to Tanya and Emily. I also would like to adapt my own style by looking at previous work and continuing with favourite themes or topics. This way I can proceed in my strongest areas and begin to create my own style to take me into my future career.