Today we meet Alice Duck, maker of beautiful wonky ceramics (her words, not mine!) and find out what inspires her work...
Please tell us about yourself and how you got started?
I started my creative career by studying a fine art degree at Bristol University. When I left I couldn’t get a job so one day instead of trawling through the endless adverts for bar staff and charity fundraising I decided to teach myself how to make a cup.
What is the story and ethos behind your work?
I think that for many potters their career is based around perfection. They are trying to make each pot the same as the last because that’s the sign of a talented ceramicist. Because I was self taught I never really learnt this rule, and as I result I see the beauty in pieces that aren’t symmetrical or ‘perfect’.
What do you love most about what you do and what do you find the most frustrating?
My favourite part has to be opening up the kiln when there’s something I’m really excited about in there. (I make sure I put the really exciting pieces at the far end so I can poke my nose in an hour or so before I open it up.) The most frustrating part, or heart breaking is when I open up the kiln and something has gone wrong, it doesn’t happen a huge amount but when it does, as any potter will agree it is absolutely terrible.
Can you tell us a bit about your creative space?
I work in a space along with another potter, a musician, a painter, a stone merchant and a brewery. Everyone is really supportive and although it’s a real mish-mash of disciplines it works out brilliantly.
Who or what inspires you most in your work?
I get a lot of my inspiration from vintage ceramics, which is why I use the vintage decals in my work. The way I make them is functional and modern which I think gives my work an interesting twist.
Who are some of your favourite artists/designers/makers?
I love Lowri Davies work, her illustrations are beautiful, I also love Justin Rothshank, the way he layers up his decals is brilliant!
Do you have creative slumps and what do you do to get out of them?
I think everyone who is creative goes through peaks and troughs, and I think the best way to get passed the troughs is just to look around at work that you really love to get inspired again.
What advice would you give to someone starting a creative business?
I think when you're starting out you just need to get involved in everything. Even if a market doesn’t go well one day, maybe there’s someone there that wants your work in their shop, or someone who will order a commission so nothing is ever a waste of time.
What does ‘handmade’ mean to you?
I think handmade is something unique, something that is impossible to make on a factory line.
How do you get word out about your work and where can we buy it?
I try to use social media as much as I can but I’m not very good at it, anyone can buy from my website at www.duckceramics.co.uk or if you prefer to see the work in the flesh there is a list of stockists on there. I also regularly attend craft markets and art fairs, so check my instagram for updates!
What’s next for Duck Ceramics?
I just want to carry on evolving my style, getting my work in more shops and just carry on doing what I love.
Find out more about Alice's work: