SUE PRYKE HANDMADE CERAMICS JOINS LOVE TEA
We are pleased to be introducing a beautiful new range of ceramics to Australia. English ceramicist, Sue Pryke creates stunning pieces which are now available from our online store. Earlier this week we had a chat with Sue about her inspiration, her craft and notably her relationship with tea.
LT: Your work has been described as ‘understated, affordable, functional and elegant… designs that fit in rather than stand out’. This is a beautiful ethos. What inspired you to start making these pieces and where did it all begin?
SP: My first job after graduating was at Wedgwood as a designer, so I think this traditional British institution set out a variety of rules regarding design for me which have become intuitive, how things sit on the table, how they pour and how they should look aesthetically. I went onto further study at the Royal College of Art, the only postgraduate college in the UK, here I was mentored by David Queensberry, from Queensberry Hunt, the world renowned tableware designers, so I think this had a huge influence on the way I saw design, particularly tableware design. I’ve also worked with IKEA as a designer since 1994 so I think the pared back, simple, affordable ethos is very Scandinavian, it’s all there in the mix and has clearly rubbed off on me!
LT: You make a beautiful collection of objects for the home. Many of them are vessels for preparing and enjoying tea. Can you share your first memory of a tea experience and what impact that had on you and subsequently your pieces?
SP: My parents always had loose tea; a teapot & tea strainer were part of the breakfast table. I think this was fairly normal for most families back in the 70’s, even when teabags were the norm, they stuck to their preference for proper tea and the ceremony that goes with it, the wait, the brewing, the adding of milk before or after the tea etc. I went to an all girls school and as part of Home Economics we had to learn how to set out a tea tray (how ridiculous!) I remember having to describe verbally the process of making tea. Start by warming the pot! That was normal, everyone knew how to make tea back then. I still make a pot of tea using proper loose tea.
LT: You focus on collaboration with small factories and studios in England, particularly those using traditional techniques, to produce a high quality, hand made range. This speaks volumes for the purpose of your work, what other things come to mind when considering why you create your work?
SP: Sometimes you can be inspired by other objects, or processes and techniques, it’s a process of development, or improving, or maybe embellishing or reforming. Sometimes it’s an idea that’s been travelling with you for a while that needs to find a way to be expressed or a reason to defined, most ideas come to fruition because there is a place for it, a gap in the market or a coming together of old and new, that’s the reason I started working with a factory who make terracotta, I wanted to take a pared back contemporary shape and pare it with a traditional method of production. My handmade studio collection is a nod towards the coloured blue body of Jasperware from Wedgwood. I’ve left the white icing off and kept it unadorned but still its’ visually chalky and matt.
LT: Congratulations on winning the wallpaper design awards last year, what a fantastic achievement, can you tell us about this experience and how it all came about?
SP: Wallpaper* judges selected a variety of ceramic designers along with product designers for the various categories of the awards, I didn’t know anything about it until I was selected and won! Very excited to profiled by such a brilliant publication.
LT: The experience of tea is ingrained in the culture of the UK and indeed much of the world, and you have so many beautiful vessels for enjoying tea, can you tell us what your favourite tea is and what makes it so special to you?
SP: I drink a few varieties. There’s white tea that I really enjoy, it’s delicate, fragrant, it’s the least processed and has little caffeine in it too. In contrast there’s local tea company that I buy a green tea with Earl grey, delicious for breakfast and they also make a night time tea too with chamomile and lime leaves. I also like mint with liquorice for it’s sweetness, a good afternoon pick me up!