Made in Britain, Meet the Maker - Laura Pearcey (Boop Design)

Friday, March 29, 2013

We are so excited to bring you our very first Meet the Maker of 2013!  The incredibly talent Ceramicist Laura Pearcey (aka Boop Design).  Over to you Laura:

Please can you introduce yourself and tell us a little about your work? 
Hello I’m Laura from Boop Design. I design and make porcelain and silver jewellery and bottle vases based on the theme of childhood memories and collections. I have collected “things” since I was a child and have a box of treasure on display in my studio of dolls house teapots, my grandmothers thimbles and buttons, old keys, watering cans,my fathers Naval uniform buttons along side bubble blowers and old bottles! All have been collected and treasured and many are now used as the ‘master’ for making moulds to slip cast my charms for jewellery or the bottles for vases. As well as collecting and making I love to draw and always have. As a small girl my mum could keep me amused for hours with simply a pencil and a pile of paper. Now my drawings or illustrations are applied to the surface of the porcelain via a ceramic transfer, which I fire into the surface of the glaze. On the charms you may find text from nursery rhymes or the odd flower and on the bottles illustrations and text combine to make quirky, nostalgic little vases for a single garden flower or posy. The idea is to evoke a memory in the customer of their own childhood, rather than to just repeat mine, and I love that about the work. I hear so many tales of times past from the people I meet, and who buy my work, some are similar and others are completely different but all are fascinating!

Apart from creating things what else do you do?
I am a mum of two lovely kids 8yrs and 5yrs so most of my time after school is spent taking them to ballet, trampolining, rugby, drama or choir! However I do have other passions apart from making, my kids, my hubby and chocolate!!... I love to sing, and do so every Tuesday evening with a choir, I also love growing fruit and veg which, my amazing hubby turns into culinary delights from jams to chutneys, my favourite is his gooseberry ice-cream!!

When did you know you were an artist/maker?
I’ve always known I wanted to do something artistic, all that drawing had to lead somewhere, but it first lead me to teaching and I spent 16yrs as a teacher of art, head of art, lecturer and course manager teaching lots of very talented kids to go out and follow their dreams but no quite doing it three years ago I set up Boop design and turned my studio into a properly functioning space to make and create. Things went so well I chose to give up teaching and have been a maker full time for a year. I still love teaching and teach course locally but I adore my job making and drawing.

Describe your studio or workspace?
My studio is a wooden summer-house style building at the bottom of the garden. It has one wall of glass over looking the raised veg beds where I can keep and eye on my precious fruit from the blackbirds! My kiln is in the corner and next to it the jewellery bench side of the studio. Opposite this on the other wall is the shelving and slip-casting bench for my porcelain, in the middle is an old plan chest and on top a worktop for everything from fine fettling charms and bottles to glazing or gluing on brooch backs

How would you describe your creative process?
There is no one way I create. Sometimes I find a new ‘thing’and just have to make a mould straight away and turn it into a piece of jewellery, at others I take my time to live with it and think about it for a while until it gets under my skin. Drawing is just something I do and often it’s a doodle first that leads to an idea for an illustration. When it comes to producing the finished piece I find slip casting relaxing and repeating and thus allows me thinking time to work out new designs and ideas. I suppose it’s like knitters who watch TV or chat whilst creating, it’s just something you can do.

What do you love most about working in your chosen discipline? 
I adore slip-casting. I love to make moulds of the things I find and then pour liquid porcelain into the moulds, leave for a few minutes, then tip out the excess. When the cast is dry I love opening the moulds to get the piece out ready for finishing off. I have set myself some pretty difficult challenges with regards to moulds over the years and my greatest challenge was casting a small mustard spoon for a piece of jewellery called “run away with the spoon.” I finally managed it one day when I had a ‘eureka’ moment and ended up using my kids medicine syringes to inject the porcelain into the mould! Now it works every time!

Where does your inspiration come from?
I am inspired by the interesting objects I find in charity shops,car boot sales or vintage salvage shops. I loved the kids TV program ‘Bagpus’ as a child and I wanted to be Emily, the girl who found lost things and got her toys to fix them and give them a new lease of life. That’s what I do now, I find things I love and make them new again with illustrations, porcelain and silver.

What handmade possession do you most cherish?
It’s a painting by Fiona Millais, my husband and I bought as a house warming gift to ourselves when we first moved in together. It is a stunning painting on the landscape theme but painted using pattern and layering with a sketch drawn through thin layers of paint of a house and garden, with a river and some trees. This painting means ‘home’ to us and each time we have moved house we were not properly settled until this painting was hung., it’s part of the family now.

What do you when you are stuck in a creative rut?
Go for a walk with the kids in the woods or on the Mendips a good blast of cold fresh air usually does the trick and if not a browse round my local antiques emporium ‘The Wells Trading Post’ will set my mind whirling again. 

Where would you like to be in ten years?
Obviously looking younger and fitter and lying on a secluded beach! But in the real world just still happy doing what I am doing. I grumble sometimes but then I hear tales of friends and their jobs in the 9-5 world, and I think how lucky am I!

Thank you Laura.  Your studio space is awesome - very jealous!!  You can find Laura's work for sale in our brand new shop Made in Britain - please pop down and see Laura's creations in person, you will fall in love.

Made in Britain shop is now OPEN daily.
Mon - Sat: 10am - 6pm
Sun: 11am - 5pm
Quakers Friars, Cabot Circus, Bristol

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