Elegant and humble hand-built ceramics by Olivia Fiddes

Olivia Fiddes’ ceramics are divine. Whether it’s a cup, bowl, plate, vase or even tea strainer, we feel nourished just looking at her meticulously hand-built vessels. Olivia is originally from Scotland where, as a child, she first discovered clay. Being set to work on building a wonky self-portrait bust in A Level art secured a soft-spot for clay, although it wasn’t until she started taking evening pottery classes years later that she picked it back up again — and she hasn’t looked back since!

Rather than using a classic pottery wheel to create her ceramics, Olivia uses meticulous and slow-moving hand building techniques, like coiling, slabbing and pinching. Without the aid of a wheel, moulds or slip casts, hand building is a traditional way of working which requires much time and patience. Not one to waste, she also exclusively works with reclaimed clay, recycling from the other environmentally conscious ceramicists in her studio. The process also means that each piece is completely handmade, one-off and unique. Part of the attraction to ceramics for Olivia is the forgiving qualities that come with clay, as well as the physicality and inevitable messiness that comes with the practice.

Olivia’s final pieces are natural, understated and often subtly contradictory in their aesthetic. From highly textural to silky smooth, or delicate to chunky, her vessels are at once exciting and restrained. She is often collaborating with all types of other creatives, and recently developed a dinner set for an interiors project with renowned and incredible British designer Faye Toogood (what-the-flip!). We’re keeping an eye on this one, that’s for sure!

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