Look at this plate, it is soooo gorgeous isn't it? It is by the talented ceramic artist Carly Dodsley. I first discovered her incredible work via her Facebook Page and immediately fell in love. I caught up with Carly recently for a chat about her and her work:
Please can you introduce yourself and tell us a little about what you do?
I’m Senior Designer at Royal Stafford, which is situated in Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent, right at the heart of The Potteries. Alongside this position, I also design my own ceramics range, which was launched in 2012 and is manufactured by Royal Stafford as part of the English Eccentrix collective. My creamware collection comprises of plates, canisters, mugs and jugs.
Apart from your work what else do you like doing?
My work is one of my greatest passions; I spend a lot of time designing, and discovering more about work I admire. When I’m not doing this, I drag my long-suffering husband around endless charity shops and antique centers in search of goodies to add to our horde. My quest for bargains has recently extended to metal-detecting, but that’s another story….
What is your favourite item currently on sale, and why?
This is like being asked to pick a favourite child! Of course, I love all of my designs, each of which is special in its own way. (Although I’m rather fond of my new peacock plate, which features motifs from earlier work, along with my first attempt at white-line drawing on a block colour background.)
Where does your inspiration come from?
Great British designers of the mid-twentieth century are a constant source of inspiration for my work; I’m particularly drawn to the work of Jessie Tate, Lucienne Day and Kathie Winkle, as well as Midwinter homeware and early pieces by Terence Conran. Among modern designers, I’m very fond of the beautiful patterns created by Eloise Renouf, as well as the design ethos of Ercol furniture. Living with items by all these designers, as well as collecting and reading about their work, motivates me to produce pieces that are both visually arresting and designed for daily use.
Describe your studio/workspace?
My main studio is located directly above the factory floor at the Royal Overhouse Manufactory in Burslem, which is one of the last surviving Victorian potteries still in operation. The studio is filled to the rafters with ceramic samples – none of which I can stand to throw away - and there are also numerous pieces of paper pinned to the walls displaying various ideas and reminders. The workspace can feel chaotic at times, but its location in the factory means I am able to see my designs progress from the drawing board, through the printing, glazing and firing processes, to the finished article sitting in the showroom next door. It is a privilege to work in such a traditional environment, as I’ve had the good fortune to meet those who work on the factory floor and learn more about the great skill and care with which they produce my work.
What is a typical work day for you?
From Monday to Friday my working day starts at 8.30am, which is when I begin work on site at the factory. My primary activity for the day will be creating designs to meet any number of briefs. The company produces little work under its own Royal Stafford brand, and so much of this work is produced for well-known High Street companies, under their own labels. As a result, I also spend time each day liaising with companies, and attend weekly meetings to present work directly to clients. My own Carly Dodsley Ceramics are designed out of office hours and at weekends. I try to set aside one day at the weekend where I do not work, although this rarely happens!
What do you love most about what you do?
I love the idea that I’m creating something that can be both decorative and functional; something that might become part of someone else’s day-to-day living; something that helps to make a home.
What handmade possession do you most cherish?
A ceramic bowl I received as a wedding gift from my husband’s uncle, Dan Wright; he’s an extremely talented studio ceramicist based in St David’s. The bowl is decorated with hand-drawn designs depicting places and objects associated with my marriage. It’s beautifully crafted and very dear to me.
If you were stranded in the wilds what item would you want with you to survive?
Picking up on my earlier confession, I would probably want my cherished metal-detector by my side. In my experience, I tend to discover knives, forks and nails during my excursions; while these are disappointing finds most of the time, I imagine they would come in very handy in the wilds!
Where would you like to be in ten years?
Ceramics will always be my first love but I would like to branch out into textiles and wallpaper design. That’s the fall-back option if I fail to discover the next Staffordshire Hoard….
Where can we buy your work?
My new ceramic ranges will be on sale from October at the Southbank Centre’s design store on Festival Terrace. My work can also be purchased online through the English Eccentrix website: I have also recently designed a range of greetings cards for the Illustrated Paper Company,
In love right? Carly's designs, to me, are so reminiscent of 50's Mid Century ceramic wear - and I personally want ALL in my kitchen. Especially the Peacock plate above.
Carly is kindly offering one Littlegreenshed reader a chance to win the Peacock plate above - (please can I keep it! It is so so gorgeous.) To enter fill in the forms below, for a chance to win. Giveaway end on Friday 20th September, good luck!