There’s character to be found in the outcome. The way a handle might be a bit imperfect, or the drip of a glaze a bit random. For UK-based artist Alice Duck of Duck Ceramics, these are the charms of the handmade. “It’s exactly what I love about handmade products – nothing is ever perfect, especially with ceramics, when there are so many layers in making a single piece and so many things to go wrong,” she says.
Alice first began her pottery studio in a tiny attic room. Her love affair for ceramics was discovered after hours of fruitless online job searching, when during a much needed break she picked up a piece of clay and started making. The rest, as they say, is history.
Her newly discovered skill became a business quite on accident, as a force of its own. After a few months had passed since that day she made her first mug, she was invited to join a Christmas fair. When she sold out of almost everything she brought to display, she realized that people were actually willing to buy her creations, and she went with it full steam ahead.
Duck Ceramics grew as Alice’s own unique style and process evolved. She is known for making simple, functional pieces with a minimalist feel. She has fun with her designs, playing with classic shapes in order to breathe new life and purpose into them. A camping mug, for example, has been re-imagined and re-created as a delicate, yet functional piece of design. The shapes are then enhanced with the addition of decoration. “I love experimenting with different glazes, I spend ages and ages trying to get the perfect color,” she explains.
Today, Alice creates in Brighton, a beautiful seaside town not far outside London. Her studio is in an old coach mechanics shop, a space she shares with other creatives, including another potter, a music studio, and a brewery. She rides her bicycle along the sea front to and from work, and never fails to appreciate the twists and turns that have gotten her to where she is in the present moment.
And she still gets a thrill each time a customer takes one of her pieces home. “I’m so happy every time someone buys my work, and even though my little pottery has been going for a while now, it still amazes me that people want to spend their money on something that I have made,” she smiles. “I don’t think that will ever get old.”
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