Pip Wilcox Ceramics is based in Hastings, England. I'm the designer-maker and each piece from this ever-changing collection of decorative and functional ceramics is made by me. Previously all of my work was thrown on the potter's wheel but more recently I have enjoyed expanding my practice to also include hand building.
I first sat at a potter’s wheel in 2008 - and was smitten. But then life got in the way, and it wasn’t until a move to the seaside in my forties brought with it an opportunity to fully exhale for the very first time and to really consider what I wanted my life to look like. I feel grateful every day for the belated realisation that it is not just other people who get to be things like potters!
Tactile, honest, organic, contemporary and timeless - these are some of the words used to describe my ceramics.
I use high fire stoneware clay, so the pieces I make are durable enough for everyday use. Offering quality, function and pleasure via my ceramics is of the utmost importance to me. Everything you see here I use and enjoy in my own home.
My inspiration and influences are varied. Mid-century ceramics; Scandinavian simplicity; fond childhood memories of the comforting solidity of the Poole Pottery dinnerware I grew up with; many happy trips to Cornwall in recent years during which a visit to the Leach Pottery has always been a highlight; our garden through the seasons; living a 5-minute walk away from where the sea meets the sky - and the list goes on.
I've been lucky enough to be the subject of several magazine, blog and podcast interviews and if you're curious to know a bit more about me then you might like to have a listen or a read:
Mollie Makes (Issue 122, October 2020, 5-page feature) - much-loved craft and lifestyle magazine, available in print and digital format.
Makers Broadcast (Series 1, Episode 1, 50-minute podcast) - audio documentary series created by EJ Osborne of Hatchet + Bear about crafts people, creatives and makers.
Ceramic Review (Issue no. 286, July/August 2017, 5-page feature) - international magazine for ceramic art, available in print and digital format.
UK Handmade (Autumn 2016, 18-page feature) - quarterly digital magazine celebrating designers and makers across the UK.
91 Magazine (Sept 2016, blog feature) - independent interiors and lifestyle magazine, available in print and digital format.
Buying my Work
I give myself a high degree of freedom in the making process and don't tend to make custom or pre-orders. I hope the joy I feel in working in this fluid and creative way is present in every finished item.
I enjoy making small batches of pottery and taking my time over each piece. Many of my pieces are one of a kind - so if you see something in particular that you like it's worth knowing it may not be available again.
I am a slower maker than I would like to be - this is particularly so because of current health challenges. But I am greatly encouraged by the feedback I receive which tells me that the small number of pieces I release each year adds to their specialness. I list new work here whenever I have half a dozen or so finished pieces. If you'd like to be notified when new work becomes available to buy here I let people know about this via my newsletter, my Facebook page and on Instagram - sometimes via all three concurrently and at other times exclusively via just one or two of these channels. As I'm only able to make a limited number of pieces they can sell out quickly. I appreciate it can be disappointing to miss out, but I hope it helps to know there's always another opportunity coming up again with the release of new batches of work.
I'm interested in making individual pieces that each have their own unique character and warmth. The handmade nature of my work is evident in my chosen organic and tactile style. The pieces I make may not be perfectly symmetrical; they may include curves, lumps and bumps; and the glazing may not be applied with a perfectly uniform finish (there may even be the odd drip). I rarely make drawings for my work - rather I make the design and carving decisions for each individual piece in the moment or I translate an idea that I may have carried around in my mind's eye for a while. I take a fairly stripped-back approach, often even trimming work thrown on the wheel by hand (rather than taking the more orthodox approach of 'turning' them on the wheel). I really enjoy this slower, gentler, quieter approach and for me it provides a welcome departure from smooth, flawless symmetry. If you like straight perfect things then my work may not be for you!
I'm generally pretty resistant to the restraint that comes with using equipment such as measuring gauges (although of course there are exceptions to this such as when I'm making lidded pots). So, when it comes to making small batches of work what does this mean for you if you buy more than one of these pieces? Well, you'll end up with a 'family' of work that visually belongs together but with each piece having its own quirks and characteristics.
Hopefully the above photograph of a pair of my mugs will better illustrate with a picture what I'm trying to say with words!
Thoughts on Pricing
There are lots of reasons why I price my work in the way that I do:
The sustainability of my studio relies on my work being sold at a price which reflects the love, time, thought, resources (such as clay, electricity, glazes, gold lustre) and equipment (kitting out a ceramic studio costs several thousands of £s) which have been invested in the making of it.
I'd like to encourage a culture of joyful, thriving creatives rather than colluding with the myth of the starving artist!
I'd like the creative sector to be as economically accessible as possible rather than one which is only open to those artists and makers who are already wealthy or have the financial backing of family or partners. I believe that the less individually handcrafted work is sold at mass-produced prices the more likely this is to happen.
I'd like to be part of a movement which embraces conscious (rather than throw away) consumerism. Pricing handmade work at a level that results in more thoughtful purchasing decisions sits comfortably with me.
I'm proud to make ceramics that have been consciously created, are a treat rather than a necessity and which result in their new owners feeling like they're special.
Thank you for listening!
The thought of my ceramic pieces making their journeys from my studio to homes far and wide - and becoming part of the daily rituals and enjoyment of others - is a source of endless delight to me.
Your interest in my work means the world.
Images © Dean Hearne, Conrad Lee, Pip Wilcox Ceramics & Alun Callender