Olivia Fiddes creates ceramic work that celebrates the imperfections inherent in traditional hand-building techniques. In her south-London studio, she uses techniques such as coiling, slab building and pinching to craft ceramic objects and homewares that are unique due to the way they are constructed.
Originally from Edinburgh, Olivia studied Human Geography at university and went on to work for NGOs supporting the rights of indigenous and tribal peoples. Whilst working full time, she took evening classes in ceramics and gradually turned her hobby into a profession.
You can use so many different techniques, sometimes treating it like sculpture.
Olivia uses various methods to craft her homewares, including throwing, moulding and slip casting, but she particularly enjoys the simplicity of hand building ceramics, which involves using just her hands and small tools to work the clay.
“I like that you can be very expressive with hand building, and it’s slower paced,” Olivia explains. “You can use so many different techniques, sometimes treating it like sculpture. I enjoy making unusual shapes that wouldn’t work naturally with thrown pottery.”
“Kurinuki pottery is much more expressive and instinctive, and the result is a one-off piece,” says Olivia of this traditional art form. Alongside the vases, she will also present new platter and bowl designs with an intentionally rough appearance, as well as several cups and mugs finished for the first time with a rich, coffee-brown glaze.
Olivia’s work will be displayed in the custom designed and built HRBR retail space located within the reception at Custom Lane until 28 November, 2021.
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