Design-Nation member Linda Bloomfield has been selected to exhibit at Collect Open at the end of this month and we can’t wait to see her new work! Her installation will be a series of organic forms based on stromatolites and granite boulders; the work brings attention to the effect of climate change and pollution on lichens, which are indicators of clean air. Design-Nation had the opportunity to catch up with Linda to ask her a few questions about her practice, inspiration and workspace.
Design-Nation asked: Please tell us about your practice and how your business began.
Linda Bloomfield answered: I first tried pottery at a local children’s pottery class but started my pottery business a long time later after I had worked as a research scientist and had children. Once my children started school, I began doing craft fairs and selling my porcelain tableware through shops and galleries. I now combine making, designing, writing glaze books and teaching glaze workshops.
D-N: Who has been your most influential teacher or mentor?
L.B: I learned to throw with Vanessa Waller, who had trained at Harrow School of Art, then continued pottery at the Warwick University pottery society where raku potter David Jones taught me more about throwing and raku firing.
D-N: What inspires you?
L.B: I love organic forms, colour combinations and textures from nature. Although I live in London I like to go for walks in the countryside and love to see fungi, lichens and wildlife. My latest work for Collect Open uses lichen-effect glazes in yellow ochre, chalk white and viridian green.
D-N: Please tell us a bit about your design process.
L.B: I love throwing on the wheel, so the forms are influenced by what it is possible to make on the wheel. I like to show that the form has been made by hand, often leaving throwing lines and making dimples in the work.
D-N: What is the best thing to have happened in your business to date?
L.B: My first break was having the buyer from Liberty place a large order when I exhibited at my first ceramics fair, Ceramics in the City at the Geffrye Museum.
D-N: What is your workspace like?
L.B: I have three sheds at the bottom of the garden, a large one where I work, a second small shed with a kiln and a third meant for storage of stock but the rest of the family also store their stuff in there.
D-N: Do you work hard on your PR or do others help you to market your business?
L.B: I do most of my PR but have occasionally used a PR agent and I used to have an assistant, Georgie Scully (now also a Design-Nation member) who helped with my social media posts. My husband Henry does all my photography, design work for postcards and my website.
D-N: What are the main challenges in your practice?
L.B: It has been difficult making new challenging work for Collect Open as well as keeping up with wholesale and online tableware orders, finishing my next book on Special Effect Glazes and replying to constant requests to solve glaze problems, give talks and teach glaze workshops.
D-N: Where would you like your practice to be in 10 years?
L.B: I would like to do more experimental work and installations.
D-N: If you could collaborate with someone new who would that be?
L.B: I am hoping to collaborate with Sue Pryke on my next book.
D-N: If you weren’t a designer what would you like to do?
L.B: I would write more books and travel to the USA and Far East to give more glaze talks and workshops.
D-N: Why did you join Design-Nation? What is helpful about being a member?
L.B: With no formal training in ceramics, I found it very difficult get any support from the pottery world. However, Design-Nation has been extremely supportive, giving me great opportunities to exhibit at shows such as Decorex and The Future of Craft. It has also been great to meet and exhibit with some of the designers I admire who are also members.
D-N: Do you have you any exhibitions, commissions or events coming up that we should know about?
L.B: I will be exhibiting at Collect Open in Somerset House from 27 February to 1 March, then at the Future of Craft with Design Nation during London Craft Week from 30 April to 3 May.