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An interview with Ceramicist Taz Pollard

Taz Pollard is a creator of luxury handmade ceramics for the home and garden. She is a member of Design –Nation since winning the New Designers One year On award in 2014. Design-Nation asked her a few questions about her practice and her experience of winning the New designers Award.

Design-Nation asked: You won New Designers One Year On in 2014 and have been a DN member ever since. Looking back, what impact did that make on your business?

Taz Pollard: It gave me a much needed confidence boost but also there was lots of support and information on preparing for this type of show.

DN: What has been the most interesting thing to happen to you since setting up your business?TP: Probably setting up my studio, North Devon Ceramics Academy

DN: What would you advise new designers who are just starting out and what would you warn them about? And do you have any regrets?

TP: Don’t work too hard; it’s so easy to burn out. Not every opportunity will be right for you so learn to be selective. I don’t have any regrets as such, every project I have been involved in I have learnt from even if it is just to not do it again!

DN: Could you describe your workplace briefly?

TP: My workspace is a timber clad, sustainably built, industrial unit with business centre. It’s a great place to work and doesn’t feel like an industrial estate. The units were originally built to support new creative businesses, things have evolved since then but it still has a great feel. We are lucky to have access to a business centre where we hold lectures and most importantly lunch for our masterclasses.

DN: Where do you get your inspiration from?

TP: Mainly from everyday throw away items and junk.

DN: If you weren’t a ceramicist what would you be?

TP: I have been making things out of mud for as long as I can remember so that’s a tricky question but I think I would be a paramedic or a nurse. That may sound a million miles away from what I do now but I originally took human biology at college (along with art and psychology) and have had many jobs in the care sector. Mental health is also something I am passionate about and love that we provide a safe space for people to come and be creative at North Devon Ceramics Academy.

DN: Who has been your most influential teacher or mentor?

TP: Morgan Hall who taught me during my BA hons many years ago

DN: You do some teaching yourself – how do you successfully combine this with making?

TP: It can be hard juggling both but we have bunched the teaching together so that leaves time either side for our own work. I love teaching and it is great to have the buzz of other people in the studio. It really drives my creativity forward.

DN: How do you go about designing new work?

TP: Some pieces grow organically out of other work and sometimes I get an idea, sketch it, mock it up in 3d and then develop it from there.

DN: How do you organise your marketing and do you do it yourself?

TP: I do all my marketing but I do much less now as I prefer to limit the amount of work I produce just focusing on the things I really want to do.

DN: What are your plans for the next twelve months? What’s the most exciting thing coming up – a commission, exhibition or other event?

TP: I am currently working on some new very large-scale sculptures for Celebrating Art in the Garden next June. I also have another big project I am hoping to be working on soon subject to funding, it’s very exciting but I can’t say much about it!

Interview by Laura Jacometti

New Designers One year On applications are now open. Deadline 31st January

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