INVITED EXTERNAL ARTIST / MAKER (CERAMICIST SPECIAL NO.2)
Based in the Chocolate Factory in London, ceramicist Jo Davies makes ceramic pieces almost exclusively with plain colour. Inspired by architecture, her work plays with the shapes and textual of ceramic and continues with a poetic flow from one piece to the next. Jo has been commissioned and exhibited extensively in the UK and Internationally and some of her work is available from Cultural Label.
SF: What do you make?
Ceramic objects, vessels and lighting, mostly made from porcelain.
SF: Why do you make where you do & How long have you worked here?
I visited my studios a long time before I rented a space there. I always really like the way it was laid out – around a cobbled courtyard with some of the studio doors opening direct into the space – and was thrilled when one of the nicest studios came up a couple of years later. I have been in this space for about 2 and a half years now and really enjoy the calm of the studios.
SF: What is very different and special in your studio compared with other studios of artists working in the same discipline?
There are people here who are very dedicated with successful careers in their field. We also can support one another when things go wrong as there is lots of experience to draw on – it’s sometimes like a ceramics support group!
SF: What inspires you?
Shapes in the urban landscape, clay itself and functionality. I feel that my work is a long visual sentence, each object or design leading to the next. They are often evolving only with reference to themselves. I tend to stay in the studio for a long time, referring new ideas to the ‘3D visual sketching’ that I have already done. Occasionally I will spend chunks of time actively looking for inspiration, capturing shapes and compositions I like through photography but there comes a point when this is no longer helpful and making a lot of things is the only way to make creative decisions.
SF: Where do you go for a break from the hard work as an artist? (Could be a 10min cuppa or a 3-month holiday)
I’m quite a fan of separating spaces in order to create space from my work although sometimes I don’t always have this luxury. Running away from London for a day or two is always relaxing. Other than that it’s the usual British way – telly and a cold beer.
SF: What is on the horizon for you locally?
I have my open studio coming up – 29 June to 1 July – plus Clerkenwell Design Week, Made in Clerkenwell in late May. I also live on the edge of the Olympic site ( I can see the stadium) and will be putting together a show of mine and a designer friend’s work for the duration of the Games – the JP, Stour Road, Hackney Wick, 27 July-12 Aug.
SF: What is on the horizon for you nationally / internationally?
I will be showing my work as part of the international Ceramics festival in St. Quentin la Poterie 19-22 July and have just been accepted as an exhibitor at Ceramics in The City at the Geffrye Museum. The Interior Design Fair in Bergen, Norway at the end of September is also an opportunity I’m quite excited about.
SF: What advice would you give to an up-and-coming artist?
If you spend time with your work then it will show. Ideas and skills evolve over time so give time to the ideas you want to make. If you have an exhibition in a few months give yourself time to make mistakes, don’t try and get it all done in two weeks at the last minute. The quality of your art form depends on you taking time to get it right.
SF: What’s currently playing on your studio ipod / cd player / tape deck / record player?
Music?!! Radio 4 all the way.
SF: Tell us something not many people know about you
When I was a kid my slightly eccentric parents used to keep peacocks in the garden of our Herefordshire hillside cottage so, as a consequence, I know quite a lot about peacocks.
Images (c) Jo Davies, Images of Studios (c) Creative Clerkenwell