STEPH LIDDLE

HANDMADE CERAMICS

100% handmade, from beginning to end.

Stephanie Liddle

Do you ever look at things and wonder how on earth it's made?

Me too - I've got a curious mind that's eager to unpick the journey behind objects, especially the handmade.

Let me give you a glimpse into my making...

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Starting life as liquid clay, each and every piece has been handmade and illustrated by me in my studio in Dundee. Crafted in Parian porcelain, each piece goes through a minimum of 9 steps before it's complete, with care and detail at each stage. 

My pots are slipcast using bespoke moulds (that's some freshly cast work up above) while the necklaces are hand-cut from a sheet of marble-smooth Parian porcelain clay.

Once the pots have had a day or two to dry, and had their rough edges smoothed out, it's time to paint the patterns on. 

Using a brush and underglaze, I hand drawn the bold, graphic patterns directly onto the clay before the piece goes into the kiln to undergo it's transformation from 'clay' to 'ceramic'.

Each piece is fired at least twice (3 times when there's lustre involved) to a whopping maximum temperature of 1240c, making my studio a toasty place to be during winter! In between firings, there's lots of smoothing and sanding, then each piece is hand-polished using a diamond sanding pad to achieve a silky smooth finish.

As a result, no two pieces will ever be exactly the same, with every piece having it's own unique and subtle differences worth celebrating.

Creative Chit Chat: Episode 65

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A few weeks ago I caught up with Ryan from the Creative Chit Chat podcast about my ceramics journey - how it started with me taking an evening class and resulted in me falling in love with ceramics and making a living from it.

Along the way we chat about the Nacho Illuminati, giant lasagnes, smelly necklaces, as well as some more serious stuff like looking at your audience, and reconsidering your working processes and your prices points.

We had a great time recording the podcast with lots of laughing throughout (most of which has stayed in the podcast) and we were even joined by Ryan's dog - a basset hound called Fred!

All in, the podcast runs for just under an hour (perfect for a commute!) and you can listen to it here - and don't forget to check out the rest of the episodes when you're there, I'm in very good company!

Meet the Maker

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Anyone who follows me on Instagram will probably have seen my recent posts for Joanne Hawker's 'March Meet the Maker' Instagram challenge during March. This year was my first time taking part in the challenge and it was so great to have a little daily prompt to get me posting more and sharing more about my work and my studio. It also made me realise that while I might share these things readily on social media, I rarely tell these stories on my website. So here's a little glimpse of who I am, where I work, and how I got started in ceramics.

 
 
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WHO I AM //
I’m Steph - a ceramics Designer/Maker based in Dundee, Scotland. I hand craft minimal, graphic ceramic jewellery and homewares that are easy to wear and live with. Each piece is slipcast and then hand-drawn (yes, really!) by me. I’m not a natural in front of a camera but here I am matching Pam - the palm - in my studio wearing my favourite dungarees and a Grid Necklace. My ceramics business is a one-woman show but at least Pam is always around to keep me company. Until I forget to water her... 

 
 

WHERE I AM //
Dundee - the city of ‘jute, jam, and journalism’. It's a funny little city full of character and creativity on the banks of the River Tay – an incredibly silvery expanse. My studio is in a Victorian jute mill in the city centre which has been converted into artist studios called Meadow Mill. It's an amazing space with double height ceilings, huge windows, and a great community of makers – there's a whole world of creativity going on behind each door! There's also a gallery and project space on the top floor where I host ceramic classes which looks out across Dundee, the Tay River and hills of Fife. 

 
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HOW I STARTED //
Ceramics was a bit of a tangent for me! I originally studied Illustration at Art School and made work that was very different to the work I make now – I made a lot of soft sculptures of giant, interactive comfort foods and done a lot of screenprinting. It wasn't until after I graduated that I started working with ceramics. From the moment I picked up a lump of clay I was completely enthralled! I love that I can start with a ball of what is essentially mud and turn it into something useable. I get a total kick every time I open the kiln and see the work inside, and I still feel incredibly proud and amazed to think that I made it with my own hands.

This pie was part of my Degree Show at DJCAD way back in 2012, and below are some of the first ceramics I made - little pinched dishes which were the starting point of my brand aesthetic.