I met Liz at a local Christmas market we were both trading at and fell in love with her beautiful tactile ceramics and her unique green glazes. She’s one of the loveliest people I’ve met too – warm, kind and down to earth.
Her travel coffee cups have been very popular as part of my collection and for this autumn, I asked her to make me some hug mugs in lovely green glazes too. I asked her to share her story and inspiration with me to know a bit more about this super talented human.
What made you decide to become a maker and how did you get started?
I’ve always admired skilled craftspeople and I think becoming a maker of some sort was inevitably going to be my future! A little experimentation with clay at school and a degree in 3D design was enough to make up my mind that ceramics was my medium.
What inspires your designs?
I think I’m a bit of an inspiration sponge and I take design notions from all sorts of places. In terms of the actual pieces I want them to be tactile and well made so for me, learning the craft and developing my skill was the most important part.
What is your favourite thing to make & why?
I love making my little bud vases because I don’t have to worry too much about them being the same size – making plate after plate is great but sometimes it’s nice to have a break from measuring!
What do you love most about being a maker?
The freedom, the fact I can essentially make whatever I like and also opening the kiln up to find pieces of grey clay that have been transformed into beautiful objects – providing it’s been a good firing, the feeling of pulling freshly glazed pots out of a warm kiln and admiring their unique qualities will never get old.
How important is the space you work in and what do you love about your workshop space?
As long as I’ve got enough shelf space I’m happy.
I love my current studio as I get to drive out of the city to the countryside and watch birds flying about as I work.
Why is sustainability important to you as a maker and what natural materials do you use?
It’s important to know as a maker that you’re minimising your effect on the environment. Luckily in ceramics there isn’t too much waste – any unfired pieces of clay can be soaked down and reused. A lot of my work is made from a recycled blend of clay (3 or 4 clays mixed together) which means the results are always slightly different. I don’t have running water inside my studio so I just fill up buckets each day, minimising my water usage significantly. I stopped using plastic packaging a while ago and it’s been much easier than I thought – crinkled brown paper is just as good.
What would you be in another life if you weren’t doing what you do?
When I was a kid I wanted to be an osteopath, which is a pretty weird ambition for a 7 year old…..
View Liz Vidal’s beautiful green glaze ceramics in my collection.
Photography of Liz & her studio: Kasia Kiliszek
Other shots: Gem Hicks Photography