In this video, Stuart Carey takes us step-by-step through the processes he uses to throw a thin-walled bowl, which he spray-glazes once it is bisque-fired. Discover how Stuart makes his work in the full step-by-step masterclass inside CR 299 (September/October 2019).
I have been making for almost 18 years now. When I was 14, I opted for art GCSE at school. The head of the art department, Glyn Thomas, was a potter and every two years he would pick 15 names out of a hat to teach them pottery instead of the standard art course. When I was chosen I was initially furious, yet almost immediately I found an affinity for the material and was hooked. From then on, I spent as much time in the school studio as possible. I became good friends with Glyn and we remain close to this day. I continued to A-level, then to a BA at the Glasgow School of Art, followed directly by an MA at the Royal College of Art (RCA).
It was at the wheel where it all came together for me. Tableware became an obsession, I loved the functionality of it, that it would be used and loved. I enjoyed the parody of human features like a neck, lip or belly and how personal the interaction between pot and person was. I developed my signature range at the RCA of delicately thrown, white stoneware vessels, which were made to be elegant and quiet, marrying form with soft subtle tones of cream, blue, lemon and grey. Their strength lay in their timeless design, individual movement, and their softness as they offered themselves up for use.
Things took off quickly and I was fortunate enough to get studio space alongside Nicola Tassie in Hoxton. Nicola was a great mentor to me in those early years as I built my career and refined my production. I developed an international client base with Conran, Calvin Klein and Goop, while maintaining a strong presence in London at galleries including Maud and Mable, The New Craftsmen and Contemporary Applied Arts.
Stuart Carey in his studio; photo by Layton Thompson
Work by Stuart Carey; photo by Layton Thompson
In 2013, I became a founding partner in London’s first open access ceramics studio, which then led me to create my own business, The Kiln Rooms, with my friend and colleague Ben Cooper. Established with a similar format to the first studio, but with a drive toward the professional development of our members at its core. We now boast three large studios in Peckham, Southeast London, and over 400 users of all levels engaging with clay every week.
It was at the wheel where it all came together for me. Tableware became an obsession, I loved the functionality of it, that it would be used and loved.
As the company has grown so has my family and with the arrival of my son, Leo, in 2017, I took a step back from production. I’ve had my hands full with mentoring and I have just finished writing my first book, From Clay to Kiln, a beginner’s guide to ceramics and the potter’s wheel. I’ve recently found myself back in the studio, satisfied to reconnect with my wheel and clay.
'Essentially I see my pots as containers of distilled thoughts, moments arrested in time expressing the narratives of their own making.' In our latest video, potter Duncan Ayscough discusses the processes he uses to throw and combine the elements of a long-necked pot.
'What I love about ceramics is that you can make something so solid, permanent and tangible from something that is so intangible and is always changing in nature. To try and fix it, make it permanent, feels very grounding.'