I'm loving the work of ceramicist Ann Mercer, and I caught up with her a couple of weeks ago to talk about business and dreams.
Her angular pots with their graphic patterns are on my wish list. Now I just need a stockist near me...
patternbooth: Why ceramics?
ann: I had originally been very interested in textiles, but I chose to do ceramics because of a very charismatic teacher in my Foundation Year at City Lit, called Robert Cooper. His enthusiasm was inspiring.
patternbooth: You've quite recently graduated. What is the biggest lesson you learnt during your degree?
ann: Not to give up! Despite setbacks and mistakes and disastrous experiments just appraise the results, take on board the learning, re-plan and carry on.
patternbooth: Tell us more about your work.
ann: I really enjoy repetition, pattern and geometry. My current collection is based on asymmetry and architecture, strong sharp shapes tessellating to form a vision of a modern metropolis, the colour palette based on Renzo Piano's development at St. Giles Circus in Covent Garden (blue, green, orange, yellow, grey and black) and the patterns based on urban patterns, heating louvres, grids, windows and roof canopies. I love walking in the city and learning about its history so there is lots of inspiration all around.
patternbooth: How are you finding running a business?
ann: Running a business is really exciting but a steep learning curve! We were warned that admin. is very time-consuming and it's true.
I had also not considered simple things like the costs of couriers and I am having to cope with the sheer pressure of making to order. But it is fun and great to feel that people like my work.
patternbooth: What do you wish someone had told you before you began.
ann: We were actually very well prepared at college but I wish someone had told us that the response could be an avalanche so assemble a large body of work but don't take shortcuts or the quality of work will suffer. So huge initial commitment in terms of time and materials.
patternbooth: What advice would you give someone thinking of following in your footsteps?
ann: Don't think too long about it! Making ceramics is hard work but very rewarding.
And, although you must be critical and aspirational, don't apologise for your work. Learning is a life-time journey and you are where you are.
patternbooth: What is your dream for your business in the next 5 years?
ann: I want to go on learning and developing ideas, experimenting with techniques and producing interesting pieces inspired by Cities.
patternbooth: So, what next?
ann: I plan to have a new collection of work in Spring 2014 and will work on the designs over Christmas in Australia. So, sketching on Bondi - sounds fun!