Visiting Ceramicist Myer Halliday in his Edinburgh Studio

There are many plus points to being self employed but for me, one of the trickiest aspects is working on my own without colleagues to bounce ideas off. However, Edinburgh is full of other creatives and last year designer Catherine Aitken , ceramicist Myer Halliday and I decided to set up a Mastermind group. It’s great, we meet each month to discuss projects we are working on and share useful pieces of information. Despite coming from different disciplines we are all striving for the same goal i.e making nice things we can sell to earn a living.

Todays Mastermind session was at Myer’s studio which is on the outskirts of Edinburgh in the grounds of the Midlothian Innovation Centre , a complex of small businesses and studios and just along the road from the Roslin Institute – where Dolly the sheep was cloned in 1996!

As I wandered through the maze of small buildings, I peered through several windows hoping to catch a glimpse of what was being made inside each studio until I came across a window so caked in ceramic dust that it gave a mystical quality to the neatly lined up vessels inside…I had a arrived.

 

by www.schnappsphotography.com

Ceramicist Myer Halliday. Photograph by Marc Millar @schnappsphoto

 

You may well know Myers work already as he exhibits in the UK and USA and is stocked in galleries and shops in Great Britain including Heals in London.

If you don’t know his work I can tell you that as soon as you see it you will want to touch it. There is a softness to the finish that reaches out to be held.

Myer Halliday's mugs

It seems that even the process (a long one – he told me of the many stages involved from casting to several firings, filing and surface decorating) seems to create visual treats. I challenge anyone who wouldn’t want to squish these pieces of excess clay…

Scraps of excess clay at Myer Halliday's studio

or design a pattern based on these drying rings,

Drying marks in Myer Hallidays studio

Myer Halliday cups

You can see better images of his finished work on the Craft Scotland website but if you are curious like me, you will find it a real treat to see behind the scenes and look at the pieces in their various stages of completion.

Myer Halliday's studio

Myer Hallidays work

His marbled work particularly resonates with me as I am reminded of the beautiful sands of the Western Isles when the white sand grains mix with the dark gneiss and broken mussels shell grains.

The sand on Harris Scotland

The sands on Harris, Scotland

Myer Halliday's vessels lined up in his studio

 

And any solopreneurs (a great word I heard Lucy Cardwell of Lucky Cloud skin care use in her recent talk at the Fruitmarket Gallery) reading this who hasn’t set up a Mastermind group, I would urge you to do so as it’s not only fun but has serious benefits to your business (I daren’t procrastinate as I would have nothing to report to them the following month, and they do check!) and of course your mental well being.

Tune in next time to see behind the scenes at Catherine’s studio.

 

 

 

New Homes for Vintage Designs

We chuck more, we buy more, and we keep making more, me (unifiedspace) included. The planet is literally awash with homewares. This poses a real dilemma for someone like me who loves designing and producing new ranges, so, in an attempt to rebalance my own input into this mass overindulgence, can I introduce you to, Vintage Nik’s

Having recently been searching for a 1960’s,  Norwegian coffee cup to add to a depleted collection I had inherited I was blown over when I came across a brilliant vintage site called Danish Mood. The knowledgable art historian running the site had the cup I was searching for. I duly bought it and completed my set. Easy as that. The ‘orphaned’ cup in Denmark now has a new home and future here in Edinburgh. Satisfying is not a powerful enough word to describe how enriching the experience was and it set me thinking. I wanted to find homes for more unwanted beautiful designs. Perhaps this is how ’empty nest syndrome’ is going to manifest itself with me (eldest leaving home later this summer) but whatever the reason, I can assure you it’s soothing my guilt about producing new ranges and feeding my desire to nurture.

I am specifically looking out for mid century British and Scandinavian homewares, both utilitarian and decorative, purely because that’s what I like. I’ve found some great treasures already including a prized Stig Lindberg saucier, a 1942 Royal Copenhagen vase, some Phoenix glass, and several stunning pieces of ceramics from Britains finest potteries. I’m only looking for pieces in near perfect condition that I would be happy to find space for in my own house. And it’s staggering looking at the quality of the pieces, especially the bone china  produced in Stoke on Trent in the 1950’s. Really wonderful.

So I look forward to producing more of my own work (lots of textiles on the way) and finding homes for unwanted, thoughtfully designed objects from the past. A good balance I think.

Do you collect vintage designs and if so what is your favourite era or style?