If you came into Mr Sparrow in its first month of existence, back in June of 2008, you would have noticed some pretty empty shelves. I opened with just a small about of stock, which has gradually built up over the years into the madness that you see today (these days the thought of those much-emptier shelves is very appealling!!). One of the designers whose work was here from the very beginning, though, was Chris Plumridge of Claystone Pottery. I completely fell in love with his bird teapots and tea bowls as soon as I saw them, and they've been a fixture at Mr Sparrow ever since. Since last year I've also been excited to stock his mini milk jugs and egg boats, both of which have been super popular.
I have always admired Chris's passion for his work and his absolute commitment to quality, which is why I was really thrilled to have the opportunity to ask him a few questions for this month's designer interview.
This interview will also appear in the Sparrowmail newsletter out today (look out for your 20% off code if you're a subscriber...and if not, make sure you sign up before next month so you don't miss out!).
Here's what Chris had to say...
>How did Claystone come about?
I created the name Claystone Pottery from my own initials CP.
The name actually applies to a type of hard sedimentary stone made up of clay and minerals found in the ground and it also applies to the concept of a clays tone - the sound of fired clay, especially stoneware or porcelain when it is struck, it rings. All my work is high hired and has this capability of making a wonderfully high ringing sound when struck. It sounds like a bell.
>Where do you create your designs?
My ideas for my designs come from many sources. I dream up shapes sometimes in my sleep and in unusual places as I am waiting for a train or bus as I travel to and from work - my studio in Highett, Victoria near Sandringham.
Sometimes I see a shape from nature and interpret it as a form for my ceramics, like my 'Bird' Teapot which came to me one day as I sat looking at black birds in a garden.
>What inspires you?
I am inspired by my surrounds, the environment, nature and sometimes politics. My conical shaped mini milk jug was inspired by the idea of moving forward. It started from a ready made plastic wine goblet which was made in China and I thought to slice it and reassemble it angled forward. Most jugs have two parts, the body and a handle which is attached. The mini milk jug is all one form with a hole cut for the handle.
>What is your favourite material/medium to work with?
I love to work with clay, stoneware and porcelain as it is so plastic and easily shaped. It is also very forgiving as it can be remodeled if it gets slightly misshapen.
I also like plaster which allows me to enclose the space surrounding a shape so that I can repeat a ceramic form by making a mould.
I make all my own moulds to replicate unusual shapes, to provide my customers with a consistent product.
>What's next for Claystone?
I am about to make some cosy covered egg cups for a Christmas exhibition, I did not think of the idea but I am very fortunate to have had it suggested. I make the Perfect Poached Egg Boat, so an egg cup is a natural progression witha lid to cover a boiled egg. It is a practical shape to keep your breakfast meal warm and a wonderful shape to design.
Thanks so much, Chris!
You can find Chris's beautiful mini milk jugs, egg boats, bird teapots and tea bowls at Mr Sparrow now (both in the store and online).
*Left-hand image courtesy of Chris Plumridge
P.S. If you missed last month's interview with Andrea Shaw of Stämpel, you can check it out here.