I have met some extremely talented and creative artisans throughout my curating and sourcing trips. It’s always fascinating to hear about how they work, and their history and to touch and feel their products.
All of the craftspeople below make their products by hand, ensuring that each item has its own details and is a distinctive piece. As I visit more countries I hope to add more and more artisans to this list.
AYAH CERAMICS: EGYPT
Ayah Hamada has worked as a full-time ceramic artist from her studio located in El-fustat since 2018. She worked as a ceramic artist at the Replica Production Unit with the Egyptian Ministry of Antiques from August 2019 to February 2021. Ayaa was drawn into the world of ceramics especially Islamic ceramic art since she enrolled in a two-year program at Jameel House of Traditional Arts and Crafts in Cairo.
Ayah loves to inspire her work from nature, grass, plants, leaves and trees. She loves green colour the colour of spring and rebirth. Fascinated by the reflection of the sunlight on the green leaves which look like luminous leaves, She translated that in her coasters using Egyptian black copper oxide which turns up to a green colour with shades after glaze firing on 1000 degrees F.
MICHELLE CERAMICS: UK
Michelle created her brand Michelle Ceramics after graduating with a ceramics degree at Central Saint Martins in London. She began her career after visiting the studio of Jess Joss and began throwing pottery on the wheel professionally. Along with her own studio, she also teaches pottery classes in London.
Her work is beautifully tactile and focused on not only texture but usability. Each piece is hand-thrown at Mudgang in Lambeth. Michelle is passionate about pushing her work and technique, constantly experimenting and exploring shape and colour.
ORÉ MI: UK
Karen Olla started Ore mi in 2019 with a view to creating a brand that focused on conversations about well-being in the black community. Drawing inspiration from her Nigerian heritage Karen began to create products that celebrated the rituals of lighting candles and exploring scents. A ritual that is also important to me.
Based in South London, her studio is a sanctuary to explore scent and create products that are not only kind to our bodies but also to the environment. Each candle is carefully and sustainably made. The brand ethos and quality drew me to Ore mi. After buying candles for myself, I couldn’t wait to work with Karen. I’m sure you will love her creations as much as I do.
NAKED CLAY: UK
Carla Sealy of Naked Clay Ceramics produces small batches of considered handmade pottery in her studio in Bedfordshire. Her work is inspired by the natural colours and textures of the earth, which comes through in her work with deep rich browns and textured creams.
Her ceramics are hand-built and each piece has its own unique marks and texture. Along with Stoneware she also creates pieces in porcelain. Her pottery is a perfect mix of strength and delicateness.
Eva Radulova is the woman behind the brand Eradu. She works in her studio in Deptford, London creating slip-cast porcelain with an emphasis on form, colour, and texture. Born in Bulgaria Eva moved to the UK to complete her master’s degree at Staffordshire University in Stoke-on-Trent which coincidently is my hometown and the centre of ceramics production in the UK.
Eva’s South London studio is a space full of creativity and craft and is part of a growing group of UK maker’s studios. Eva works to explore shapes and forms, she is driven by the desire to create stylish innovative which sit within stylish homes.
Jaye Tayler of Argilo Ceramics is based in the Cornish town of Falmouth where she creates her wheel-thrown stoneware. Jaye focuses on tableware and vessels created which are extremely tactile, they are created to be held and touched.
As a child, she spent summers in Catalonia and used that as inspiration for her work. The warmth and soul of the Mediterranean come through in her work with the soft terracotta and the rich cream colours.
ELLA BUA-IN: UK
Ella Bua-In creates beautiful handmade ceramics in her home studio in Margate, Kent. Each piece is unique and built from hand, carrying with it unique markings and textures. Glazes are painted on and are delicately layered onto the stoneware pottery.
Ella’s ceramics are works of art, each illustration is hand-painted and inspired by things such as nature and femininity. She creates stories with her pieces, they are made to be loved and used.
ST EVAL: UK
St Eval is a Cornish candle company that has been handmaking candles and candle accessories for over 25 years. Based on their working farm in St Eval, North Cornwall, they produce candles using techniques that have been honed over many years.
Each candle is hand-poured and inspired by the natural surroundings of Cornwall. St Eval places people and the planet at the centre of their business. The wax used is a mixture of vegetable and mineral wax. They create their own blends to ensure a consistent aroma, superior burn quality, and beautiful appearance.
SALEM’S DESIGN: ETHIOPIA
Salem’s Designs creates beautiful quality products using traditional techniques learned by generations of craftspeople. Beginning in 2016 Salem has built up a studio that includes cotton weaving, embroidery, basketry, leatherware, and jewellery making.
They create products from the highest quality materials. Ethiopian cotton is an industry that has existed in Ethiopia for centuries.
ABDELKARIM BOUDLAL: MOROCCO
Abdel and his community, craft their distinctive green pottery in the village of Tamegroute in the south of Morroco. The green and yellow pottery are unique to Tamegroute, the formula of this pottery is a closely guarded secret. Designed and made in the village, the green and yellow finishes are formed using an ancient process that remains unchanged.
Each piece is unique with its own marks and textures which are created during the firing process. The three marks which appear on each piece of pottery are an example of this.
CHABI CHIC: MOROCCO
Chabi Chic is a Moroccan lifestyle brand based in Marrakech created by Parisians, Vanessa Di Mino, and Nadia Noël. I came across their Medina store underneath Nomad restaurant and was immediately taken with their beautiful products.
Based in Marrakech, they work with local artisans and craftspeople in and around Marrakech who use age-old techniques to create modern and chic products. Each product is handmade using fine materials and high-quality finishes.
SWAZI BASKETS: SWAZILAND
Swazi Baskets create beautifully soft but strong handmade basketware from Swaziland. The baskets are woven using Lutindzi grass. The grass is picked from the ‘eTjebovu’ & ‘Mantenga’ areas on the slopes of the mountains in Swaziland, dried out, and then made into ropes which are then coiled, weaved, and/or sewn or finger-knitted to create their baskets.
Swazi Baskets is a family business, run by Nelton Mavinbela and his family. Nelton is from Swaziland and continuously travels between Cape Town and Swaziland to support his business.
SOUFIANE ZARIB: MOROCCO
Soufiane Zarib is Moroccan rug heaven. Their main store is in an amazing Riad in the Marrakech Medina and is hidden behind a grand front door. Zarib is world-famous thanks to the quality of the rugs they stock. They specialise in vintage Berber rugs, large scale, and modern luxury rugs.
Along with rugs they also create beautiful cushions and fabrics. The sabra and mud cloth cushions are sourced from Zarib.
MAISON BEN YAMNA D’ART: MOROCCO
Maison Ben Yamna is an artisan weaving workshop based in Fes. Their textiles are some of the softest silks, cashmere and wool I have come across. Our blankets and throws are hand-woven in the studio in Fes by craftspeople using traditional weaving techniques.