Steph Liddle is a Designer/Maker working predominantly in ceramics. With an eye for colour and pattern, she draws on her background in Illustration to create contemporary, graphic ceramic jewellery and homewares. Focussing on minimal shapes, combined with bold patterns and a limited colour palette, she creates pieces that are easy to wear and live with. Working from her studio in Dundee, Steph makes each piece by hand before using underglaze to introduce pattern and illustration motif. She aims to create simple and functional, yet beautiful, products to be cherished and used.
I was lured in by an offer of a delicious dinner! I joined the DCW Committee last summer, not long after Tin Roof had found out that they had been awarded Creative Scotland funding to set-up a ceramic facility but also just as they had to move out of the old premises in Ure Street. I was a committee member for about 6 months, helping to find a new premises and set-up the workshop space, and then became an employee in January 2017. I’m the Studio Assistant at DCW, alongside working in my own studio, and feel incredibly lucky to be able to support DCW and its members, as well as learning so much about ceramics and being part of a community of other makers!
The core theme of my work is the idea of ‘home’ and ‘home comforts’, especially the role of food, and many of my minimal patterns are inspired by culinary staples. For example, the recurring dash and curve motifs I use are inspired by rice and macaroni – classic comfort foods reduced to their most basic shapes! The result is a collection of objects which sit together and interact with each other, but are equally strong alone. Designed with functionality in mind, the minimalistic nature of the objects allow the user to add their own narrative and explore how they use the objects, which can be grouped into two strands – home and body.
‘Home’ is represented by a collection of pots and dishes which are designed to be multi-functional and can be used for everything from housing plants, tea-lights, and keys to providing a vessel for drinks and snacks.
‘Body’ is represented by wearable ceramic jewellery such as pins and necklaces. The adjustable waxed-cotton cord used on my necklaces make them easy to wear and use, and offers a sense of authorship to the wearer by allowing them to make an active decision about how they are worn.
In addition to my main collection, I also create objects with more overt purposes; specific practical functions such as cups, coffee filters and plates. These functional forms borrow their motifs and forms from both ‘home’ and ‘body’, translating their graphics into new narratives which mimic the form and shapes found in both strands of objects.
I’m currently working on a new collection of work which I will be launching in early June at the Fruitmarket Design Market in Edinburgh. I’ve spent the last few months exploring new production methods and clay bodies and will be moving from making predominantly slab-built work in stoneware clay to slip-casting using Parian porcelain clay. Drawing on the themes and patterns present in my current collection, my new collection will retain the bold, graphic signature style my work is known for but will feel more refined and streamlined. I’ve also been experimenting with lustre recently and plan on launching another collection later in the year which will be made in Parian clay and feature lustre elements which I’m super excited about.
As a maker who has struggled to gain access to a kiln and ceramics facilities in Dundee I think that having DCW is super important for the city. We’re able to provide access to tools, materials and knowledge that people would struggle to gain access to otherwise, and we’re also trying to build up a community around clay and making which can share knowledge and skills with each other. I’ve found being part of this community so helpful – it’s allowed me to learn so much about ceramics, and share my knowledge with others, as well as giving me the confidence to put that knowledge into practice.
Steph is also running an exciting series of workshops with us called Claytime! as well as a weekend workshop – see details below:
Come join us for Weekend Brunch! Over the course of three Saturday mornings designer/maker Steph Liddle will show you how to make your own 3 piece brunch set. Focusing on slab building, you’ll learn to make a breakfast plate, cup and pour-over coffee dripper which can then be decorated using coloured slips – the perfect addition to your lazy weekend breakfast or brunch.
Inspired by the kinetic sculptures of Alexander Calder, this Claytime! session will focus on minimal shapes and forms to create a contemporary and graphic ceramic mobile or wall hanging. Over the course of the evening designer/maker Steph will show you how to make the ceramic components of your mobile or wall hanging, ready to be fired and glazed ready for collection in a few weeks time, as well as discussing hanging and stringing options.
This Claytime! session will focus on slab building to create a mid-century inspired vase. Lead by designer/maker Steph Liddle, we’ll focus on minimal shapes and forms to create a graphic vase inspired by mid-century designers. Over the course of the evening Steph will show you how to prepare your slabs and build your vase, ready to be fired and glazed ready for collection in a few weeks time.
Working with porcelain clay, we’ll be using handbuilding techniques to create sculptural and wearable pieces of ceramic jewellery. Lead by designer/maker Steph Liddle and recent jewellery graduate Hannah George, we’ll harness the delicate and translucent nature of porcelain to make the ceramic components of your jewellery, ready to be fired and glazed ready for collection if a few weeks time.