Continuing our pursuit of fresh, sustainable and considered design, we turn locally to self-taught, Hackney-based ceramicist Miyelle Karmi of Miyelle Ceramics to learn all about her sculpturesque new homeware collection for The Conran Shop.
1. Hello Miyelle! We are thrilled to welcome you to The Conran Shop; please tell us a little about you and your work.
Thank you, it's such a pleasure to be collaborating with The Conran Shop. I'm a ceramic artist based in Hackney. My work is inspired by both natural forms and abstract shapes and I love experimenting with how these two seemingly opposing ideas can be combined. With an emphasis on creating functional pieces, I hope to enhance the experience of everyday rituals by creating work that is playful, beautiful and tactile. I use exaggerated shapes and proportions with the aim to surprise and delight.
2. What informs your design aesthetic?
I have a background in graphic design which influences the clean, geometric and whimsical aesthetic of my work. I find that anything can inspire me, from things I discover on my travels, to a pattern on an item of clothing, or a shape I see in nature.
3. As a self-taught ceramicist, what was the greatest challenge you faced when learning how to work with clay?
The greatest challenge was actually the initial decision to become a member of a ceramics studio having no experience. I was both nervous and excited to throw myself into an art form that was so new to me. But once I'd taken that step, I'd say that being self-taught has enabled me to play and relish in the joy of unstructured learning. It's amazing how much you can learn from failures in the kiln, asking the makers around you questions and watching videos on YouTube. It's an ongoing process - I don't think you ever stop learning when it comes to making ceramics as you're always facing new challenges.
4. Similarly, what is your favourite part of the making process?
My favourite part has to be creating new designs, from initial sketches, to seeing them come alive in the clay. Whether it's experimenting with a new shape, type of clay, a new colour or glaze, it's such a great feeling when you finally get that piece out of the kiln and hold the object in your hands.
5. How important is sustainability to your practice?
It's hugely important. I hate waste so I constantly recycle my clay. All of the packaging I use is re-used, recycled or recyclable.
6. As a London-based designer, how do you think the city has influenced your work?
London is such an incredible city for creative inspiration. I'm constantly visiting exhibitions and gaining inspiration from the architecture, interior spaces and the general buzz of creative activity that the city exudes.
7. Your work has received much attention recently (and rightly so), and you were recently tipped as a ‘Name to Know’ by ELLE Decoration; what does this mean to you, and how do you think it might affect your practice going forward?
Thank you! It meant so much to me - it was a dream come true as I've religiously been reading ELLE Decoration for years. To be honest, I'm not sure how this will affect my practice other than that it gives me more hope and self belief to keep creating, moving my designs forward and challenging myself.
8. We’re delighted to be launching a selection of your mugs and vases at The Conran Shop; do you have a particular favourite design in the collection?
Ooh, it's a tough one. I loved the process of creating new mug designs for the collaboration. Of the mugs, I'd say the Wiggle Mug as it's so fun. Of the vases, the Wiggle Vase is a real statement piece.
9. And what is your favourite design icon at The Conran Shop?
10. Lastly, what do you hope the future holds for you and your business? Might you have any new designs or projects you are working on?
I've just launched a new collection called Nou that's inspired by the beautiful island of Menorca. Going forward, I'm planning on experimenting more with lighting designs and I've got some fun ideas for ceramic furniture pieces!