Since discovering Lily Pearmain’s work we have been obsessed with her sculptural ceramics and abstract forms. We found common ground in being a London based brand that makes all of our products by hand in England.
We recently used Lily’s pieces in our SS18 Still Life shoot and couldn’t help but learn more about her work in a little interview….
Where did it all start, how did you carve your career in sculpture and ceramics?
My first proper job out of university was as a sourdough baker. I loved baking but I felt a little bit like a cog in a machine and the hours were pretty hardcore. I started doing ceramics night classes, to be honest it could have been anything - it was between ceramics and glass blowing but the ceramics course was cheaper. So I was going to night classes and just doing lots of odd jobs. Babysitting, waitressing etc. I didn’t really think that I could make ceramics a career until I moved to Turning Earth in Lea Bridge. They gave me a teaching job which meant I could give up the odd jobs and focus solely on pottery.
From there I’ve just worked really hard to make it work, spending as much time developing my skill as possible. I’ve only been doing it for 2 years so I’ve got so much to learn, that really excites me. It’s given me a voice I never knew I had.
How do you stand out against hobbyists to make a brand for yourself?
I’m not sure it’s necessary to stand out against hobbyists, because I think that work speaks for itself, it doesn’t matter if the artist has another job or not. I think the main difference is that I have the resources to fulfil large orders that a hobbyist might not have but generally I think there’s plenty of space in the market for everyone. The more interest there is in craft the better, and if people can understand how hard it is to be an independent creative business then that only brings more value to what I do.
I’ve been pretty lucky in that I seem to make things that people are interested in, especially the sculptural work. I’ve not really put much thought into branding as such, because the pieces I make kinda do all the talking for me. They’re fun to play around with and are pretty fun to photograph because of the way light goes through them, so they’ve become a symbol of my brand because of that.
Who’s work / art do you aspire to?
There’s certain ceramicists who I am particularly obsessed with at the moment: Mike Helke, Svend Bayer, Derek Wilson. They’re all very different from each other but I appreciate something from each of them and the level of skill they each have is just astounding.
I also take a lot of inspiration from outside of ceramics. Namely modernist architecture and post war sculpture. But I think one of the wonderful things about a creative job is that it allows you to experiment and change, I’m sure my influences and tastes will change too. That’s one of the reasons I don’t have a “standard ware”, it gives me the freedom to move about.
Finally, what will we be seeing from you in the near future?
Im going on a wood firing course this summer, so lots of wood fired pieces! I’ve also got a few new stockists and collaborations on the go. The one I’m most excited about at the moment is a collaboration with a wood worker. But you’ll have to stay tuned for more on that!
You can check out our collaboration with Lily here >