Hey Jo! You’re a ceramicist and illustrator who makes pots, plates, jewellery and more. How would you describe your style? What are some key elements of your designs?
My work is character driven, I’ve always been interested in stories and memorable personalities within the narrative. So when I decorate my pieces they usually have a back story behind the characters created. Then there’s something great about how to apply them to a functional form. That challenge is what inspires me.
The faces and animal designs you make have a child-like innocence to them. Some of them remind me of Judith Kerr’s illustrations in The Tiger Who Came to Tea. Do you make a conscious effort to appeal to this nostalgia, and to children, when you design a piece? Who’s illustrations and designs influence yours?
It’s probably more subliminal than a conscious effort haha. It’s what I love and having 2 children under 4 means I’m reading wonderful stories with gorgeous illustrations all the time. There’s something so inspiring about seeing these stories through their eyes that probably feeds my work. We actually have quite a few of Judith Kerr’s books at home which I love but I’m also really drawn to anything that has vintage style references such as Wes Anderson movies.
My favourite children’s book illustrator is Oliver Jeffers I think he’s imaginary for storytelling and how to translate that into imagery is gorgeous.
Could you give an example of a piece that you think exemplifies your work, and tell me how it came about?
It’s probably my merpeople soap dishes, I’ve got a few different ones now and they all have different characters. The one pictured is Brianna, she originates off the coast of Scotland, her Celtic roots are evident in her hair, she enjoys romance novels, clambakes and reruns of Eldorado.
The idea for the merpeople came from an illustration I saw once of a fat merman. It made me laugh and when I was thinking of good characters for bathroom accessories I thought merpeople! I loved the idea of how their round form could make a good soap dish or toothbrush holder.
What would you like to offer up as your WFTP hidden gem?
Oh I absolutely love Fiona Wilson’s work, the characters, the bold print and colour, so gorgeous!
Thanks for answering my questions Jo! How can readers keep up to date with what you do, and buy your work?
No problem, lovely to chat! You can follow what I do on Instagram @brimblestudio and buy my work on my Etsy site
Interview by Alex Wilson 12/10/20