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HEATHER SCOTT x TORO

 

INTERVIEW WITH HEATHER

What do you make?

I work in wood and metal to create furniture and objects that are made to be used. Time and time again. It's about the functionality of products that make more of the everyday.

What is important to you as a maker?

For me it's all in the detail. The craftsmanship. The honesty.

The subtlety of design details and form is important, there is so much value in the understated, the things that might go unnoticed but leave a minimal elegance. 

Quality craftsmanship and material understanding is integral, it's about things being made to last. It's becoming more important to me to recognise the craft in welding and metalwork, processes that can be constrained to industrial construction and large scale fabrication where the skill and craft involved are often overlooked.

What inspires you?

My work echoes some of the principles of Japanese and Scandinavian design. The main crossover being simplicity, in my sketchbook a design starts to feel resolved when there is nothing more to take away. 

I'm also hugely inspired by people, our different outlooks, skills and attributes. New ideas often come from a conversation or interaction, like the TORO project. Something really exciting happens when you have a collaborative conversation and you start to look at things from another perspective.

What are the main processes you use?

I use a variety of woodworking techniques, from using big scale machinery to a mallet and a chisel. I've learnt from some amazing craftspeople, each having their own take on how to solve problems using timber. Having a good foundation in both power tools and hand tools is really important, you need to know what tools are best suited to each job. Sometimes no machine can do a better job than your dad's old hand plane.

Metalwork is a more recent exploration for me, I'm a bit too excited about it. I've been working primarily in Steel, welding mainly. There are a lot of skills that transfer from woodwork to metalwork and equally so much to learn. Working with metal allows me to solve design challenges that I wouldn't be able to in wood, it's an amazing process.

A maker's space is very personal, what makes yours unique to you?

I love being in my workshop. It's tucked away on a farm, just outside Falmouth in Cornwall.There are lots of makers here, it's this community that makes it so special. There is a constant sharing of knowledge, tools and ideas. It feeds our creativity and development. 

Winters can be a challenge, just to keeping the fire roaring in attempt to cut a bit of the cold of the granite barn. Summer is a different game, double doors opened up onto the yard and someone putting some mackerel on the bbq for lunch. Well.... sometimes.

 
 

ISATU HYDE x TORO

 

AN INTERVIEW WITH ISATU

What do you make?

I make functional pottery for use in and around the home, including tableware, plant pots and planters, vases and storage containers.  I work as a production potter, meaning that I usually throw a batch of items at one time, and am able to repeat a form that is made from standard weight of clay and has standard set of dimensions. I do also do one-off pieces occasionally too.

What is important to you?

For me form is a key part of function; there should be no conflict between the two, and I don’t like to compromise one for the other. I hope to make pots that people can be conscious of using and that offer a moment of calm and consideration to a busy day; pots that could cue you to slow down for a moment and restore your energy. There are three key values that I aim to instil in every piece I make; generosity – of the home, giving and sharing and receiving, whether it be food, love or time; consolation - for aching bodies and minds; and vitality – that includes my hope to uplift, inspire, energise.  The products and their effect may be small, but it’s an essential part of how I approach making.

What inspires you?

I am inspired a lot by ancient ceramics for all around the globe. Water jars and funerary bowls from ancient Mexico, oil jars from the Minoan and Mycenaean civilisation of Crete and Greece, fire jars from the Jomon period of ancient Japan, cider jars and bowls from Medieval England.  At present I use mainly Chinese, Korean and Japanese glazes, but I hope to explore many more in the future.

Religion, rituals and ceremony inspire me. I like the idea of having objects in the home that are made with great consideration that take part in our self-made rituals of the home, and are either as complex or simple as they deserve to be.

What are the main processes you use?

I throw on the wheel, and use stoneware clays. Stoneware is good choice for me because it has great strength, both when being thrown and once it has been fired. It is a very practical clay that can withstand daily use. It’s not as pure as porcelain, and I like this because that allows a play between the rough, functionality of the material and the pureness of forms that I hope to achieve.

Once I have thrown a piece, I will allow it to dry for a few days or until it is ‘leatherhard’. At this point I bring it back to the wheel and turn away excess clay from the base, in order to create to finish or foot ring I desire. After turning I can cut or alter a piece if it is still soft enough. I like to cut facets and striations using all sorts of handmade, or kitchen, tools. The pot is then left to dry out completely.

All of my pots are fired twice. Once a set of pots are completely dry, they can be bisque fired. This firing last about 10 hours, reaching around 900 degrees, and bakes the clay so that it becomes ceramic but is still very porous.

Once the pots have cooled down completely, they can be glazed. The glazes I use mainly consist of different types of ground clay and stone and very small amounts of iron oxide. Large quantities of glaze are mixed in buckets so that I can then pour and dip the pots in them. Dipping glaze, as opposed to spraying or painting, ensures you quickly get an even coat that will give the best results when fired. Once all the pots are glazed, they are packed into the large oil-fired kiln at The

Marches Pottery. At the pottery, we fire to around 900 degrees, and then reduced the amount of oxygen in the kiln by shutting up all the airways. The temperature continues to climb to 1280 degrees, and then everything is switched off and allowed to cool for two days. This causes the glazes and the clay bodies to go through a process of ‘reduction’ which allows for the subtle range or grey, greens and blues that are mainly variations on the ancient eastern glaze, celadon.