Part-time potter Nicola Rutt spends her days as a practising architect at Hawkins\Brown, and throws pots once a week as her creative ‘therapy’. In this week’s Shop Talk interview we talk to Nicola about the practicalities of being a part-time ceramicist, her love of esoteric architectural blogs and how she would like her work to develop…
When did you start selling your ceramics, and what did you consider before opening your Folksy shop?
I started selling my ceramics in 2012 at a craft fair. I sold quite a lot and a few people kept in touch and occasionally commissioned me to make something for them. I decided it would be better to reach a wider audience and heard about Folksy through a friend. I also considered that I could keep updating my Folksy shop as and when I made new pots, which is a great discipline as it means I also have a photographic record of what I’ve made.
You work full time as an architect. How much time to you get to spend in the studio?
Once a week for two-and-a-half hours. Occasionally there are full-day Saturday classes, which I attend when I can.
Do you have a method for calculating your prices?
The prices reflect the size and complexity of the piece. Porcelain costs more than stoneware as a material, which is why the porcelain bowls are more expensive.
Do you promote your work?
No, I don’t. Maybe I will in the future, if I have more time.
How do you feel about social media?
It’s now a way of life. I joined Twitter earlier this year and see it as a great way to stay completely up to date. I tend to use it more for work than personal use. I have Facebook for that.
Do you follow any blogs? Which ones do you find most inspiring?
Yes, I follow The Sartorialist, some fairly esoteric architectural blogs (mainly about Brutalism), South Molton St Style, a range of design blogs and I’ve just discovered a new one called Futurustic, which I’m really enjoying.
What’s the most difficult thing about being a part-time maker?
Not developing as quickly as I could if I was full-time.
Would you do anything differently if you relied on ceramics to earn a living? Do you think your work would change?
Yes, it would be totally different. If you’re making a living from pottery I think you have to do a lot of repetitive work. I think it probably helps to teach as well. I really admire the way Nicola Tassie seems to balance fulfilling her commitments to the shops and galleries she supplies and developing ideas for new pieces.
Would you ever want ceramics to become your full-time profession?
No, but I will always carry on with ceramics as I enjoy it so much, and I’ll always be pushing myself to improve.
How would you like your ceramics to develop?
I’d like to carry on developing my style so that it becomes more unique, and also to keep throwing because there is always room for improvement.