Clay & Ink with Tom's Studio & Quill London
A little pot to rest your nib
The conversation where it all started with Toms Studio
I’ve been meaning to write this journal post for some time now, but anytime I get I am most likely be behind the wheel covered in clay, listening to my favourite podcasts. Behind the scenes from producing my own work. Last year was a busy year for prototyping and collaborating. One of the most busy collaborations has been working with my Studio Neighbour Tom, from Tom’s Studio. He makes the most exquisite hand crafted calligraphy pens. Both of us had been wanting an opportunity to combine our handy skills, so over lunch we would discuss ideas for clay built accessories. But what we needed like most makers was a real project to get our teeth into, our wish arrived with the then forthcoming 2018 Modern Calligraphy festival created by Quill London.
Tom had already been wholesaling his pens to Quill London and asked me if i’d like to collab on an ink well. It was an exciting time, Tom would excitedly launch into my studio with fresh sketches of some ideas and I would then take them straight to the wheel. This went on for a few days until we were both happy with the initial shape. From there we spent a couple of weeks trialling the science and uncovered joys of different glazes.
I’d not applied or used 22ct Gold Lustre so the first firing was beyond exciting. When the kiln lid was finally allowed to be safely opened, it was sheer joy to see a shiny array of sparkling tiny vessels. As the Ink Wells are so small they all have their own unique character, with the clay thrown so thin, you only have one chance to shape and indent, this really is where the magic of hand crafted lies, but also the heartache. So many processes are a double edge sword a fine line between success and failure. These little pots tiny in size have a long journey, from the initial throwing stage, drying, smoothing, bisque firing, glazing, glaze firing, lustre application and then final firing. At any stage these delicate pots can meet their end. One evening late at night I was smoothing them down and managed to crunch three in my hand their delicate shells turning back to their original state of clay powder. But this is I hope is what makes them so unique and precious.
Initially we were asked to make a small batch run for the Calligraphy festival, but the love for these little inkwells was overwhelming, so we are still making them. After the success of the ink wells Tom now sells his own colour range in his shop - Introducing a spring colour range of Blush, Corn Flower and Mustard.
The Water Jugs came soon after, I had been making some room incense holders and Tom popped in and said what would that shape look like if you made a little indent for a rest? I tried it and the brush Jug was born, as a collection they look like little penguins, singularly they look like a sophisticated desk accessory. The little brush pots are a useful vessel to either wash out used calligraphy brushes or to be used as larger ink vessels.
I would love to hear about how you use your Ink Wells and Brush Jugs. Tom and I are working on another range of calligraphy accessories which we will be launching in summer 2019.
Limited edition Ink Wells & Brush Jugs can be bought by