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Ingrid Powers - London Clay Ceramics

Meet Ingrid Powers, the artist behind London Clay Ceramics. I met Ingrid a few years ago at an outdoor market in Walnut Creek, CA. I immediately fell in love with her design aesthetic and I’m beyond excited for you to meet her and her beautiful vessels.  

Ingrid Powers - London Clay Ceramics
Ingrid Powers at Home Studio
LONDON CLAY CERAMICS is based in Benicia, CA and makes one-of-a-kind contemporary stoneware. Ingrid Powers, originally from London, has been passionate about ceramics for over 40 years and focuses on functional organic vessels. Each piece is hand thrown on a potter's wheel, fired in a gas kiln to 2030 °F, and finished in a variety of self-developed glazing techniques to enhance the vessel's natural feel. 
In the past month, Ingrid and I collaborated to create a Moon Jewelry Vessel exclusively for Cielomar Jewelry Thoughtfully Curated Boxes launching in September. They are designed to have a modern feel (ever so present in both of our design aesthetics)  and made by combining raw clay with a gestural moon glaze design. A thoughtful addition to your nightstand for placing your jewelry to rest at the end of the day. 
Want to learn more about Ingrid and her creative process? Join me in my conversation with her about discovering her love for ceramics, developing her stoneware line and her process of making each piece and beyond!

How did you discover your love for your craft?

I was looking for a creative outlet, having grown up in London and introduced to art from an early age. My parents frequently dragged my sister and me around all the amazing galleries and museums that the city has to offer. Not that I appreciated it so much at that time, but it did foster a love for art. I decided to try an evening class for beginning pottery in the 1970s, I immediately connected with the medium and there’s been no looking back!

 

London Clay Ceramics on the Wheel
Ingrid on the Wheel

How does your background influence your craft?

Well, during my working career I was a Physical Therapist which is a hands on profession, so I think this tactile connection with clay is an extension of using my hands and also it’s a very meditative and centering process. 

 

Tell us more about your brand and what you are all about?

After retirement, I decided to focus on my art. I formed London Clay Ceramics and when my son asked me to make a dinner set for his new home I found my niche was making functional ware. Having traveled in the Nordic Countries, I’m drawn to clean lines and muted colors and I like leaving raw clay exposed so that one can not only see the wonderful texture of clay but also feel it.

 

 

What inspires you to create your products?

I’m inspired by everyday objects. People throughout the ages from the beginning of civilization have used ceramics in their daily lives. I’m interested in how people interact with handmade pottery, eating off plates, or drinking out a well crafted cup and how that seems to really enhance the experience. I think the balance of proportions is important, does the cup handle have the right balance and is the dish the right size for what it’s intended for. Studying these details inspires me to create my new forms.

 

Where do you create your products? Can you give us a glimpse into your process?

I’m fortunate to have my own studio and kiln located behind my house. I also belong to a community studio where during normal times, I can work and fire my work and also exchange ideas with fellow potters.

My work is all wheel thrown. I like working with light and dark clays. Here’s a little bit about the process.  It’s usually a few weeks before I see the finished piece! Once a piece is thrown, it has to dry some before I trim the excess clay off and refine the shape.  When dry the pot goes for an initial bisque firing around 1800°F.  I then glaze the still porous piece. The glazes when applied look powdery and mostly neutral In color with no clue as to what they might reveal until after the second firing which goes to 2300°F!  Opening the kiln up is the most exciting moment of all!  

 

London Clay Plates and Bowls

What’s something new and exciting that you are working on right now?

The most exciting new thing I’m working on is this Moon Jewelry Vessel for the curated box set! Alongside this, I am currently developing new glaze colors! Most studios use communal glazes in an array of colors, but this is also limiting. I decided I wanted to learn how to make my own glazes, so for the past year I’ve been taking online glaze chemistry classes. This means learning about the minerals of the earth, the periodic table and how to combine materials to produce the colors I want. This is an incredibly powerful tool, and super exciting to for example switch out one ingredient in a glaze and get pink instead of green!

 

Where can people find you and learn more about your brand and your products?

My website is www.londonclayceramics.com and I’m on Instagram Ingrid_londonclay. A large percentage of my work is either commissions or collaborations with local businesses such as One House Bakery in Benicia,CA and more recently with Sweetness and Light Flowers on First Street in Benicia. My work is also sold at The Gilded Frond in Martinez and of course very soon by Cielomar Jewelry. 

 

Bonus Question: What do you keep on your night stand?

Do I have to reveal that?  I will disclose that I always have a pile of books, an analog clock,(no phone or computer!), my glasses and various bits and pieces that could well use a dish to put them in! 

I'm sure you enjoyed meeting Ingrid and learning more about her process! Stay tuned for the big reveal of our first Thoughtfully Curated Box. The theme is Mesa de Noche (Night Stand) and one of the featured objects will be Ingrid's exquisite Moon Jewelry Vessel. 
*Mark your calendars, the two week pre-sale starts on September 1st!
Chao,
Cielomar
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