Meet the Maker: Carly Dodsley

Carly standing behind a craft fair stall loaded with ceramic plates, jugs and mugs

Each month we will be highlighting one of the fantastic independent makers we stock.

This month it's Carly Dodsley.

Carly Dodsley is a Nottingham-based designer, passionate about ceramics and homeware.

Inspired by British designers such as Lucienne Day, Jessie Tate, and Kathy Winkle, her award-winning mugs have a mid-century modern feel, decorated in her signature floral, fish, and bird motifs.

The use of a limited colour palette introduces a contemporary feel to these pieces, making them compatible with modern interiors.

three lidded ceramic pots with birds and flowers on

Can you introduce yourself and describe what you do?

I am a ceramic designer based in Nottingham. I have a collection of award-winning mugs, jugs, bowls and plates. My aim is to design things that are durable, desirable and affordable.

Have you always been a maker?

I have an MA in ceramics and a background in the homeware industry. After graduating I worked for over 10 years as a ceramic designer in The Potteries, in Stoke-on-Trent. I learnt about manufacture and what makes good (and bad!) design.

What was the first thing you made?

I made my mum a coil bowl when I was about five. She still has it in her ‘posh’ cabinet.

What draws you towards your craft?

I have always loved homeware, and idea of designing something that becomes a part of people’s everyday lives. Ceramic has always attracted me as a medium – whether it’s collecting fragments of blue-and-white from farmers’ fields, or ceramic animals from charity shops! I have always admired studio pottery but my passion lies in manufacturing. I was lucky enough to work in an old Victorian Factory, which was as cold and romantic as it sounds.

How would you describe your aesthetic and how did you develop your style?

My style is mid-century modern. It’s bold, colourful, yet understated. The ideas were inspired by a great tradition of post-war British design, and involved experimenting with hand-drawn lines, repeat patterns, and mis-registered colours. I spent many years designing for clients and sticking to a very strict brief. I realised I wanted to work for myself and design what I wanted in my kitchen.

How long does it take to make a piece and what is involved in the process?

I no longer hand build, and having factory knowledge, I now have all of my ceramics small-scale manufactured. I do miss the excitement of opening up a kiln but I love seeing samples arrive on my desk. I design everything from shape to the pattern design and liaise with the factory to make sure everything is perfect.

Where does your inspiration come from?

Constant experimentation.

Who are your art and design heroes?

Kathie Winkle, Robin and Lucienne Day, Jessie Tate, Eva Zeisel, Stig Lindberg

Can you describe your workspace? Where is it and what is in it?

My desk looks untidy to the untrained eye but I can assure you I know where everything is…..

I have a studio at home. I’m very lucky to live in a three-storey house and my very understanding, tolerant family let me have the ground floor for storing my samples and stock. I’m gradually taking over the place, one floor at a time.

What is your favourite break time snack or drink to keep you motivated?

All the coffee.

What’s the best thing about being creative for a living?

I love the flexibility and work-life balance. Every day is different; it’s daunting and rewarding in equal measure.

What would you say to someone thinking about selling their work?

Do it. If you can talk about your work with passion and conviction you will find others that believe in it too.

a black and white plate with birds and flowers on
three patterned mugs with birds and flowers on
a black and white plate with 2 peacocks on it

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