Meet the Maker: Q&A With Minnie-Mae Stott
A Q&A WITH CERAMIC ARTIST MINNIE-MAE STOTT
Get to know our new ceramic artist on wildatheart.com...
If you love quirky vases that will bring your blooms to life, get to know our new ceramic artist on site: Minnie-Mae Stott. Margate based Minnie is inspired by British seaside landscapes, London's history, Greek mythology and Italian kitsch decoration, resulting in a healthy obsession with all-things columns and seashells. To learn more about her brilliant ceramics, we sat down with Minnie and covered her background, inspirations, the design process and all-things Margate!
Q. Tell us about your background and how you came to be a ceramic artist
When I moved to Margate in 2016, I started attending Clayspace drop-in classes; Clayspace is not-for-profit social enterprise set up to offer a professional ceramics studio space and teaching facility for the whole community.
I instantly loved the medium of clay and the meditative process of getting your hands mucky, taking time away from computers and screens. My interest and skills developed over time and the more I made and experimented, the more I gained from ceramics. My degree is in printed textiles and I think you can see that reflected in my ceramic work.
Q. You come from a creative family – can you tell us more about how your formative years inspire your work?
My grandmother was wonderfully creative and inspiring; she worked on many community projects, including designing floats for Notting Hill carnival and for Sands Film Studio as their head corset maker. Her house was an Aladdin’s cave of beautiful objects and curiosities. My mother followed in her footsteps and does similar work within the community. Growing up, my brother and I were helped them with various projects and inevitably we soaked up both their creativity and moral and social compass’ too (hopefully!)
Q. How long does it take to make a signature Minnie Mae Stott vase, can you talk us through the process?
Ha - good question…it all depends on whether the baby is at nursery or not!
I use a process called ‘slabbing’ (as opposed to turning on the wheel) to make the vases. Each vase base shape is formed, and then I carve detail into it. The vases go through two firings, a bisque firing (an initial firing without a glaze), then they are glazed before being fired to stoneware. Stoneware temperatures make the vases both watertight and non-porous.
Q. What’s your favourite part about the designing / making process?
Opening the kiln on the final firing. It’s all in the hands of the kiln gods, sometimes you can fire something four times and on the very final firing (which takes a whole day) something happens and the batch is ruined. It’s both exciting and nerve-wracking!
Q) You’re based in the seaside town of Margate, how does the area inspire your work?
I’ve always had an obsession with findings on the beach, from seaweed to shells. In fact, I’m currently working on some seaweed glazes.
Q) Let’s talk flowers – which flowers do you like to see displayed in a Minnie Mae Stott vase and why?
Delphiniums, dahlias and hydrangeas. I love a show-stopper of a flower!
Q) Who would be your dream customer to create a piece for?
Can I make a customer up? I think a mix of Beyoncé and the South Korean DJ Peggy Guggenheim would be my ideal customer. I’d like to fill a Venice waterside apartment with extravagant ceramics and vessels to hold flowers in…. A flower bathing room would be ideal, where you hold salons with pals just to soak in the glory of being in a room of flowers.
Q) What are your recommendations for any Wild at Heart customers planning a trip to Margate?
When it comes to food - Bottega Caruso for the best Italian possibly ever, Barletta at the Turner Gallery, Hantverk & Found for Japanes- inspired seafood and Dive for the best Margaritas and tacos at sunset… not forgetting Honeycomb Ice cream from Ramsay & Williams.
My recommended sight-seeing / activities: the Shell Grotto, Turner Contemporary Gallery, Walpole Bay Hotel and the Walpole Bay tidal pool for a sunset swim.