We’re all about championing local talent at Meet Bernard and thought it was high time we introduce you to one of our favourite South London makers, Sandrine Jarnet.
Sandrine creates sleek, minimal stoneware for every day use and we're delighted to stock a selection of her wares instore. Each piece is purposefully designed, simple in form and features distinctive glazed markings in earthy, neutral tones. Intrigued by her process, we asked Sandrine a few questions about life in South East London, how she got started in pottery and where she finds her creative inspiration.
Sandrine's ceramic vessels // Sandrine in her studio
First things first, what sparked your interest in ceramics?
Several years ago I visited a ceramicist during an Open House event near me and I was so impressed and inspired that I decided to attend evening classes.
Are there any creators that influenced you to take the first step behind the wheel?
Not that my work reflects theirs in any way, but I absolutely love the work of Jack Doherty. My other favourite makers are John Higgins and Paul Wearing.
Works from left to right: Jack Doherty // John Higgins // Paul Wearing
What’s your process? Do you start with an idea in mind or go with the flow?
Because I do ceramics part-time I have to be efficient while in the studio. I usually know what I am going to make, but the final design and the patterns are often made spontaneously.
What does a typical day in the studio look like for you?
It really depends on what’s on the go; there are so many processes you have to do with ceramics to finally get one piece. It could be wedging clay to create balls ready for throwing and then working on the wheel. While these new pieces dry to what is called a “leather-hard” stage - a partially dried condition - I could be “turning” pieces made a few days ago - turning is the process of removing the excess clay to finish a piece. Finally I would clean my workspace as clay dust can be harmful.
Do you have a favourite piece or collection?
I come from Brittany in France and strangely enough I have been fascinated by seaweed and algae found on the beach for a while now. I recently started a new process of carving seaweed and algae patterns on a collection of vases. It is difficult to explain, but I found the varieties, the shapes and the colours very captivating. And so far these vessels have been much appreciated, so I guess I ought to continue working on this collection.
How would you describe your aesthetic?
I work exclusively on the potter wheel specialising in contemporary ceramics, purposefully utilitarian in style. My vessels are to be held, filled, drunk out of and eaten from. Subtle variations in size, form and glaze finish are inevitable and give each one its own particular nuance and character. I mainly use stoneware dipped in matt or satin glaze.
What do you love about South East London?
What makes the South East London creative community so special?
There are so many places to get your creativity going in South East London. I highly recommend The Kiln Rooms in Peckham - a fab place run by a fab team.
What advice would you give anyone hoping to start a career in pottery?
Keep practicing. Don’t despair. It’s worth the trip :-)
Is there anything else you’d like to share?
We've got a beautiful selection of Sandrine's work in our womenswear store right now. From cups and saucers to tumblers and vessels, if you're looking to add some one-of-a-kind pieces to your homeware collection then be sure to pop by and have a browse.