THE MAKERS DIRECTORY

CLIFF ELLIS

CERAMICIST

Cliff credits his love of making to his father. He grew up in east Devon observing him live the ‘Good Life’, keeping chickens, goats, and ducks, among other smallholding animals – and being almost entirely self-sufficient. Watching his father throw pottery, make furniture, and renovate their farmhouse lit the desire to create purposeful objects throughout his life.

“I seem to have inherited the passion for making things and preferably things that you can use.”

It started with an evening class back in the days of being a student. Cliff was inspired by the incredibly enthusiastic pottery teacher on the course, Margaret O’Rorke, who is now a well-known maker of porcelain lights.

The desire to continue this craft led him to purchase an old wheel and small kiln, resulting in many hours of practice, which according to Cliff is the key to master any craft. Aside from running a small company in radiation safety – which he admits is quite the contrast to pottery – the rest of his hours are spent making, or teaching people the art of throwing.

“As soon as I threw my first pot on the wheel, I was hooked. Now that I teach people to throw, I think I am responsible for many other people becoming similarly addicted!”

Cliff loves to create items that are simultaneously beautiful and practical; he is always findings ways to improve their shapes and experimenting with glazes. To continue this exploration he has recently bought a gas kiln that allows him to produce a new range of colours and glaze effects… which is exciting for us all. The construction of a new soda kiln is also underway, meaning more exploring and learning in the future.

“My Dad always said that you have to keep learning something new and keep looking forward which seems a pretty good philosophy to me.”

With pressure for the world to develop more sustainable habits and the need to treasure items, not replace them, people are re-discovering their appreciation for beautifully hand-made products. Cliff has noticed this shift in relation to an increased interest in studio pottery, leading to a rise in local selling platforms (such as ourselves), which he says helps to ease the selling process for makers.

Whilst making his stunning ceramics, often in large quantities, he says he finds great beauty in seeing them all lined up as the same creation, yet showing their own unique quirks and subtle variations – as hand-made products often do.

“I find pottery incredibly therapeutic and I think/hope that people I teach find it similarly useful and enjoy some quiet time away from the stresses that modern life can impose on us.”

PHOTOGRAPHY FROM LAUREN WIIG