006. Hilda Carr Pottery

On growing a therapeutic hobby into a global business.

From a quiet garden studio in the heart of London, Potter Hilda Carr crafts the most tactile tableware and has crafted herself a beautiful lifestyle to match.

Here’s her inspiring story.

My business started completely by accident.

I started pottery back in 2014 as a hobby after finding that I needed a bit of a break from full-time motherhood. I had a 4 year old and a one year old at the time and I had just given up my job as a designer for an events company.

Ceramics felt like something I could have just for me; where I wasn’t constantly being pulled in three different directions and everything could just slow down for a bit.

Those classes when my children were small actually had a profound effect on me. I suppose, looking back, they were my therapy.

After a few months of lessons, I bought myself a second-hand wheel and cleared out a corner of the garden shed so I could practise at home and very gradually my skills improved.

After a year or so, a friend convinced me to have a stall at the local school Christmas fair and the positive feedback I received from that encouraged me to put myself out there and start my Instagram account and an Etsy shop.

And so things have grown fairly organically from there.

If you’d have told me 9 years ago that I’d be making a living from making and teaching pottery, I would never have believed you!

I suppose, looking back, they were my therapy

It’s just me.

From the making to the marketing I run the business solo, although my golden retriever, Bronte is my studio companion most days.

I just wish she could make herself a bit more useful by handling some mugs or something. Barking at the squirrels doesn’t help me out at all.

A quiet corner of the city.

My studio is at the bottom of my garden, surrounded by trees and completely hidden from the house.

It feels very tucked away and surprisingly quiet, even though we live in London.

My favourite days are when I don’t have to be anywhere but in the studio. A cup of tea and the radio on and I’m happy!

My Style.

The style of my work comes from my love of carving clay.

I started ceramics because I was craving some escapism; a bit of time to myself to slow down and step out of my everyday life.

I found the technique of carving into clay so calming – almost meditative – that it has inspired the rest of my work since.

My pieces are all functional; designed to be enjoyed and used but also to make those seemingly mundane activities, like making your morning cup of tea, that little bit special.

I use a neutral and limited colour palette with translucent glazes that let the natural qualities of the raw material shine through.

This unfussy style together with the tactile nature of the carved surface creates a piece that I hope feels lovely to hold and comforting to use.

a piece that is lovely to hold and comforting to use

Memorable moments.

Having my book ‘Carve Your Clay’ published was most definitely a highlight.

It took months of work and a lot of self-doubt, but to hold the finished book in my hands was an amazing feeling.

I often get sent photos of pieces people have made whilst following one of the projects in my book which always feels quite surreal.

These can come from people all over the world which still seems crazy to me.

As far as I’m concerned it’s me in the shed at the bottom of my garden – the fact that my work reaches people on the other side of the planet is a strange but amazing feeling!

If I can continue making a living doing what I do then I will be happy!

Future plans.

I’m always looking to improve my skills, so I’d love to take some more courses and widen my knowledge of ceramics further.

There’s always something new to experiment with or a new technique to try so I’m pretty sure I’ll never run out of things to explore!

And I’d also like to continue passing on my skills to others. I’ve recently increased the amount of lessons that I’m teaching which has been really wonderful and it gives me that balance between working by myself and having the company of others.

I get so much joy and contentment from working with clay and so its great to feel like I can pass that on.

IMAGES ©Hilda Carr 2024

We first stumbled across Hilda Carr on Instagram and were mesmerised by her videos, carving into clay in perfectly straight lines, all by eye.

If Hilda’s story has inspired you to find your own corner of creativity or simply to appreciate the art in everyday objects, we encourage you to explore further and connect with the artisans around you.

Their stories are not just about the pieces they create but about the lives they touch and the quiet moments of joy they bring.

Stay tuned for more inspiring stories from artisans like Hilda, who remind us that the greatest treasures often come from the simplest of pleasures.


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