- See more at: http://blogtimenow.com/blogging/automatically-redirect-blogger-blog-another-blog-website/#sthash.6XeXEVt9.dpuf The Curiosity Project: Curb Your Curiosity: Jo Heckett

13 April 2012

Curb Your Curiosity: Jo Heckett


I first met the lovely Jo Heckett a few years ago whilst I was exhibiting at the National Wedding Show with my favourite bridal boutique Luella's Boudoir. I'd never seen anything like Jo's work before and I loved how her ceramics put a whole new spin on the boring wedding favour. Have a look for yourselves...



• Introduce yourself to us! 
Porcelain gift maker, letter magnet lady, virtual collector of all things quirky.

• Describe your style…
Small, colourful and slightly unexpected.



• What do you love about the medium you work in? 
I love the colour response of porcelain, the ability to take texture, but also the precious quality, the sound and feel of it. 

• Where do you find your inspiration- who or what inspires you?
I like to make meaningful things, that aren't throwaway. I'm inspired by celebration, good times, enjoyment. Visually I like quirky, and inspiration comes from anywhere - I'm a bit of a magpie really.

• How do you translate your inspiration into a design?
The design happens in the studio.  We start making, then assess it, then fine tune and make again. Some ideas just work straight away while others take months or even years, and some never quite come right. Just because an idea is good, it doesn't mean it will work in real life.

• How do you structure your working day? 
First I spend an hour or so on emails and admin. Then get any orders ready to send out. Kim (my studio manager) and I usually talk over any issues of the day as we do this. Then we get on with the task/s of the day - making, glazing, preparing for shows etc. I often take some photos of new products in the middle of the day when the light is best. We process the orders and one of us heads to the post office for 5.45pm, then we cycle home. In the evening I usually do some more emailing / photoshop/ listing products on Etsy, notonthehighstreet or our own website.

• We all get creative block. How do you combat it?
Just get on with something - my latest motto is motivation follows action. Don't wait for inspiration - just get making!



• Share your favourite tool with us.
Our tools are pretty low key, but I do love my slab roller - I used to roll slabs out by hand and it really aggravated my RSI. I also adore my collection of stamps and toys that we use to texture the clay.

• Describe your dream creative space…
Ceramic studios are pretty messy places, but I'd love a big, really organised space with everything stashed away where it's meant to be (in another life maybe). 

• What lead to the moment that made you decide to sell your products professionally?
It just happened gradually, and I got more and more into it until it eventually became a business! 

• What are the obstacles you've encountered on your journey so far?
It's like a hurdling marathon really. Cash flow is a huge obstacle, as is balancing all the needs of the business. It's never a straight, smooth road, but that's the joy of it. I try to apply creative thinking to all the challenges and see them as projects rather than problems.

• The biggest high of your career so far is...
Being able to employ someone full time - it feels like a big achievement!

• What's the biggest lesson you've learnt on your creative journey so far & what advice would you give to a newbie?
Only do it if you can't imagine doing anything else - working for yourself is not for everyone, so follow your passion as it will sustain you in hard times! Also, follow the money. Lots of creative people want to make what they make and then try to sell it, but if you want to make a living out of it you have to work out where is the money in your business and exploit it. If I was starting out now I would start from a very different premise. Just make sure you can make enough profit to keep going.

• What's next for you?
We're currently expanding both our wedding and our corporate section (working on branded gifts and collaborative products). We're also working on more one-off items and have started doing more mosaic again as well.

• Take us on a crawl of your favourite shops. Where do you like to shop and why?  
I love my local farmers market (or any for that matter). I also love a good rummage through Portobello Road or any car boot sale.



Etsy is amazing for quirky buys, and my favourite shop for gifts is 'Something' although they have closed their bricks and mortar shop and are now exclusively on line. Oh, and Cockpit Arts open studios (twice a year) of course!

Something's online shop-a little gem indeed!

• What's on your bedside table?
A trinket box and dandelion clock paperweight that were my grandmother's, a gold necklace of my mum's, photos of my husband looking fly (and some of my mum, dad & kids too) and some pictures my godmother painted for me when I was little. Plus a table top set of drawers stuffed with pieces of jewellery I've collected over the years, and a supply of sci-fi comics and number puzzle books - way too much really!

• iPhone, blackberry or android? And why? 
iphone - it's got everything - the sat nav is amazing, plus I use the calendar, ipod, email, games, weather forecast, camera - way too dependent on it all really. 

• Complete the sentence: "If money were no object…"
I would travel a lot! And I'd love to set up a training scheme for young people to gain experience of creative business - not for profit of course!

• You're planning your last ever meal and celebrating with a dinner party. You have 6 seats around your table-who would you invite to join you and what would you serve up?  
Only six? My family alone would take up more than that! Gosh, well, my Mum, my Dad, my kids, my husband and me - that's six! If it had to be people I didn't know, that would be tough - I'm sure lots of people I admire wouldn't be such fun in the flesh!

Italian Fish Soup

At the moment I love rustic Italian food, so we'd eat hearty bowls of amazing olives, bread, tomatoes, fish and so on.

• Give us a song! Which one song helps you whistle while you work? 
We listen to talk radio quite a lot while we're working, but if I'm on my own in the studio I really like to listen to Al Green or Marvin Gaye - they mellow me right out. On Fridays we often have a Barry White afternoon.



(Sorry Jo-I couldn't help myself...it's the combination of soul and wet clay...)

Thanks Jo for all your fantastic advice and the insight into the world of ceramics. I'm very much looking forward to seeing some of your new designs very soon!

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