Every day, our community grows in unexpected and delightful ways. For our Fresh Shops series, sellers who have been on Etsy for a handful of months or are waiting for those first few sales introduce themselves. Here’s a warm welcome to all our newbies!
My name is Charlotte Mei, and I live and work in South London. I share studio space in a Peckham warehouse with six friends I met while studying for my illustration degree. While they are predominantly illustrators and animators, I use the space to make ceramics, which I then tentatively transport to various kilns around the city. I hope to have my own little kiln one day.
Growing up in Bristol, my mixed cultural background influenced my visual development. I was brought up by a Chinese mother, and Eastern ways of thinking, customs and nuances have an almost mystical air in my imagination; they also serve as a source of comfort. This cultural crossover led to my interest in Eastern ceramics. I find delicate Japanese tea bowls and cobalt scenes on Chinese tableware incredibly moving, and I sometimes refer to these inspirations in my work.
A lot of the feedback I receive mentions that my work is “cute” or “adorable”; perhaps my work can be funny to look at, but I never made anything I thought was cute. I do wonder whether I fetishize childish comforts and funny faces, but I believe that the candid and emotional are equal in validity to more rational and conclusive ideals.
Ceramics is a lengthy process, reliant on trial and error, but also a very rewarding one. Although I was trained as an illustrator, I became totally obsessed with ceramics after taking an evening class. I became increasingly preoccupied with experimenting with form and how, as an illustrator, I could use clay as a medium by which to draw. My passion became equally weighted in form as in decoration, and the last few months of my degree I made hundreds of plates, figures, and pots, which I fear will now sit in my studio for the rest of my days.
My only wish for the future is that I am able to keep making. I feel incredibly privileged to have been able to do so thus far. In our ready-made world it is important to recognise the value of creativity, and to engage in conversation around the visual.
Photographs by Tom Mclean.