Sue Pryke

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Who is Sue Pryke Ceramicist?

Sue’s background is firmly rooted in the crafts, having started my journey into ceramics at a small pottery in Lincolnshire in the mid 1980’s.  Learning the skills of production throwing; sometimes digging the clay, then wedging and weighing the clay to throw it all the same size and shape. She found the challenge of this precision absorbing and the repetitive nature satisfying. She makes sure it was this early interest in repetitive forms that sparked an interest in volume production and the need to have everything the same. Sue now has her own studio in Leicestershire.

Sue Pryke’s history

After graduation, her first job was at Wedgwood as a shape designer, guided by the design team to understand the breadth of ceramic form, from how a plate should sit on the table to how a spout should pour. And taught by the highly skilled model makers to understand volume and the transition from 2D to 3D and to visualise those forms into fine plaster models.  A wonderful place to begin a career in ceramics, steeped in history and with such a rich heritage to draw on daily.

She worked both as an in-house designer and as a freelance designer for over 20 years for retailers and manufacturers, and she still uses the skills she learnt in her first job and prefers to work directly with materials, making the initial prototypes so that she can naturally adapt the forms as the shapes are being made.

She is inspired by the everyday and the ordinary; material qualities, textures, and the interaction we have with objects. Small details and preferences which reflect the intuitive decision making we all make on a daily basis when choosing what cup to take from the cupboard for a cup of tea.

About the Mr. and Mrs. Collection

Together with her husband John and his firm Wild + Wood, we created the Mr & Mrs Collection to produce a variety of things that sit comfortably in the house, that aren’t uncomfortable, daring, or difficult to use, but are familiar, fluent, and seat well.

The parallels between our concepts were startling and unintended, but we soon realised how well our work fits together when it’s stripped down and simple.

In addition to teapots, cups, and latte mugs, her line now includes dinnerware, vases, and even lamp covers.

Her art also includes terracotta and concrete, in addition to porcelain. She also collaborated with John on the latter project. 

What is slip casting ceramics?

Slipcasting is a fantastic method for creating ceramics. It is an industrial technique in which each shape is created in a plaster mould and may be replicated over and over again using liquid clay. Sue uses this method of production to ensure that each shape is uniform, but nevertheless, it still necessitates a significant amount of hand finishing, since each piece must be hand cut and sponged to produce clean, rounded edges.

It’s a specialised method and one of the most difficult ways to make ceramics; because the clay is liquid, it has a high water content that must be removed before fire, and it warps more than other clays and is famously difficult to retain in shape during the manufacturing process.

Summary of Sue Pryke

Sue’s roots are in the crafts, and she began her ceramics career in the mid-1980s at a tiny Lincolnshire pottery. Finding out how to throw in a production setting; excavating the clay and then wedging and weighing it to get uniform results.

At Wedgwood as a shape designer after graduation, Sue was guided by the design team to grasp the breadth of ceramic form, such as how plates should sit on tables and the proper way to pour from a spigot. It was also taught by the extremely experienced model builders, who helped students comprehend volume and the transition from 2D to 3D, as well as how to translate those shapes into detailed plaster models.

More than two decades as an in-house designer and a freelance designer for retailers and manufacturers later, she still employs the abilities she learned in her first position.

Material characteristics, textures, and the way we interact with objects are all sources of inspiration for Sue. We all make instinctive decisions on a regular basis when deciding which cup of tea to grab from the cabinet. These small nuances and preferences reflect that.

Moreover, Sue owns The Mr. & Mrs. Collection, a joint venture with her husband John and their firm Wild + Wood. After working in different design professions for a while, they decided to return to developing their own collections and set out to design a collection of items that are familiar, fluent, and easy to use in the house without being uncomfortable, daring, or difficult to use.

Sue also served as a panellist on the third season of The Great Pottery Throwdown as a judge.