Mayco: Please tell us about yourself?
Elisha: I live in Swindon, England and am a married mum of 3. I’ve always been creative, for as long as I can remember, and have always had a taste for things that are a little different and unusual.
What drew you towards working with ceramics?
My younger sister took me to a paint-your-own café as a birthday treat a couple of years ago and really enjoyed it. I had recently moved away from home and had stopped working as a tattooist and started back in retail. I hated it and was desperate for a creative outlet. I also wasn’t used to having a boss. I was miserable. My sister suggested I give painting ceramics a-go as a new business venture. The piece I’d painted in the café had turned out well and I had some more ideas, so why not. I found a supplier close to me who offered to start up courses, where they give you the basic principles of running your own PYO business. I attended their 2-day course and the rest was history!
How would you describe your style of work, the materials you use and how you’re inspired?
My inspiration comes from everything that I like. I only make things that I would want myself, otherwise, there’s no fun in it! I have always had a fascination with skulls and all things creepy, so especially love the Mayco ‘Creepy’ silkscreens. My tattooing background also helps influence my designs and style.
Can you briefly describe your production process?
I don’t throw my own pieces, I’d love too but I just haven’t had the time to learn yet. So, for now, I use bought bisque. I give it a dust and a clean, stamp each piece, then paint it in the desired design. I tend to have set days, I’ll do a whole day making just the 1 design. If I’m using silkscreens that day, I’ll use 1 silkscreen on each piece, then the next silkscreen and so on. If I’m using lots of different colors, I’ll do the 1 color on each item, then the next color, etc.
I’ll leave everything to dry for a day or so, then dip glaze and fire.
How do Mayco glazes and products fit into your work?
I mainly use Mayco products. I love the silkscreens and have even had some of my own made up through the custom option on the website. All the colors I use are Mayco Stroke and Coat. My favorites are the matte glazes, crystal and element glazes. Ever time you use the crystal glazes, it’s like an experiment, you never know how they’ll turn out exactly.
Is there a universal concept or theme that you would like to retain as the foundation for all your future work?
I have developed a theme that I tend to stick with nearly each of my designs. People have come to recognize that something is my work because of the strange and quirky styles but also because I use a dripping effect with nearly every piece.
Can you tell us a little about your studio space? How important is this environment in the conceptualization of your work?
I actually started working from my kitchen. I never expected to be as busy as I currently am, hopefully, it stays that way. After a year I was so busy and had to move out of the kitchen and into a studio. It’s cold in the winter but It’s mine. It’s my own little space that is just for work and I find myself being more productive. I have no children to worry about messing up my routine or breaking anything. It’s modest, I haven’t had much time to make it my own yet, but it works. At the moment it’s just somewhere that I can shut myself away, enjoy my work and escape into my own little world. To me, it’s perfect.
What have been the most influential and career changing experiences you have had? What about these experiences was so important?
To be honest, I’m still so new to everything. I’ve only been doing this for just over 18 months, there’s still so much to learn. The biggest thing is to be asked to sell my pieces wholesale to a big company here in the UK and to be able to afford to move out of my kitchen and into a work unit.
Can you tell us about any future projects?
I have so many ideas about new designs and styles, I need to write them down! I’m hoping to also branch out from ceramics and create more of a ‘brand’, to do homeware and maybe more…
When you’re not making or promoting your work, what do you do for fun?
When I’m not working I’m with my husband and kids. We enjoy going out for dinner, to the cinema, rock climbing and spending time with other family members. We have 2 grumpy cats and a 9-week old crazy puppy who takes up a lot of our time too.