Meet The Maker - Studio Bu
Vicky and John, from Studio Bu, moved from Staffordshire to the island of Sanday in spring 2017. Both are successful ceramicists and lecturers in their own right, exhibiting globally in Japan, South America, Scandinavia…and now Kirkwall! We feel honoured to sell the beautiful Studio Bu ceramics in our store. We had a chat with them to find out more about their inspirations and the process of making their striking mugs and bowls.
What is the Studio Bu philosophy?
Our philosophy is that each piece is individual and unique.
How did Studio Bu begin?
In recent years we worked together on a teaching project in a craft cooperative in Brazil. The Mission 'Ramacrisna' is well known in Brazil for its work with children and adolescents in vulnerable situations in Betim. During our two-week stay we worked at the Futurarte Cooperative based at Ramacrisna, a craft cooperative producing ceramics and objects made from recycled materials.
Our brief was to teach skills, introduce design and surface decoration with an aim to raise the quality of products made by the craftspeople. We chose the cup as a starting point, John teaching throwing and Vicky introducing design and pattern using a range of decorative techniques. The resulting cups we made from our demonstrations - the combined effort of John’s throwing and Vicky’s decoration - made us realise that there was potential in working collaboratively. Very soon after, we started our new venture...
John throws the cups on the potter wheel and Vicky decorates, painting the cups with natural metallic oxides. But, they explain, ‘there is very much a joined up thinking at all stages of the process, from initial design of the forms through to pattern and glazing.’
Tell us about your workspace.
We work from home in a studio that we converted from a byre. The workshop is a shared space: we each have our own designated work area with some crossover for certain activities. We are surrounded by fields and sounds of nature, with the sea just in our sights, a perfect, tranquil and inspiring setting. We never tire of the ever-changing sky, landscape and the palette of colours Orkney offers on a big scale but also close up details too, particularly found on the shore.
Beautiful, thank you!
At The Longship we pride ourselves in supporting other independent designers and craftspeople from across the isles. Much like the Studio Bu philosophy, we believe each piece in our store has its own unique story: it starts with the people who make it, and the place it comes from. It continues when we find it, select it, and bring it to our store. And the end of the story…is in your hands, and in your home. Instead of buying in to mass market products we should seek to support local artists and craftspeople like Vicky and John, so they can continue their own stories.