(Firdaws outside Trellick Tower)
In this week's Meet the Maker we talk to ceramic artist Firdaws Clotaire of Luna’s Pottery.
A true local, Firdaws grew up in and around Ladbroke Grove, spending time with her father on his Portobello market stall. She now calls Trellick Tower home, West London’s Brutalist icon and home to Goldfinger HQ.
From her studio, she creates handcrafted ceramics inspired by her Algerian and and Guadeloupean heritage, celebrating beauty and functionality of form.
We caught up with Firdaws to find out about her influences and how she finds flow in her practice.
Could you introduce your practice/ craft/ work...
I am a ceramic artist who is passionate about sustainability, usability and beauty in the pots I make.
The name Luna’s Pottery is inspired by my Great Great Grandma who was a Kabyle village healer. Luna’s Pottery takes pride in bringing you beautifully handcrafted ceramics with healing properties. Each vessel is carefully designed with love and care and is a celebration of all women. The colours I use are carefully chosen and inspired by my Kabyle and Guadeloupean heritage.
How long have you called Trellick Tower home?
For about a year now but Ladbroke Grove itself has always been a home to me. Living here brings back memories of my dad who used to run a stall in Portobello back in the day.
Fun fact. I am not the biggest fan of heights so found it daunting living in such a tall tower close to the top floor. It took some getting used to being so high up, but now I love it!
If you had to sum up Luna’s Pottery in one, core purpose, what would it be?
Its core purpose is to inspire, to heal, and bring joy to others.
I like to think that my work brings joy to my customers because I make every product by hand. It warms my heart and brings me joy when I see people using my work, and I hope it does the same for them.
What is your vision for Luna’s Pottery?
I aim to have a site up by the end of the year and continue to sell, grow and eventually be working on Luna's Pottery full time.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
Consistency is the key to success. I am still aiming to live by this!
What 3 things are always close at hand when you're creating in the studio?
Apart from clay, a jug of water, a sponge and a wire. They are the basis on creating anything out of clay.
What's playing in the studio when you're creating?
Because I share the space I work from, I work in silence most of the time. I like to really focus on what I make and just be present in the moment and I find silence/sounds of nature most of the time the best soundtrack as I connect with the clay more. Because I get so into it, I don't feel the need to listen to music; I kind of jam with the clay. That said, if I were to play a little something whilst making it would definitely be Kool and the gang or Earth, Wind and Fire.
What piece of work are you most proud of and why?
I am most proud of one of my sculpture pieces. I haven't yet named it but it was made during lockdown and I really poured my heart, soul and feelings into the piece. It truly represents what I was feeling at the time which was a mixture of bewilderment, uncertainty, curiosity, love and spirituality.
If you could learn a new craft, what would you choose?
There are so many things I want to learn; from Spanish to the violin. However, if I were to choose a craft, it would be jewellery making and also improve my sewing. I just want to get better at what I do, then we shall see.
What is an innovation, change or design which inspired/excited you most recently?
That's a tough one. I'm inspired by so many things. Because I'm into ceramics I have recently become obsessed with Taiwanese/Chinese teapots. They are hand built to an exceptional level and look absolutely beautiful. The teapot masters make it look so easy but a lot of thought goes into making it functional and beautiful. They require specific tools, I will eventually get round to making one!
Shop the full collection of Luna's Pottery by Firdaws Clotaire here.