Monday, July 29, 2013

Makers Part 9

The history of ceramic beads goes back to prehistorical times. Clay was a common material
that migratory tribes used to make ceramic beads and objects to adorn and protect themselves as well as trade with them. My next maker, Petra, based in Devon in England, draws on the primitive in material and form and makes unique and original hand crafted ceramic beads that hark straight back to our natural world, a world of fire and earth. Her exciting range can be seen at her etsy shop Scorched Earth.

Can you tell me a little about your background?

I now live in North Devon in the UK with my partner, and fluffy old cat. My father was a fine artist, and my Mum was a ceramics teacher at the beginning of her career, so my childhood was a very culturally rich one. 

What do you make?

I now make original, ceramic art beads that are generally used in jewellery, but also in knitwear of late, which has opened up a new avenue and more possibilities.

What attracted you to this particular medium? How did you get started?

In my previous job, I used to teach basic jewellery making to clients with acute mental health problems. I left that to move down here to Devon, and opened my first Etsy shop selling finished jewellery with my own ceramics. I don't actually know how I became attracted to this medium, but looking at it now, it seems as though it was inevitable really, given my background

How long have you been making?

I was making rather different pieces in my old job for quite a few years, and now full time for the last two and a half years, so I'm still a beginner really.


How does your practice fit in with your everyday life? Do you have your own studio space and when do you work and where?

Ha ha, it's more a case of how my life fits into my work really! I'm still working towards getting my studio space completed, so I've taken over our spare room, as well as the garage! My hours of work are pretty full really, and I generally do around 80-85 hours a week.

What are the best and worst aspects about working with this medium? 

Hmm, well, I suppose the uncertainty of what will greet me when I open my kiln lid, could be seen as a negative, but then, the same aspect is more often the cause of unexpected, happy accidents! But, it's quite a costly practice to set up in terms of materials, equipment, electricity costs - and time!! I love that there are so many variables though, in terms of different clays, glazes, and techniques, so there's always room for new experiments!

Who or what inspires you?

I'm so lucky to be living here, as it's an area of outstanding natural beauty, with rugged coastlines and deep wooded valleys, and this guides a lot of my work, I think. But, I also work quite collaboratively with a lot of my customers too, and I try to create new and interesting pieces that will fit in with their styles as well.

Do you get creative blocks? If so, how do you deal with it?

When I've occasionally had a break from working, I can get a little stuck, but for the most part I've got more ideas than I have time or kiln space for! 

What other mediums would you love to explore? 

I've yet to tire of having my hands in mud, and feel I'm only just scratching the surface really, but I often include other materials in my pieces as well, to create varying effects and finishes.

What do you hope to do next with your practice?

I'll be focussing more on Raku firing next, which I'm feeling very excited about.

Thank you Petra! Are you a maker interested in telling us your story? Please contact won't hurt a bit!


  1. Very cool!

  2. I am such a fan of Petra, thank you for this look into her work!! :)

  3. Great peek into Petra's studio. I'm a big fan of her work.

  4. Huge Petra fan here as well. I'm glad to know more about her. Thanks!

  5. Great personality, great work - what a combination! It's the best you can get!! Thank you for this peek into Petra's magic!! <3

  6. Delightful to learn a little more about Petra! Recently fell in love with her work and acquired a collection of it to fondle in person. Petra is a gem!

  7. I am a big fan of Petra's work, I started to buy her a little pieces when she was selling her finished jewelry I am so happy to use her work into my own creation. Petra is a great and wonderful person to work with and . I am very pleased to get to know her a little more today. Thanks you

  8. Petra is the best of the best! Using her pieces in my own work, elevates it to another level. Thoroughly enjoyed this glimpse into her creative process. Thank you for sharing this!

  9. Oh you guys!!!!!!!!! You warm my heart, and make me sooooo happy - and all ablush!!!
    Thank you very much, Eva, for offering me this opportunity, even if it did get me in a flap!!
    Big Lurve.

  10. I just bought a batch of goodies from Petra! I'm finding them so different and inspiring! Thanks for this wonderful feature! (And thank you, Petra!)

  11. Petra, you look so cute in your 'flap.' Hehe. Thanks for sharing a little of your working space with us. I really enjoyed reading & I love the pieces I own that were created by her hands!

  12. i love her also....
    such a sweetie pie.

  13. excellent feature and such lovely beads

  14. I love Petra's work, she's so talented! Thank you both for this interesting post!

  15. Awesome! She makes me wish I did jewelry!