For our second Maker Journal we’re in conversation with Ella Bua-In. We discuss with Ella her journey into ceramics and her artistic inspiration. Ella’s pieces are made slowly and thoughtfully by hand in her studio by the sea in Margate. At Objects & Finds we’re passionate about artisan makers and hand crafted ceramics and we love the fluid illustrations and painterly brush strokes that define the unique style of Ella’s pieces. Ella’s stoneware ceramics are all painted by hand with her expressive mark making - each piece entirely unique.
Ella's ethos echoes our aims and values at Objects & Finds "I want to celebrate craft and the making process, to focus on slow living and decrease our intake of unsustainable, mass-produced products". Ella Bua-In ceramics are collectable, enduring statement pieces to love.
Tell us about you and your experience/work and your journey into ceramics.
I live by the sea in Margate, Kent UK, and I work as a potter full-time from my home studio.
I first started potting after a friend encouraged me to join the pottery studio he was a member of. I had done a tiny bit of (bad) potting at school but had gone on to study fine art at Central St Martins, London, where I focused on large abstract paintings. After CSM I felt at odds with the fine art world and wanted to find a way to make that reconnected me with craft and people, so, at my friend’s suggestion, I signed up as a member of Turning Earth Studios. I taught myself how to pot by watching YouTube videos and others around me, everything was very wonky. Although things end up less wonky now, I realised that I enjoy making more when everything is imperfect and unique.
That was four or five years ago and i’ve been working as a potter full-time for the last three years.
What’s the ethos behind the brand?
I believe that art should be affordable, and accessible to all. I want to celebrate craft and the making process, to focus on slow living and decrease our intake of unsustainable, mass-produced products.
How did Ella Bua-In ceramics emerge? What was the key starting point?
I first started selling my ceramics at craft markets in London and I continued to do that regularly until the first lockdown in 2020. Being forced to take a step back and reflect was one of the best things that could have happened to me, I’ve had time to think about what I really want to make and also develop my style. I feel incredibly grateful for the growth and stability of my business, I can’t wait to see where the next few years take it.
What’s a typical day in the studio for Ella Bua-In?
A typical day for me begins at 10am when I either sit down at my desk or go out into my studio. In the studio I’ll usually split my day into two jobs, so for example glazing in the morning and throwing in the afternoon. Then I usually spend an hour or so in the evening working on admin before finishing at 6pm. Of course, some days I have to spend the whole day working on emails and packing orders, and often in busier periods I’ll work until much later in the evening (one of the problems with working from home!). I always try to take as much of the weekend off as possible though.
What draws you in in terms of aesthetics? Who or what inspires you?
I’ve always loved the colour blue and all the shades it comes in which I think is quite obvious in my work! I’m inspired by a whole range of different things from classical styles of Chinese brush painting to more whimsical, colourful illustrations. I also love ceramics that are reflective of the natural world in their shapes and textures.
What brand, artist or maker inspires you, who would it be and why?
The artist Cy Twombly has been a great inspiration to me from back when I was painting, it was actually his cloud paintings that sparked the idea for my cloud mugs. His work is both free and abstract yet it also has such a strong narrative to it. Seeing other creative’s work on Instagram is also very influential on what I do, we’re lucky to be able to share ideas and images so easily.
What’s the best thing about your job?
That I get to work for myself and from home. It’s very liberating to be able to make a living from what I love.
What’s your idea of the perfect staycation in the UK, where would you go?
I love to go to places where you can walk and see truly sublime nature, where you’re reminded of how small you are in comparison to the world. We went up to the Isle of Skye last Autumn and the landscape there was amazing, we visited the beaches on the north-eastern side of the island that are edged by pure black cliffs dating back to the dinosaurs.
View the complete Ella Bua-In collection in her Maker profile.