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Inigo & The New Craftsmen: pots of fun with Freya Bramble-Carter and Pallas Kalamotusis

In the final instalment of our partnership with The New Craftsmen, we meet an artistic duo embracing the serendipitous outcomes of their collaboration

Words
Nick Carvell
Inigo & The New Craftsmen: pots of fun with Freya Bramble-Carter and Pallas Kalamotusis

It all started on a winter’s day in January. Ceramicist Freya Bramble-Carter had started hosting children’s ‘Clay Clubs’ in her father’s studio at Kingsgate Workshops in north-west London, but she found that plenty of adults started coming along to get a step-by-step introduction to the world of pottery. One of those adults was artist Pallas Kalamotusis, artist and founder of interior design firm Studio Krokalia. “When I get people in my class the same age as me it’s quite nice. And I found her really funny,” chuckles Freya. “I used to laugh with her all the time!”

“Initially, we were just sort of around each other in the classes for about six months,” says Pallas. “Then, one day she came to me with these pots and asked me whether I wanted to paint on them. I thought she was joking. Her work is amazing and I’m like a child with a paintbrush. But she wasn’t joking. So we gave it a go and made something we really liked. That was it.”

That event not only resulted in a beautiful vase, but also a long-term collaboration between two artists on a new line of ceramics for The New Craftsmen. Filled with joy, colour and unexpected shapes, the pieces the duo produce have a gloriously infectious sense of spontaneity and fun. In large part, this is a result of the pair’s creative process – like an epic songwriting partnership, bouncing off each other’s energy.

“We start with the end vision and work backwards,” says Freya, who grew up in London, (with a minor detour to Somerset for school), and undertook art degrees at both the Brit School and Chelsea College of Arts. “I’ll get a lump of clay and stretch it into a form. Once we have that, Pallas will start designing the shapes.”

“When it comes to our process, there’s a lot of chatting,” says Pallas, who studied for an MA in art history before founding Studio Krokalia in 2014. “I love that we can talk about something that seems like a ridiculous idea and it just materialises at the touch of her fingertips. Freya is very good at not having a plan, but that non-plan ends up feeling like it’s been well planned.”

Of course, this sometimes leads to unexpected results, such as a colossal ceramic egg the pair recently worked on. Originally intended to be adorned with eye-popping red detailing, those features actually came out of the kiln in a dark browny-black. But that’s all part of the fun.

“This egg could have been bright, but instead it’s a much deeper, darker piece,” says Pallas. “It’s more over-the-top in a silly, ridiculous, royal way. And that’s a great part of ceramics.” Freya picks up the thread: “That’s the thing with glazing, you can’t see the end result as you apply it like, say, painting on a canvas,” she says. “There’s an acceptance for both of us that we have to surrender to the process.” “And more than accept it,” adds Pallas, “you have to enjoy it.”

It’s clear the two have enormous respect for one another, but more than that, they’re having the time of their lives working together too. “There’s a lack of pressure on the creative process. It’s really liberating, as we’re just having fun with it,” says Pallas, when asked to explain what she enjoys about collaborating with Freya.

“I want our work to set an example for other people in their respective fields and show that we should be making ourselves happy in our day-to-day work environment,” says Freya. “Because this is our life, you know? We want our pieces to be doing as much good for others and the world as they do for us. We like to think of our work as a kindness exchange.” That’s not so potty, really.

 

Further Reading

Shop Freya & Pallas’ new collection at The New Craftsmen

Freya Bramble-Carter

Studio Krokalia 

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