At this time of year, the glow of candlelight is a lovely thing. I have a set of delicate porcelain tea light holders lined up on our mantelpiece and I love the ritual of lighting them on a dark winter’s night. Each light is pierced with a tiny pinprick design, the patterns of light that scatter across the room have the quality of fairy lights and fireflies. The random mixture of her designs also appeals.
The tea light holders are individually hand made by ceramicist and fellow studio holder Anna Perring of Luna Lighting.
Each one bears the maker’s mark, with the throwing lines still clearly visible.
Anna picks out the patterns with a variety of found and made tools
and then fires them at 1,260 degrees so that the porcelain vitrifies and becomes especially translucent and tactile. They’re then glazed in a glossy off-white.
Anna also makes beautiful tableware.
I asked Anna to tell us what it was like running her own ceramics business.
Why do you do what you do?
I originally worked in publishing, but when I had my second child a friend persuaded me to do his ceramic’s course. This led to a City and Guilds degree and gradually over the next 5 years I did less and less publishing and more and more ceramics. I moved to Cockpit Arts and I began to make a living. I love working for myself, being a creative business surrounded by other creative people.
What gets you out of bed in the morning?
My alarm clock and coffee.
What’s the best thing about your work?
Designing, particularly those light bulb moments.
What inspires those moments?
Anything and everything.
The tea lights I create are a perfect, tiny canvas and I love finding new images that work within it. Often ideas come from requests. Someone asked for a birthday cake, for example, and it has become a favourite.
At the moment I’m working on a beautiful flamingo for a customer. While this hedgehog was inspired by a friend’s son’s pet!
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Enjoy it, do your best, relax. Namiko, my studio manager is a brilliant example of this; even under serious pressure she is smiling and cheerful.
Which book would you rescue from a fire?
A book of photographs of my children as little ones.
Like William Morris, we believe that you should “have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.” What every day object can you not live without?
My porcelain coffee mug
Which piece of music would you pass on to the next generation?
Leonard Cohen, Hallelujah.
Which is your favourite design from Thornback & Peel and why?
I love the jelly mould. It’s printed on the apron I wear every day in the studio.
Fine ivory white thrown porcelain tealights with an ever expanding range of delicately pierced patterns that allow the light to shine through. All handmade in Anna’s studio at Cockpit Arts in Central London.