London-based ceramicist Billy Lloyd has been making quite a name for himself since setting up his own studio in 2011. A graduate of Camberwell College of Art, Billy spent five years following education honing his craft through apprenticeships with local practitioners, improving his throwing skills and refining his design sensibilities. As a result his aesthetic is immensely polished for a relatively young designer, each piece handled with masterful care and attention.
Billy specialises in thrown tableware; functional articles with a simple, refined colour palette throughout that he produces by hand in meticulously detailed small runs. His work is simple in appearance, but belies an impressive understanding of materials and process that mark him out as a practitioner of exceptional skill.
Where do you work?
My studio is based at Cockpit Arts in Deptford, south east London. I moved here in 2011 having won the Cockpit Arts award, which entitled me to a year’s free studio space and business mentoring. One of Cockpit’s great strengths is its cross-pollination of craft disciplines, opinions and imaginations ensuring a dynamic hive of creativity.
How does your working day start?
I prefer an early start so like to get to my studio by 8.30am. Once I’m in, I make a bowl of porridge and catch up on my correspondence. Following this, a swift tidy up from the previous day before some clay preparation, which helps to bring me up to speed with the physical mindset of making. I then devise a making-schedule to keep me on track for the day ahead and impending deadlines.
How do you work and how has that changed?
The training I acquired during my Ceramics BA at Camberwell and subsequent apprenticeships with Lisa Hammond (2006-7) and Julian Stair (2007-11) instilled in me a craft-based approach to ceramics. I am perhaps best known for my thrown porcelain tableware, however, I have recently ventured into manufacture. This transition has occurred quite naturally and in a manner whereby I have managed to maintain a material and process-led approach to design, which does not neglect my origins as a craftsman. There is a common misconception that the ceramic tableware industry is somewhat anti-craft – that is not the case. It is fair to say that machines carry out some innovative processes; however, there is an abundance of hand-skill to be found in designing and prototyping for batch production.
Where would we find you when you’re not at work?
The newly refurbished Ceramics Galleries at the V&A are awe-inspiring. A quick glance in any direction leads to hundreds (often thousands) of years of innovation, creativity and skill. Right now, it’s my favourite place to be.
Would you intern for yourself?
Yes! Having been fortunate enough to complete two apprenticeships, I am well aware of the effort needed to forge a successful working relationship that is mutually beneficial and fun. An interesting element to my studio is the fortunate fact that there are usually a number of self-initiated or collaborative projects in progress at any one time. Each project involves a number of different processes from designing and making to negotiating and marketing. Every day presents a different set of questions and answers.