Dor & Tan
I came across this beautiful ceramics brand when I was having my daily dose of caffeine at Origin. Each piece seemed to be perfectly crafted, the smoothness and tenderness almost reminds me of the seaside.. which I later discovered this family-owned ceramic studio is actually located in one of the most beautiful seaside town in England - Cornwall.
How did it all get started with Dor & Tan? What was the catalyst that sparked your interest?
Dor and Tan came about as a family project, based on a shared passion for well-crafted objects produced in an ethical and eco-friendly way. All of us at the studio are keen adventurers with a love of sailing, surfing, and walking. Living in such a beautiful area, we want to do our best to keep it looking that way.
Our designs are born straight from the raw talent of our head ceramicist Sharron Page Stocks; she has been wedging, forming and firing clay for almost 45 years now. The completed studio team consists of Peter, Matt and Viola. They all have diverse and complementary skills including design, physics, chemistry and illustration (not to mention 40 years business experience), working collaboratively we each provide something essential to the studio. With all this bountiful expertise, we just couldn't let it go to waste, especially in our beautiful seaside location in St Ives, Cornwall.
What's the design philosophy for Dor & Tan and what would you describe as your everyday muse?
When designing an object, our aesthetic is influenced by form, texture, and colour. At the core of our design philosophy is the Cornish landscape. It permeates everything we do.
Our forms draw from traditional Korean pottery as well as marine architecture, mirroring the curvature of boat hulls to create simple and honest shapes with a focus on beauty and functionality. The textures of our work provide the look and feel of the piece but also hugely influence the usability of the object. Our colour palette comes straight from the Cornish Landscape, from the sandy tones of the clay to the sea foam glazes. We like to bring a mix of traditional and modern elements into one final form.
As a studio, we aim to create objects which are beautiful and have a definite purpose. Pieces which don't take up space but earn their position in your life.
What's the everyday life for ceramist like?
Sharron (Dor & Tan's head ceramicist): "My daily routine is dependant on what stage I am at in the process of making. When designing new pieces, I hunt and gather inspiration from the coastline, looking at the colour, texture and formation of rocks (and the sea for a palette of colours) as well as the vibrant foliage of the Cornish Landscape. When making, my morning is dedicated to ensuring I am in the correct state of mind to create. At the studio, we largely use kick wheels; a traditional style powered by the ceramicist's leg. These wheels help to break down the barrier between artist and medium; the process of making becomes a full body, kinetic, and rhythmic extension of the maker.
But it's also about knowing when isn't a good day to go in the studio. I've learnt to accept that you can't be at your best every day and sometimes taking a small breather is the right thing to do. If your mind is not in the correct place, this will be reflected in your work. Yesterday, I didn't sleep as well as I normally do, dropped my glasses, broke my watch, and got caught in 3 hail storms. My flow just wasn't right to create, so it was a day of what I call 'studio housekeeping' (tidying, sending emails, recycling clay, wedging, and generally preparing for the next day). Ceramic isn't like other mediums; you can't paint over a mark you dislike, you can't rub out a pencil line; if you mess up, you have to start again. That's why having that flow and calm to my daily routine is so important."
Cornwall is such a beautiful place. Does being in Cornwall complement/affect the style of your work?
Everything about our studio lives and breathes the beauty of Cornwall. We wouldn't be who we are without it. Anyone with a love of the outdoors and nature should give it a try, and don't forget to come visit us at our studio. We'd love to see you!