Meet the Maker: Sophie Fletcher | The Chuffed Store Meet the Maker: Sophie Fletcher | The Chuffed Store

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Who are you, where are you from and what do you make? 

I’m Sophie, I’m from Cambridge and I make pottery. My work draws from medieval and folk textures and rhythms. I mostly throw pots on a kick wheel, but occasionally will make handbuilt pottery. Each pot is different and I’m very happy with that! 


What inspires you? 

I realised about a year ago that the reason I’m so attracted to medieval archaeology, especially the pottery, is because to me it embodies a sense of freedom to express outside of the constraints of perfection. Somehow the texture and overall finish to medieval pottery tells that much more of a story. It’s tactile and beautiful, and that’s what I really look for when making my pots. 


What is your workshop luxury? 

Aside from having my very own shed studio in my garden, I would say my workshop luxury is a barstool – it’s so much more comfortable to sit although for some reason I keep standing! 


Your favourite studio lunch? 

I tend to get properly sucked into making pottery when I’m in there so I often forget to stop for lunch, but if I do then it has to be something light because I do a lot of bending over the wheel and that wouldn’t be good after a big lunch – plus I get so sleepy after a big meal! 


Best spot in the British Isles? 

Yorkshire. At the moment…Haworth is on my mind. Places with a literary connection really interest me, and there’s something extra immersive about visiting the moors by Haworth and walking in the Bronte sisters’ footsteps. For a similar reason I would say Winchester as well for the Jane Austen connection. I went to university there and for part of my honeymoon, so it’s quite a special place for me.  


What do you find challenging about being a creative? 

I find balancing a day job and a creative business quite difficult – keeping the motivation going once you’ve spent the first half of the day glued to the laptop doing completely unrelated admin. Making pottery can be quite physically taxing so sometimes it’s lovely to have a break. Though it can be hard to get up and go again, once I do I rediscover what I love about it, and how healing clay can be. 


What would you like to learn next? 

Fellow potters keep suggesting raku firing but if I’m honest, I’m so frightened of being near fire! Once I’ve got myself an electric kiln, learning how to use it would be good. Outside of pottery, I really want to try jewellery-making and rag rug making. 


How do you let your hair down? 

Red wine on a Friday night. Wandering around a nice village and finding a pub or café to sit and appreciate it all with a cup of coffee. I’m also on a life-long quest to find the perfect vegan cookie recipe. 


What are you listening to at the moment? 

PJ Harvey or some relaxing classical music playlist for decorating and glazing to. I’m enjoying Basia Giewont’s music – I recommend it if you like traditional Polish folk/mountaineer singing with modern music. Incidentally both Basia Giewont and PJ Harvey are bringing out new music this year! 


What makes you feel well chuffed? 

When people show a genuine interest in my work and make me feel special. Working in my garden, thinking about which plants I want to buy next, finishing a book and feeling like it was something new, having a really good breakfast. 


What is your fave recipe? 

My mum used to make a sort of microwave stew with marrow and onion…and also her zupa ogórkowa (cucumber soup). Marta Dymek has a recipe for it in her book ‘Jadłonomia po polsku’. Both very good comfort foods. 


Who is your biggest inspiration?  

People who make time for others – in my family there’s always something being organised to do together. My dad is always on the go learning from Youtube how to fix all sorts of mechanical and non-mechanical things, my mum was so giving and open-hearted, open-minded, dedicated to her work. I’ve only lately appreciated these things and tried to apply them to my own way of thinking and living. That’s a big thing inspiring me. But speaking creatively, I would say Paula Greif because she’s the potter I stumbled across online who suddenly struck a chord with me and inspired me to take up pottery classes in the first place – since then I’m always seeking the freedom of expression.

What is your fave item on The Chuffed Store?  

Kano and Ritual Studio’s work bares exactly the kind of textures and nuances that inspire me. If I had to pick just one item, it’d be the sweet grass braid ring by Ritual Studio.

Spring summer autumn or winter?  

Autumn. My mum was born in autumn, all good things happen in autumn.


Question from the previous Meet the Maker: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

When I was starting out trying to sell things online I was conflicted because I really wanted to keep the pieces I loved most, and so I ended up only listing pieces I wasn’t fussed about and not getting any customers. A friend said to me that I should be selling pieces that I can actually get behind. It’s not always just the product you’re making that matters to people, it’s your authenticity and genuine enthusiasm too.


And, lastly, one question you would like us to ask the next Meet the Maker….? 

If you could choose any view from your studio window, what would it be?