Vanessa Hogge's sculptures are instantly
recognizable. At once organic and ornate, her porcelain flower pieces are
striking in design and dexterous in their resolution. We caught up with her to
discuss her career path, creative process, and the influence of nature and
family in her work.
Could you tell us a bit about your career path?
I graduated from the Royal College of Art in 1989, a very long time ago! After a couple of years of making I gave up and became an interiors stylist for magazines like Homes & Gardens before becoming a graphic designer. I returned to ceramics 3 years ago after a 25 year break and haven't looked back! Life definitely begins at 50!
Where do you start when you’re creating a sculpture?
I let the porcelain guide me, I know its limitations and how far I can push it. Ceramics is not for the faint-hearted, so much can go wrong every step of the process so you have to take the rough with the smooth.
Your work seems very inspired by nature, where did this influence originate?
I'm no botanist but I've always loved flowers; the infinite possibilities of shape and form that they offer are so inspiring. My love of flowers and gardening definitely runs in my family. My mother and grandmother were incredible gardeners, I have such fond memories of long hot summers spent in my grandmother's garden in South Africa. I am also inspired by the way artists and designers have represented the flower over the last couple of centuries.
What does your typical working day look like?
My day starts early with an hour long walk from home to my central London studio which is my thinking and planning time. As I get closer I just can't wait to get there and start making! I share my studio with a few other ceramicists so we'll stop for lunch and eat together then it’s back to work until early evening when I lock up the studio and walk home! Of course every day is different depending on kiln firings and clay drying.
How do you think the industry has changed since you started?
Nothing has changed in the making of ceramics other than people inventing better and more brilliant ways of doing things and pushing boundaries. But there's been an incredible shift and revolution in the marketing of ceramics since I was making in the early 90s and that change is social media.
How important is social media in sharing your work?
Social media means I now have followers all over the globe and this is being reflected in my sales. I've shipped to New Zealand, Denmark and the US this week alone. I adore Instagram and taking photographs so it's never a chore keeping my page updated! I honestly don't know how we managed to spread the word and sell before the internet, email, smart phones and social media. Everything took so much longer and you were completely at the mercy of the stylists and editors of the interiors magazines, living in hope that they would spot you at a show and feature you.
Do you have a career moment you’re most proud of?
Last year I applied for and won the Radcliffe Trust/Cockpit Arts Craft Development Award which entitles me to a free studio space for a year at Cockpit Arts Holborn in central London. It's an incredible building full of creative practices and people which I'm finding so inspiring. If you can make it to an Open Studio event where every single one of the 170 makers open up their spaces to the public then it’s well worth a visit. The next event is 23-26 November 2017.
Which are your favourite pieces from the Great Plains Autumn/Winter collection?
The pieces I'm wearing today!
Freya Cullottes / Essential Classic Shirt
Last but not least, what’s next for 2017?
2017 is my busiest year yet with 6 more events to come in the Autumn and Winter. I'm working flat out at the moment towards those! See further information on my website.