Lately I’ve met a lot of interesting people, both through this blog and getting out there and just chatting. One of these is South African ceramics designer Victoria Mae.
Originally from South Africa, Victoria has lived in London for nine years. Like many of us expats she traveled a lot before settling in properly to her career and as a result she’s been lucky to incorporate her travels into her work. Her designs are usually inspired by imagery, patterns, colours and textures that she has encountered on her travels. She then reinterprets these in her own way, the result being some gorgeous ceramics that you can find on both Not on the High Street and Etsy.
She said to me that the diversity found in every new place, along with the similarities between cultures, often means that there is scope for multicultural designs and patterns not belonging to any set place or country but rather a few possibilities. She finds that London inspires her because of those overlaps being found in such a multi-cultural city; as I’ve said many times, you can find anything from anywhere in the world in this city.
Victoria launched her business in London having worked as a textile designer in South Africa. When she originally moved here she decided to go back to university and in the process did a degree in surface design at the University of Arts London before starting her business. It was through a work placement at Royal Stafford in Stoke on Trent that she realised she could combine her two greatest passions: tea (a girl after my own heart there!) and design.
You can find her designs online but she also sells in a craft collective in Hertfordshire and is experimenting with a few other retail outlets such as a collective on Carnaby Street, Camden Lock and a few vintage craft fairs.
Victoria sent me a beautiful bone china jug recently. I love the very well thought out design and style of it – quirky yet still quite classic. I’m waiting for a day when my lounge is clear of baby gyms and bouncy seats for a few hours so I can have friends over for tea and use it as a milk jug but in the meantime am looking forward to using it as a vase in what is now my home office (a tiny corner of the lounge) and am considering buying a set of these Moroccan mugs as I’m tired of Mr Man and I serving people tea in cups from the annual Easter Egg bargain hunt (we even have one that says “I’m a Gleek”)…
As you might have noticed from my post on Michaela’s amazing cakes, I’m feeling quite inspired by people who have launched their own businesses lately. Ages ago I bought the book written by the founders of Not on the High Street and am out there talking to people who have launched their own – I’m not sure if it’s that I’m just interested in their stories or if it’s in self interest but either way, it’s brilliant to see creative expats making a real go of it here. They can only add to the brilliance that is this city.
Have you been inspired by anyone interesting lately or set up yourself as a business in London?
*Victoria Mae sent me a bone china jug for review purposes, however, I was not oblidged to write about her work. I was interested in her company from the perspective of a fellow expat who also loves tea.