Meet the maker: Part 2 - Mud + Water
Describing their style as “Victorian high tea with a splash of Tim Burton darkness”, Lynn Parsons and Gaëlle Curtin are the mums who met at the school gate and, bonding over a shared love of ceramics, decided to launch their own pottery business - Cambridgeshire’s Mud + Water.
Literally a kitchen-table enterprise, their stoneware pieces are made at Gaëlle’s house, “with the dogs and cats all around us, tea and coffee always on the go, friends popping in with cake and gossip, and either music practice, Radio 3 or Kerrang as our soundtrack”. Raku firing of their tea light holders and house-shaped ornaments happens in Lynn’s back garden. “That’s the least glamorous part of what we do,” she says. “Leather aprons and breathing masks is a difficult look to carry off. . .”
As shoppers at Cambridge’s All Saint’s Garden Art & Craft market know - Lynn and Gaëlle have a regular pitch - Mud + Water’s Christmas collection is a joy. From dinky hanging decorations - reindeer, snowpeople, a fluffy-bearded Father Christmas - to a range of robin-dotted homeware, including mugs, jugs, bowls and soap dishes, every piece is so clearly made with love, it can’t fail to warm the heart.
Inspired by “art, music, film, Victorian natural history illustrations, antiques, Celia Birtwell and Liberty fabrics, the V&A and the Sir John Soane Museum. . .”, the friends say their work, with its rich colours and patterns, is “for the maximalists out there - like us”.
Largely self-taught, aside from a couple of introductory workshops, Lynn and Gaëlle, who both have high-flying backgrounds in marketing and PR, started working with clay as a hobby. But, as their skills honed and their fan-base grew, they decided to make Mud + Water official three years ago.
“It’s fun and chaotic! We laugh a lot and it’s great to be able to bounce ideas around as they pop into our heads,” says Lynn. “We are often discussing new ideas by text at all hours of the day and night. Each bowl or cup we make has been touched by both of us. One may have made it, the other decorated and most likely both of us have coloured each piece, taking one colour each and passing the item between us.”
With prices ranging from £120 for a one-off art doll housed in a room diorama down to just £2 for a tree decoration, Lynn and Gaëlle say “it’s important to use that handmade craft is accessible to all”.
So, if everyone else wants to find Mud + Water ceramics in their stocking, what are Lynn and Gaëlle wishing for this Christmas? “A feeling that we can celebrate our differences without fearing them. And a pair of socks.”
See mudandwaterceramics.co.uk and follow @mudwaterceramics on social for more and to order.
Read moreHomes and Gardens
More by this authorAlice Ryan