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Meet the Makers: Part 1 - Beci Callow

Christmas decorations are all the more special when made by hand. Alice Ryan meets three local makers, all getting set to deck the halls. Here, Beci Callow

Beci Callow Design

Based on a farm, Beci Callow’s barn studio would be a bit parky in winter, but for the two kilns thrumming away and belting out heat. “They keep it toasty,” she says, “and I’ve made it feel cosy with drawings and colour samples on the walls and I listen to podcasts or the radio while I make.”

The studio is, adds Beci, her happy place: “I absolutely love making and always love getting into the workshop and making some happy pots after the weekend.”

Known for her cheery face pots - the black-haired lady planters are her best-sellers - Beci launched her ceramics business just over two years ago. At this time of year, she’s occupied with Christmas decorations: smiley-faced fir trees, rosy-cheeked angels, dinky cottages with slate roofs and sash windows.

Meet the Makers: Beci Callow (22204478)
Meet the Makers: Beci Callow (22204478)
Meet the Makers: Beci Callow (22204479)
Meet the Makers: Beci Callow (22204479)

Cut from rolled slabs of white porcelain clay, they’re decorated with traditional sgraffito. “I mix up coloured slips to get the hues that I want, then paint on layers that I scratch back into to reveal the clay beneath to create my designs,” explains Beci.

Part of Cambridge Made, the collective of Etsy sellers which holds an annual festive fair at the city’s St Andrew’s Street Baptist Church, Beci studied craft and design at university in Brighton, which is where her love affair with clay began. “We dabbled in making with lots of different materials, but clay was by far my favourite,” she says.

“I really love how empowering making can be,” continues Beci, “and so I started to work in schools, teaching making skills and working alongside teachers to add a tactile element to the students’ learning.

Meet the Makers: Beci Callow (22204480)
Meet the Makers: Beci Callow (22204480)

“I still really enjoy showing people how to make with clay and run CLAY CLUB sessions, where people come and learn basic ceramic skills in a fun relaxed environment.”

Citing folk art and tales among her sources of inspiration, along with 60s and 70s design, Beci describes her style as “relaxed”. “The items I make maybe wouldn’t be considered high brow design,” she adds, “but I really enjoy making people smile.”

Follow @becicallowdesign for more. Shop at etsy.com/uk/shop/becicallow

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