The Soap Folk studio is based in a converted industrial mill building just outside Nailsworth in the Stroud Valleys. This collective space for small and creative businesses is one of many similar ventures across Stroud.
Our neighbour is the potter, Tom Knowles Jackson. Aside from his own studio, he also runs the Clay Loft, an open access ceramics studio, This is a place for complete beginners to attend group lessons or private tuition or a supportive and practical space for more experienced ceramicists.
Tom is a tour de force. He runs a tight ship in the Clay Loft, keeping members on their toes by instilling the necessary values of a good potter. Always making, never still. Whether mentoring other ceramicists or designing new potters tools Tom approaches everything with the utmost passion and care.
The real icing on the cake is to see such beautiful objects emerge from the kiln. He makes it look effortless.
Our soap dishes project began in lockdown. With the Clay Loft closed to members, and Soap Folk running at enforced 2 metre distance. It was a strange uncertain time. The pause button on life gave rise to creativity and the chance to consider new directions for us all.
The soap dishes are the bridge between two crafts. We have surprisingly similar approaches - respect for materials, authenticy and the sheer joy of creating a quality object, designed to be used. Tom was inspired by the earthy colour palette of our soaps and this is reflected in the choice of glazes and textures.
If you are a maker, seek out other makers. You will find collaboration, friendship and support. It's been such a delight to see our soap dishes take shape, from the spark of an idea from Tom to the finished result. Beatifully made, practical objects that will take pride of place in your home.
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