Hello and welcome to "Five Minutes With...", our meet the maker blog feature. In each post, we'll be having a brief chat with one of our marvellous suppliers... about life, the universe, and everything. By which I mean craft and travel, obvs.
We work with a huge range of clever and creative maker-types, who craft all sorts of beautiful products, from ceramics, candles and cushions; through prints, pots and planters; to soap, stationery and... some other great things. Join us for a glimpse behind the curtain and see what makes them tick.
Today we're talking to the Francesca Pappacoda, the very talented designer-maker behind Salt Studios. Based in South-East London, Francesca launched Salt Studios in 2017. Initially selling her handcrafted homewares at markets, she has slowly built the brand up to what it is today.
Three years on, Francesca is now designing and making jewellery as well, and has started running her first workshops. Exciting times! We're delighted to be stocking these stunning terrazzo homewares in our store. Check them out here.
Ok, let's skip to it:
Francesca, can you tell us a bit about your design and production process?
My background in painting and sculpture has heavily influenced my designs at Salt Studios, where I was playing with colour, texture, surface and process.
Elevating the material is one of the most important aspects in all of my designs. For me it’s all about the surface. Using the malleable material Jesmonite, which is a water-based fiberglass, I can manipulate the surface pattern through a variety of techniques. But Terrazzo is by far my favourite technique right now, I'm able to mix it into my moulds and create graphic shapes within the surface.
Right now I’m making a range of homewares, plant pots and candleholders, coasters and stationery trays. I start by making each piece by hand either out of clay or wood and when I’m happy with the shape I make silicone moulds of these samples.
This way I can produce multiple replicas using different techniques. Every step and every stage is completely handmade!
It's fantastic to get such an insight into your process, Francesca. We love the fact that you're using your hands every step of the way!
Ok, next question... which is your favourite corner of your home (or studio), and why?
Part of my business (which I love) is selling the plants alongside the pots. I found a really lovely second hand pill trolley, which I always fill with my favourite ones! Having plants at home and in my studio, has a really calming effect on me. It's a lucky environment to be in.
Oh wow! What a fabulous selection of plants, and the pill trolley is the perfect place to display them, we do love an antique.
Now here's a question close to our hearts... can you share with us a White, Black or Grey item from your life and tell us about it?
A friend of the family Kate Wilson, an amazing ceramicist, gave me this handmade ceramic jug with emojis on it for my 18th birthday. The jug has always meant a lot to me, growing up I wanted to be an artist and the work she makes has always been an inspiration in what I do. I've made sure to display it proudly in my studios over the years and I love that its a permanent fixture wherever I go.
What a thoughtful gift! I'm sure she must be very proud of you. Talking of things that make you smile... If time and money were no object, where would you take your dream holiday?
I have always wanted to visit Norway to see the Northern Lights.
Great answer! And you're not alone amongst our Five Minutes With... interviewees saying that either. It's a wonderful part of the world. Hope you get to see those Aurora one day. Ok, last question... could you tell us about another creative whose work you love?
I really like Daisy Parris' colourful large-scale, textural paintings. I really enjoy the way they use oil paints to build a collage of colour and surface.
Wow. I've never really seen anything like this before - how fabulous!
OK, tea break over. Thanks for your time Francesca, this has been delightful. We're off to look at more photos of the Northern Lights.
We hope you enjoyed this feature. Do feel free to comment with any thoughts... perhaps your own dream holiday destinations, beloved monochrome items, or favourite makers - go on, share the love.