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Workshop Wisdom - Lydia Hardwick

Mar 8, 2021

How would you describe your work?  

Hand-built, inlaid, slip decorated, patterned. 

How would you describe your workshop? 

It is a large room in my home, a Victorian terraced house in Westcliff-on-Sea. The floorboards are white and the walls are appropriately the colour of mud.  

What is a usual day in the workshop like for you? 

A cup of strong black coffee is needed first thing in the morning. With the exception of a half-hour lunch break, I work solidly and intensely until the evening. I usually expect too much of myself. I like lists. 

What is your favourite tool to use? 

This changes week to week, but at the moment it is my toothed-kidney.  

Who has been your biggest influence? 

Neither of my parents are creatives, but they instilled in me an attitude of inquisitiveness and curiosity. When I was growing up, wed spend a lot of time in the natural environment looking at things. They didnt teach me everything that I know, but they made me an interested person. 

What themes, inspirations or concepts drift into your work? 

Im often inspired by objects made by communities that attribute great expressive power to visual things. There can sometimes be a certain quality to the way a material has been processed, or gestural mark has been made, that suggests something more than mere decoration. Pattern can hold significant meaning at the most fundamental human level, or even be a form of almost-language. I think, at least where I live, weve become very detached from certain knowings’ or values, and objects from times and places where the values might have been different my own experiences speak to me in a big way. 

Do you have a motto? 

I had my palm read in India when I was 16. The reader told me that I need to focus on one thing at a time. In reality Im not that balanced, but I try! 

Do you have any rules or rituals when working? 

Nothing too romantic - but these days I am trying to do most of my emails in the evening, and to put my focus on making in the day. As my business has grown Ive found more of my time is swallowed up in communicating rather than making. 

How have you styled your Hiuts? 

Ive turned up my trousers and sleeves as long as I can remember. Perhaps as a teenager I made a conscious decision to do this, but now, having something around my wrists and ankles feels weird! So Ive turned these up twice at the bottom. 

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