In the studio with…Alice Rolfe
Rolfe working in her studio
Alice Rolfe is the designer behind Bristol-based surface pattern and homeware brand, Rolfe&Wills. Her colourful ceramics are available to buy from not just a shop. She studied BA Fine Art Sculpture at Wimbledon College of Arts.

Where is your studio?

My studio is a few minutes’ walk from my home in Easton, Bristol. I converted it from an MOT garage about four years ago and share it with four other designer-makers, so it’s a lovely little creative and supportive hub to work in.

Describe your typical day

I walk to work, answer a few emails and then move on to packing my web orders, which takes me until around lunchtime. I’ll then start preparing my wholesale/shop orders, which I often make to order, but if I’ve been super organised I’ll have pieces made up already and just need to pack them. Running the shop and studio means there’s always admin such as accounting to do too, but I try to make sure I put some time aside for designing!

What are the key stages of your design and making process?

I come up with ideas quite regularly (thankfully). Manufacturing everything myself means that I can experiment lots until I get to the final design right, which is really fun. If I can’t get a design quite right, sometimes I’ll leave it for a few weeks to develop in my mind, before going back to it. I don’t work with sketchbooks; everything’s in my mind or on a list.

What is the best thing about your job?

I enjoy being my own boss and the complete creative freedom that brings. I never get told off and I can pick and choose my hours, which on paper is great, although in reality I generally end up working more than the average job!

Rolfe working in her studio

Do you listen to music in your studio?

I’m not the person who chooses the music in the studio but we usually listen to BBC Radio 6. If I could choose what we played, my top three top songs would be: Rambling On by Led Zeppelin; Love & Affection by Joan Armatrading or anything by Ry Cooder (I’m totally stuck in the past)!

What’s on your desk right now?

I have my trusty calendar – I would be permanently lost without it! My drawing tablet, which I use as a mouse as well as drawing and designing, and my super healthy fruit smoothie, which keeps my sugar levels up and stops me nibbling on chocolate!

Who do you look up to as entrepreneur?

I used to work for Ally Capellino and I really admire her longevity – she’s been on the industry for 30+ years and still makes beautiful timeless pieces.  My background is in conceptual art so I also look up to artists Rachel Whiteread, Tania Kovats and Louise Bourgeois.

Why were you interested in having your products sold at not just a shop?

Having studied my degree at UAL, it’s great to have taken my business to the point that I’m now selling there. The store also represents a variety of talented makers, who I am super proud to be selling alongside!