In the studio with...James Pegg
James Pegg portrait

Where is your studio?

I work out of a shared studio at the Arches Studios under Peckham Rye station. We have a wonderful community of ceramicists, illustrators, jewellers and artists.

Describe your typical day

Being a Course Leader at London College of Fashion my typical day in the studio doesn’t normally start until 6.30pm.  I will aim to spend most time on making orders but highly value space for research and development as well.

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

As my work is very much about colour, the most important part is spending time observing my palette and testing combinations.  The Action Casting technique I developed and work with is about spontaneity but having a rhythm with my hands is necessary in capturing the joyous nature of my work.

james pegg studio images

What is the best thing about your job?

Opening a kiln!  The technique I use means that every piece is always different and I don’t always know what the heat will do to the surface of the work. Having my ceramics practice alongside an academic role means I get the best of both worlds, working with students who are pushing their field, yet still keeping my own practice creative and challenging which in turn supports them.

Do you listen to music in your studio? What three songs are on your playlist?

We always have BBC 6 Music on in the studio – but when I am making work sometimes the more upbeat the music the better it affects the outcome of my process.  At the moment the songs that cheer me up when they come on would be Charlotte Gainsbourg – Sylvia Says, Django Django – Surface to Air and my guilty pleasure is always ABBA!

What’s on your desk right now (provide photos of three items and explain their significance)?

Normally everything is on my desk – being a tidy worker isn’t a strong point, but I find having my desk full is more energetic!  There are a couple of tools that someone slip casting can’t do without and ones that a have a breakdown over if I lose them in my mess.  The fettling tool and Lucy tool are vital in getting clean edges on my work and not damaging the plaster moulds I use.  I also have a set of small cups in all of the colours I use and these allow me to play with colour combinations.

james pegg studio images

Who do you look up to as an entrepreneur?

Studio Arhoj based in Copenhagen have taken traditional thrown ceramics to such a wonderfully playful place and built up a worldwide following in only 7 years.  I remember seeing their work on a trip to Denmark and within a couple of years it was everywhere.  Denmark has a very strong commitment to supporting businesses and this has a strong impact on small businesses.

 

What three apps or companies should every entrepreneur know about? 

The Design Trust are great providers of information and support for makers, designers and crafters.  I wont say Instagram, because it seems so obvious in 2018, I’ll be interested to see what other platform ends up making it redundant. I don’t think any creative enjoys accounting but Wave provide a couple of simplified apps to collate receipts and invoices.

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

Not just a shop offer such a great support for alumni and current students of UAL.  The extra work they do on top of simply selling your work is so useful for a small business.  Also for me I am so happy to be there as an example of someone who works across disciplines, one doesn’t simply have to follow the path they studied but once you know the design process is can be translated into any medium – I would like students to see that this is possible and I am an example of that happening!