Sue Pryke: Queen of Beautifully Understated Ceramics
By Chloë Green
Sue Pryke is an award winning tableware designer. She grew up in Lincolnshire and now lives in Leicestershire, where she runs her design studio and workshop.
When did you become interested in ceramics and begin your career?
I did A-level Pottery at college, but I only opted to do it as I liked art and had to choose either pottery or printmaking. It just so happened that there were less people in the queue for pottery! I was inspired by the eccentric and utterly engaging tutor, you’d find him on the tables meditating at lunch times! I worked for a small pottery in Lincolnshire, where the potter suggested I should do a degree course. I headed off to Leicester to do the Ceramics & Glass Design for Manufacture degree course in the late 1980’s.
Where are you based?
I’m currently in Leicestershire and have been here for 20 years. After working in Stoke on Trent at Wedgwood as a designer and then living in London for several years, I came back to Leicestershire to head up the Ceramic and Glass degree course that I had once been a student on.
Tell us about your collection
I wanted to design a range of items that had a familiarity about them, that were all about tactile qualities and a nod to traditional crafts and manufacture. The range is partly inspired by Wedgwood’s Jasper ware - my first job after graduating was as a junior designer there. My favourite piece is the teapot, it references so many early inspirations for me, including 1970s Hornsea Pottery and a pared back Scandinavian aesthetic - I’ve worked for IKEA as a designer for more than 20 years.
What does an average day include for you?
I either run, swim or do yoga in the morning, or I’ll walk the dog. It’s good to spend time outside and clear your head before the working day starts. With my work, there isn’t really a routine and it depends whether I’m doing design work or making; every day is different.
Tell us about your collaborations
I’ve worked in house for Sainsbury's homeware design team and also at Next for a time. I’ve also worked freelance, and still do for many, including Marks & Spencers, John Lewis, IKEA, and many other high street names. I collaborate with my husband on Wild + Wood (wildandwood.co.uk) continually, as our work sits so well together. We design pieces that have a synergy or are similar. We exhibit together at most trade and craft fairs too.
Do you have any future projects planned?
I’m currently starting to work with a few restaurants which is really rewarding, it’s always good to see your work used and in situ.
You can see & purchase Sue’s work through her website (suepryke.com). Check out her instagram (@suepryke).