NO.9 GEORGIA LOIZOU: UP OUR STREET - 8 Holland Street’s neighbours, near and far

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One of our favourite potters Georgia Loizou dipped her toe into many creative fields including graphics, fine art and knitting before taking up ceramics as a career. We drop in on her studio in Somerset to find out how she brings them all together.

"When I was at art school, I used to wonder why people would do pottery. What a strange thing for someone to do,” says Georgia Loizou sitting in her studio a handful of miles outside Bath. Having designed everything from book jackets to corporate identities and textiles for fashion houses after leaving her fine art degree at Hornsey College of Art, something of a eureka moment hit Georgia.“I don’t know what I’d eaten the night before but one day I woke up and thought I’d give it a try.”

 

It was the beginning of the career that has now spun almost forty years, aided by evening classes in a studio in what was then the red light district of Kings Cross. What was the appeal?

 

“Ceramics is so hands-on. It’s so possible,” she says. “It’s the fact that I could paint on them, decorate them and bring in my love of fine art. It was just fantastic.”

 

Her pieces – large, wonky, decorated with gestural whacks of glaze and slip – to this day have the energy of someone whose passion for the materials overrides the stuffiness that technical knowledge learnt at college can sometimes have. For a time, Georgia made production pottery. It was when an order for 52,500 pieces for John Lewis didn’t happen – although the promised check did – that she decided to only focus on studio pottery. “That was my perfect opportunity. I thought, I’m just going to make things I want to make,” she says. 

 

This embrace of the individual is so apparent in her work. Georgia’s ceramics retain the spontaneity of a painter. In shape, they’re irregular from every angle and often very large. In decoration, they are covered with slashes of slip, which emphasis the lopsidedness of the forms. This experimentation on-the-go is what gives her pieces life. “I definitely do not plan the decoration of it. When I was doing the pottery classes in Kings Cross, my teacher told me to get a bit of paper and draw what you want to do with it. I tried to do that but everything died.”

 

Her studio looks out across green fields and in many ways the barn itself is a metaphor for the life she injects into her pots. “It was a tumble down shell in the middle of a field. The bankers had banked up half the barn with mud over the years,” she recalls. Under Georgia’s watch, this clump of earth was transformed in to what it is today. “It was a risky job but it was so beautiful,” is how she describes it. So it is with her pots too. 

 

My ideal neighbours would be...

Picasso (in my teens I stepped over his sleeping body on an isolated beach in Provence!) and also the crazily creative American artist Jean-Michel Basquiat. He’s very inspiring. 

 

The house I’d like to live in is...

a house my parents built on the beach in Cyprus near the ancient site of Salamis, now in the Turkish-occupied north east of the island. Sadly it is still an unresolved issue. 

 

Tomorrow I will...

tidy up my studio

 

WRITTEN BY 8 HOLLAND STREET CONTRIBUTING EDITOR TOM MORRIS 

PHOTOGRAPHY BY OLLIE TOMLINSON

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