Making in Lockdown

Kurinuki Pots

When lockdown started, I was caught short: an order of clay waiting for me in Yorkshire, daily emails cancelling events and exhibitions, more time on my hands than I’ve had for years and limited materials to fill those hours. Kurinuki, or “carving out”, is a Japanese hand building technique, where you begin with a block of clay and carve out the centre. Once the interior is hollowed, you are able to score, carve, tear and cut away at the exterior. The clay itself dictates its form as much as the creator. This technique, in so many ways opposite to the work I produce in “normal times”, gave me a chance to connect with the material, slow down and just focus on creating with out inhibitions or pre-conceived designs.

Living in Carlisle, meant no lack of green space available for daily walks but the fells, and coast felt impossibly distant and unobtainable. I used extra time to focus on the garden, to coax as much greenery as I could from the slowly warming earth to counteract the factories, chimneys and red Victorian brick of Denton Holme.

The Kurinuki pots were finished with a wash of black iron oxide and a green glaze the impossibly bright colour of new spring leaves. Its jagged, rough textured walls are reminisent of the crags, deserted rock strewn pathways and river tumbled rocks littering our coast. This little pot, small enough to be cradled in the palm of my hand, carried in my pocket, became a talisman and reminder of all that waited to be rediscovered.

This too shall pass.


Turning Off The Waves- a creative collaboration

One of the hardest parts of running a creative business and making work for a living is staying inspired. Giving  yourself a break, allowing time to play, experiment and explore leads to new work. I am so lucky to have wonderful creatives in my life, friends with whom I can bounce ideas off and explore themes with. One of these wonderful people is  Poet and Creator, Rose Gleeson. Together, last summer we embarked on a creative collaboration entitled “Turning Off The Waves”.

A shell collected while on holiday in Cornwall acted as a starting point; each created work and exchanged the pieces. Using the received piece as inspiration the pair then went about creating new work.

With exchanges happening every 2 weeks for a 3 month period, the past paced nature of the collaboration pushed each creative out of their comfort zone, encouraging them to adopt new methods, techniques and to move away from usual themes and ideas.

Unable to create ceramic pieces in the tight 2 week time slots, I turned mainly to stitch, collage and textile based techniques, incorporating “found” ceramic fragments, words, mark making and mono printing to create layered, intriguing pieces. From these initial raw ideas recurring imagery and textures have now been translated into ceramic fragments, plaques and tiles to emulate the original ideas while letting the work continue to evolve.

New Work & New Events

I’ve been working hard in the studio this year on new work to sell at direct retail events.

The new work combines bold, shiney colour pops with hand drawn lines on a contrasting unglazed, matte surface. I have really enjoyed selecting colours and photographing them in the summer garden and the studio, here’s a peek of my Little wonkies and two of the larger vases.


The work certainly had a good reception at Pots in the Pens. It was my first time at the event, despite it being just down the road. I had the best weekend surrounded by beautiful work and great conversations.

Through Potfest, i also got the opportunity to take part in UPFRONT Gallery’s Cumbrian Ceramics exhibition which is on until 11th Nov 2018, pop by if you get a chance!

Here’s my work displayed next, my neighbor the wonderfully Talented Hilary Harrison. It also lovely to see the work of other graduates from my uni course, Amanda Mercer, Julie Asquith Coghlan and Kim Hodgeson. 

A long overdue rebrand

Its been a long time coming but I’ve been working on getting my packaging simplified and a new logo designed. After wrestling with it all myself for for too long, I decided enough was enough, so took the plunge and payed someone else to do it! I could not be happier with the results, the new logo is clean, bold and will work across all my collections, Sarah from SilvaHalo, did such a great job of taking my ramblings and creating the perfect logo for me.

c-a-markThis logo works within my name, like my main banner or as a my initials like here. Simple and flexible, genius! This has been such an important lesson for me. I’ve spent years building my business, working hard to make it grow and to keep moving forwards. this branding was something I was really struggling with, outsourcing meant I could still focus on this without all the stress.

The new branding was set up for the first time at British Craft Trade Fair in Harrogate earlier this month. It took a lot longer to set up than normal, and just working out what I wanted to do was tricky, but now its been done, its just a case of making a few adjustments each time I set up. It was worth all the hard work though, the new packaging, branding and furniture worked really well together, and I got lots of very positive feedback about the new look.

I’ll sign off now, as there are lots of orders to be worked on, don’t forget to follow me on Instagram @catrionaarchibaldcrafts for more regular posts and updates

c x

A belated beginning

Its been a busy time at Catriona Archibald Crafts HQ, suddenly  3 years have slipped by and I still haven’t sorted out my first post on this blog,  but they say there is no time like the present, so thank you for stopping by, on here you will be able to to read about my hopes, fears and adventures as I run my business and try to figure out what I am doing on the way. The journey will, I’m sure, have lots of twists and turns, thank you for sticking it out with me!

change starts hereMural, Belfast 2018