Rachel Dormor’s signature retro blue, white and pale green porcelain homeware has been in the making since she was 14.
Now based back in Cambridge where she grew up, mydeco set out to get a sneak peak at what she does to keep her hands full and her urn in motion.
Where are you based at the moment?
I live in Cambridge, and my studio is down near the river, about two streets from the road I grew up on.
Is there any reason you came back to live here in particular?
I came here with my mum in 1983 as she was studying here and I just love it. I’ve lived in other places but I keep coming back to Cambridge because it’s so beautiful with lots going on and it attracts really interesting, special people.
Do you have a favourite item from your collection to make or own?
My favourite item is the small colander. I’ve been making them a long time and they are really fiddly but they are so useful!
Is there are story behind its creation that makes it special for you?
I’ve always been inspired by French country pottery and they use colanders as fruit bowls. Ceramic colanders have been found dating back to the Romans and I love making something now that has such a link with historic craftsmen.
Do you have many of your own productst in your house?
Yes, we use all my own tableware in our house and I’ve also got lots of lovely things from other makers that I have met at shows.
Where do you find your inspiration?
Everywhere! I read lots of magazines and I love blogs, but when I’m working on new designs I start by visiting museums and drawing shapes and patterns. I also visit the Botanic Gardens in Cambridge every time I need inspiration. My sketchbooks are full of drawings of plants and flowers and this has inspired a printed collection of ceramics and co-ordinating fabric.
You own your own allotment. What does that mean to you?
I find it really calming, I love getting my hands dirty in the soil. I have a really busy life but I find watering the allotment with my children after school, or on my own late in the evening, really gives me a much needed time out. I share my allotment with two other people and I’ve discovered lots of people I know are my allotment neighbours so there is a real social side to it as well.
What led you to get one in the first place?
I wanted an allotment for a long time and had to wait a year before one came up. I really like growing things and although I have a big garden I wanted a vegetable patch too.
And how long have you had it for now?
This will be our first full year as we got our plot in June 2010
Do you follow any specific regimes to keep your plants in check?
We are still learning what to do really and want our allotment to be as organic as possible. We planted green manure over the winter to keep the weeds down and fertilize the soil and we have been trying to plant flowers among the vegetables to attract ladybirds and use natural pest control.
Do you have a favourite garden tool?
Now that you are growing your own, do you have a new favourite vegetable?
Aubergines, and I was totally thrilled when we managed to grow some from seed last summer.
What needs to be on the agenda at this time of year to keep your patch up and running?
The next thing on the list is to get some good fertilizer into the soil to see us through the summer.
What do you find are the benefits of having this type of space?
I work for myself and am alone a lot of the time and I worried that the allotment would be too much of a commitment. However, because I share it, it’s not a burden and it’s a really good way to socialise and meet people, and to give me a break from being in my workshop.
All images are accredited to Rachel Dormor via flickr.com
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