My background is firmly rooted in the crafts, having started my journey into ceramics at a small pottery in Lincolnshire in the mid 1980’s. Learning the skills of production throwing; sometimes digging the clay, then wedging and weighing the clay to throw to all the same size and shape. I found the challenge of this precision absorbing and the repetitive nature satisfying. I’m sure it was this early interest into repetitive forms that sparked an interest in volume production and the need to have everything the same.
After graduation my first job was at Wedgwood as a shape designer, guided by the design team to understand the breadth of ceramic form, from how a plate should sit on the table to how a spout should pour. And taught by the highly skilled model makers to understand volume and the transition from 2D to 3D and to visualise those forms into fine plaster models. A wonderful place to begin a career in ceramics, steeped in history and with such a rich heritage to draw on daily.
I've worked both as an in-house designer and as a freelance designer for over 20 years for retailers and manufacturers and I still use the skills I learnt in my first job and prefer to work directly with materials, making the initial prototypes, so that I can naturally adapt the forms as the shapes are being made.
I’m inspired by the everyday and the ordinary; material qualities, textures and the interaction we have with objects. Small details and preferences which reflect the intuitive decision making we all make on a daily basis when choosing what cup to take from the cupboard for a cup of tea.
The Mr & Mrs Collection is a collaboration with my husband John, and his company Wild + Wood , we both came back to making our own collections of work after a time in other jobs and set out to create a range of objects that sit comfortably in the home, that aren't awkward, audacious or tricky to use or care for, but are familiar, have fluency and sit effortlessly. The synergy between our ideas was striking and unintentional but we came to realise that our work sits so well together, pared back & minimal, the same but different.
We first launched our Mr & Mrs Collection in 2012, all the wooden elements in my range were made by John, there were more at the time. The teapot handle is steam bent oak and the wooden top on the lid is turned oak, a really lovely complementary material to the bare ceramic. A beautiful match.
Renowned Designer Robin Levien added these words of praise:
'Sue Pryke is a designer who perfectly illustrates the fact that design for mass production can be of a high quality and have warmth.
Sue Pryke’s designs are simple and pared down, they have an understated elegance that places them within the Super Normal design typology.'