Lydia Hardwick's work immediately caught my eye when I saw it. I love the subtle colours and pattern to her work. whilst each plate feels delicate and special, they also have a weight to them. I have a few of them myself and switch between serving something delicious to eat on them, to have them on the wall as display.
Lydia graduated from the Royal College of Art in 2013. Primarily using clay, she works across the fields of art and design. The bold designs are rooted in her appreciation for symbology and geometry and combine methods such as inlaying, sgraffito and painting with slips.
I loved getting to know her better when we chatted for the Journal.
What does a typical day look like for you?
Most mornings I'll either meditate, do some qigong or a series of stretching exercises. I've always wanted to be one of those people who commit to a specific daily practice for a lifetime, but over the years I've found that I just have to follow my changing interests and mood. For the last couple of years, I've religiously eaten Bircher muesli for breakfast with a black coffee. I'll work solidly in my studio for the rest of the day, and then in the early evening I'll go for an hour-long walk by the sea with my partner William.
Where’s your dream escape destination?
I've wanted to visit Japan for a long time. I'm drawn to cultures that have an innate connection to making, materials and nature. More generally, I'm most happy when I'm in the mountains. Most of our holidays tend to involve a lot of hiking.
What’s your vice?
My insatiable craving for olives. If someone presents a bowl of olives, I become possessed. I'll pounce on them and scoff the lot before anyone else gets a chance. This addiction is life-long - my parents have some film footage of me, aged 3, working my way through a HUGE jar of olives. After eating each olive, I carefully place the stone on a piece of kitchen roll, lining them up until I've consumed the entire jar.
What are you listening to at the moment?
I listen to audiobooks constantly whilst I am working in the studio, so I'll often get through 2 or 3 books a week! At the moment I'm really enjoying the work of Rachel Cusk, particularly her autobiographical writings. I'm about to start David Sedaris' second volume of diaries, A Carnival of Snackery - he makes me laugh very hard.
What's your favourite thing to eat?
Aside from olives, anything salty...
What are you most curious about?
I'm one of those (often irritating) people who is curious about EVERYTHING. I'm constantly asking people questions with far too much enthusiasm, and I want to know everything about the world and its history. Currently I'm interested in Confucianism, black holes, child psychology and mast cells.
What’s the most memorable piece of advice you’ve received?
Last year I read a book by the psychologist Abraham Maslow called The Farther Reaches of Human Nature. A large part of the book is dedicated to his theory of 'self-actualisation', which refers to the traits of people who are at the peak of human flourishing, becoming the best version of themselves. According to Maslow, one of the key characteristics of people that are self-actualised is a 'Continued Freshness of Appreciation', which is to see the world in an almost childlike way - allowing a fresh, naive approach to experiences, permitting a sense of awe, pleasure, wonder. This isn't advice, as such, but I believe that allowing yourself to approach life in this 'open' way is so important for your own creativity and wellbeing, and it will make life better for those around you too.
What are your top 3 items at Caro?
Aesops' Resurrection Aromatique Hand Balm - using clay all day gives you very dry hands! This hand balm smells divine and absorbs into your hands beautifully.
These Azul side plates. I've always loved Spanish majolica pottery. I'd probably put a load of olives on this plate.
Anything made by Iris Hantverk, they are such a fantastic company. Based in Sweden and Estonia, they work with visually impaired craftsmen to make excellent brushes and tools. This mushroom brush caught my eye. It reminded me of collecting mushrooms as a child, and cooking them in my parent's caravan on camping trips.