29th January 2019
Specialising in wheel-thrown and hand-built porcelain for the past 10 years, Jo Davies believes in making as a vehicle for expression. She trained in ceramics at Bath School of Art and then continued her studies at the Royal College of Art graduating in 2007 and since then, has been widely exhibited in the UK and abroad.
Jo has a strong affinity with her chosen medium and enjoys its elastic and fluid qualities. These attributes lend themselves to methods not possible with other clays; whilst its state of translucency after kiln-firing, allows it to glow in strong light.
“All my work is wheel-thrown by me at the studio – the skills needed to work with porcelain in this way are acquired over years so I am the only person able to make my work. From the smallest cup to a large, unique vessel, every wheel-thrown object I make is always an individual item. Each object acts as a reflection of the shape of my hands as well as my intentions as a ceramic designer.”
What was the main motivation behind your application to the LCN programme?
Initially my motivation for taking part was in order to ‘tune up’ the business side of my practice with a particular focus on social media and marketing, which is an area that shifts and changes frequently. I had been running my studio for over 11 years and felt that there were a lot of activities I had covered or mastered. However, I think that, like many creatives, I became self-employed because my work dictated it and so the skeleton structure of my business was never from the point of view of a business person, more a series of haphazard decisions hastily made which then became habit. After taking up many of the London Creative Network classes with Cockpit Arts, the ‘tune up’ has become a much deeper examination of my business.
What is the most useful advice or tip you’ve been given on the programme so far?
There has been a lot! The examination of my own values during one of the early workshops was a memorable event, simply because I was being asked to consider what was important to me as a maker. Re-examining my values has helped me to be clear about who I am and what my business is. Being focussed on my own voice and direction allows me to more confidently take decisions and have a clear sense of the direction I want to take my business in.
There has been a huge amount of advice around my marketing goals and strategy. Making small changes in this area have made a big difference to my business. Being clear about my values and goals makes taking decisions about how to market my work much easier and ultimately more effective. On the financial side of my business there is still work for me to do but the workshops on understanding the language of a business from an accountancy point of view was surprisingly liberating.
What new product, service, business system or projects are you introducing to your practice and why?
For me 2018 was really the year of the commission and working in this way has been really exciting. I attribute this rise to the way I have rephrased the text on my website. Following one of the writing workshops I redrafted the text on my website – speaking more confidently about my work and the way I could work with clients which has led to many more commissions of my work.
I have also recently taken on an assistant. Attending a Cockpit LCN workshop on personality types and how different personalities work together, helped to inform my decision when selecting the candidate who I felt would work best with me. Yet another workshop that was useful in a way that I wasn’t expecting. The appointment of my assistant continues to be a success.
What plans do you have after participating with LCN?
During my time on Cockpit’s LCN programme I have learnt to recognise the limitations of my own time. Many of the workshops have highlighted to me that many activities in a creative practice need to transition from one person doing everything to a team working together.
LCN has made me realise what the potential opportunities are and have helped me recognise that I don’t necessarily have the skill or time to achieve this alone. This is a leap I’ve begun to take by recruiting my assistant, but I would like to go further down this road. Working in the studio directly with clay is my priority and planning for how I will achieve this by expanding my team all forms part of my objectives following LCN.
Find out more about the London Creative Network