Meet the Maker | Isatu Hyde

Each week we ‘meet a maker’ from within the Walpole membership, shining a light on the highly skilled craftspeople creating British luxury products and experiences. Today, introducing Isatu Hyde, a traditionally trained potter and product designer, and one of this year’s hugely talented Walpole Crafted mentees.

Tell us what you do? 

My name is Isatu Hyde and I am a traditionally trained potter and product designer. From my studio in North West London, I make bespoke and small-batch runs of handmade pottery, alongside developing a range of products to fall under my own brand called ‘AMBA’.

Following a degree in Product Design, I completed 3 years training as a production potter under the tutelage of Andrew Crouch at The Marches Pottery in Shropshire. With the help of funding from the Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust, it was with Andrew that I learnt and honed many of the design and making principles and skills that I apply to my work today. As a maker, I am most concerned with matters of good form – the potter in me loves classical and ancient ceramics, whilst the designer is wedded to contemporary relevance and intuitive design. All of my work is intended for use, but I do extend that to the importance and use of ceremony and expressions of beauty around the home and within communities.

I am now only six months out of my design and ceramic education. I came to London to challenge myself and my work and I have certainly got what I asked for. Every day I look deeper into what I have gathered so far, and I’ve been forced to think carefully and quickly about what it is I want to make from it and ‘put out there’ as a representation of my design values. I love trawling through books, museums and art galleries, looking for human-made objects that are either incredibly useful, incredibly beautiful, or in the best instances, both at the same time. I am currently working on designing products that are very closely related to food, and that’s another great perk – being drawn into new interest through the pots I’m making. Food is universal and so is ceramics; there’s a very long and rich conversation that I’m very happily becoming a part of through experimenting with fermentation, cooking, baking and extracting.

Tell us why you love it? 

At a material level, I love to hand-make pots, working almost exclusively on the potter’s wheel.  The skill involved in coaxing clay in to something ‘finished’ is highly engaging and something that only comes through  hard won practice. Fired clay pots are physically fragile and vulnerable and are inevitably all unique and potentially flawed, but they have such profound strength in their potential ability to communicate and abstract everyday human life and history over millions of years. Making something new out of this tricky material and boundless paradox is what is making me very happy at the moment, as well as the idea, which has now become clearer than ever, that I will never quite exhaust the possibilities for learning and challenging myself in my chosen career.

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