Melody Rose was another exhibitor at Home London‘s Homegrown. I love the contradiction in her work between the very elegant chinaware and the slightly macabre embellishments, so I was keen to find out more about what inspires her…
What’s the most important thing to know about you?
I’m grew up and Canada and moved to the UK when I was 22 so although I feel like a Londoner I have a lot of Canadian influences. Yes, that means moose and maple syrup can make unexpected appearances.
What’s your background? How did you end up doing what you’re doing now?
I wanted to be a painter when I was growing up but when I moved to the UK I took a job in marketing with an international wine and spirits company. I spent seven years with them and learnt a huge amount but my passion remained in art and design. I went on to work freelance in project and programme management while developing and honing my skills and designs before take the plunge turning to it full time and launching Melody Rose.
I love the juxtaposition of pretty florals and dark surreal undertones in your work – what inspires you?
I like to make pieces that have humour and are playful, but with an edge. I always liked the theatrical style of the baroque period and I was very influenced by surrealist painters when I was young. I like to think I can capture those feelings on my pieces.
How does your design process work?
For my upcycled pieces, I try and find pieces which are unusual but of beautiful quality. They are often pieces that no one would look twice at, but that are transformed by small interventions. I like to make people look twice and fall in love with a piece which they wouldn’t have noticed before.
When I am working on new designs, I start by deciding on a subject matter. The next step is to work through design ideas that conjure up the subject for me. I like designs that are unexpected and surprising, but they must complement the ceramics rather than the ceramics complimenting them. Developing new designs is the longest part of the process. Once the design idea is developed, the image is made into a ceramic transfer and I can start making samples up to be photographed.
What’s the best part of your job?
I love seeing the smile on people’s faces when they see my designs. It fills my heart with joy to make people happy.
Describe a really good day in the life of Melody Rose and a really bad day.
The best Melody Rose days are those spent making in the studio or out at shows meeting people. Also, sourcing ceramics is a definite bonus of the job. I love antique and vintage pieces and had a great collection beforehand, so buying pieces as part of my work is a like having a cheeky secret.
There’s not a lot of bad days at Melody Rose, but there’s has been a huge amount of learning to do. I launched an online shop in July and learning how to make that work has been a steep learning curve.
What are you most proud of?
I’m incredibly pleased with how well Melody Rose has done so far. I’m very proud to be stocked in the Art Gallery of New South Wales’ shop in Sydney. I shipped around 225 pieces to go with their Frances Bacon retrospective that started in November.
What advice would you give to an aspiring designer?
It sounds like a cliche but absolutely you have to completely believe in your work and love what you are doing. You will need to passionate about it to make it work!
And finally, favourite colour please!
Green, definitely absolutely green.
Further reading for the especially geeky:
Ella Doran is an award-winning designer, who pioneered the use of digital printing techniques, and specifically the application of photography onto functional, everyday objects, when it was first developed in the 1990s. Now an established …
Having established confessions of a design geek in 2010, Katie Treggiden has gone on to a career in design journalism, writing for titles such as The Guardian, The Telegraph, Elle Decoration, Stylist, Design Milk and Ideal Home. In 2014, she launched Fiera, an independent magazine dedicated to discovering new talent at the world’s design fairs. Her second book, Makers of East London, was published in 2015.
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