Good Grief! The dotty handmade ceramics we’re swooning over
When you hear the phrase ‘good grief’, odds are your mind wanders to either Charles Schultz’s comic creation Charlie Brown or the sometimes-unavoidable emotion of total exasperation. The words also happen to lend themselves quite well to the unforgiving nature of handmade ceramics, which is part of the reason Newcastle-based creative Jen Lanz decided to name her brand for it. Combining attention-demanding textures with unmistakeable craftsmanship, Good Grief Ceramics is one dreamy brand that connects the admirer to the maker.
While Good Grief Ceramics initially started as a hobby, in 2016 Jen decided to evolve her process into a fully-fledged brand. Jen’s visually arresting designs are the sort that make you stop and look, which is a direct result of her ethos of valuing unique objects. A large part of the brand’s charm is Jen’s belief that handmade objects provide people with a chance to experience a reconnection to humanity, as the repetitive nature of making pottery is a testament to the human body’s strength. The highly textural, dreamy pastel designs are the result of a mixture of things – balancing tradition and innovation with an unconscious motivation to create.
When it comes to the design process of Good Grief Ceramics, Jen dispels the myth that artists and designers are always confidently creative. She sticks to a traditional workday at her studio with set hours, using the routine as a form of motivation to move her handmade objects closer to completion. Breakthroughs in her design process are often the result of challenging herself with different claybodies or experimenting with new techniques, but a concept is never fleshed out until Jen is secure in the new process. Citing Nan Goldin, Ana Mendieta, Ken Price and local Newcastle artist Sally Bourke as her current art crushes, Jen also draws design inspiration from her relationship with her son and their
The future of Good Grief Ceramics is looking as exciting as it is bright – a collaboration with Lemons Ceramics is set to be released next month with all proceeds going to charity, plus we’ve heard whispers of a dreamy link up between Jen and one of Newcastle’s most important living painters. Details are on the down-low, but we can reveal that the artist will be using Jen’s ceramics to explore decorative painting in his style.If you find yourself in Newcastle, you can head along to one of Jen’s pottery throwing workshops or check out her work in the upcoming Pattern Play group exhibition showing at Back to Back Gallery in June.
Images by Benedict Sutton