Let's meet... Tilly Hemingway

Posted: Aug 25 2015


We have a chat with local ceramicist Tilly Hemingway about working for the family business, and how she got into making ceramics. Check out our range of her work here.


Tell us a bit about yourself and your background

I was born in Wembley in 1987. My parents moved down from Lancashire in the early 80s and set up a fashion label, which by the time I was born was on its way to becoming a success. My parents included us in everything they did so a lot of our childhood (I'm one of four kids) was spent running around their warehouses and causing mischief behind the scenes at London fashion week. In 1999 my parents decided they had had enough of the fashion industry and sold the label before setting up a multidisciplinary design firm specialising in affordable and social design. Instead of the usual beach holidays, our family holidays would consist of trips to Sweden and Switzerland visiting architectural expos and the best examples of social/affordable housing developments in Germany. Unsurprisingly I developed an interest in people, spaces and place making and went on to get a degree in Urban Design and Regeneration at UCL. After graduating, I joined the family design business (alongside my older brother) where I had the opportunity to work on social housing and regen projects as well as try my hand at interior and product design. It was at this point I really got in to ceramics. I started attending the walk in sessions at Hackney City Farm on a Wednesday night and by the time I got round to using the wheel last December I was completely hooked. I had a shop show interest in my work and thought sod it, I'm going to give this a go, found a studio and the rest is history. 


What's the 'philosophy behind the product?

Graphic ceramics, made to last and stand the test of time. I'd wouldn't like to create a product that is throw away or 'in fashion'. I'd love for someone to by a piece and still cherish it in 50 years time. That would be ace. 


Where do you find inspiration?

Everywhere! Some of the prints featured on  my ceramics for example have been inspired by everyday materials such textures/patterns on flooring (London underground trains), building materials etc.  


Where are your products made?

In a small studio in North London shared with a dozen other ceramicists.


What is your studio/office like?

The work office is actually in the family home I grew up in. Visitors are always shocked when then come for meetings, they think they've got the wrong address, its lovely, there's a nice garden and bedrooms upstairs, which is handy if i'm having to work late. In contrast, the studio in which I make the ceramics is in an old industrial warehouse, shared with a total mix of businesses.


Describe a typical day in the life of you...

Up at 6.30 and at work for 8. I'm really lucky in that I get to work across various design fields. One day I could be working on a regeneration project, the next designing furniture. I usually finish work around 6.30, and head straight to the studio for a few hours of making. It's a busy schedule so I always make sure I have a few days away from the studio to eat good food, see my pals and enjoy all the great things London has to offer.