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Meet Billy Lloyd: Crafting Futures Mexico

 © Billy Lloyd

© Billy Lloyd

 © Billy Lloyd

© Billy Lloyd

 © Billy Lloyd

© Billy Lloyd

 © Billy Lloyd

© Billy Lloyd

17 August 2017

Ceramicist Billy Lloyd is heading to Oaxaca as the British Council launches Crafting Futures Mexico.

Billy will be joining Mexican designer Juan Pablo Viedma in Oaxaca to take part in a three-week experimental collaboration, stimulating a creative dialogue between artisans and designers from the UK and Mexico. The programme has been developed in collaboration with Oax-i-fornia and leading Mexican design curator Ana Elena Mallet. We caught up with Billy before his trip to find out more about his practice. 

Tell us a bit about yourself; your background and areas of interest.

Originally I am from Oxford, and I moved to London in 2003 to study Ceramics BA at Camberwell College of Arts. Prior to that, I was lucky to go to a secondary school that had a ceramics department so I was first introduced to the subject at age thirteen. I continued ceramics though to GCSE and A Level before completing an Art Foundation. Following graduation from Camberwell, I worked with Lisa Hammond MBE for one year at Maze Hill Pottery before embarking on a four-year apprenticeship with potter and writer Julian Stair. Once my apprenticeship concluded in 2011, I joined Cockpit Arts Deptford having won the Cockpit Arts Award.  My business is now based in Iliffe Yard, Kennington, south east London.

What are you working on at the moment?

I work with a variety of clients from interior designers, chefs, UK based and overseas manufacturers, luxury brands and high street retailers. No two days are the same but generally my studio operates as a place to design and make prototypes for factory production. From time to time, I also collaborate with architects or other designers to create small batch collections or conceptual installations.

Why did you apply for the Crafting Futures Mexico residency?

Well, first and foremost I would like to thank Annie Warburton, Creative Director at the Crafts Council, for kindly nominating me to submit an application.  It was pleasant surprise to receive an email from João Guarantani at the British Council informing me of this and I subsequently enjoyed the process of writing my proposal. Naturally, I was delighted to be told I had been selected for the residency. 

I applied for the residency because I found the prospect of working closely with traditional craft makers of Oaxaca very appealing. I enjoy the process of collaboration as it inevitably pushes my work in a new direction, diversifying my portfolio as a result. I think also that being outside one’s comfort zone is never a bad thing!

What interests you in particular about the context of the project and why is it important?

I have actually been to Oaxaca once before during a month-long ‘World Challenge’ tour of Mexico after my GCSE’s. We only stayed in the city for two or three days, I think, but its vibrancy left a lasting impression on me. As did the weather; I seem to remember a great downpour and thunderstorm last for about five minutes before returning to clear blue skies!  

As an industrial designer with hands-on roots to pottery, I feel it is very important to stay close to the material. It is through direct contact with clay and ‘the ceramic process’ that one truly understands its versatility and potential. I hope that our collaboration will be mutually rewarding in both the short and long term for all involved.

What are you hoping to discover or explore in this residency and how do you feel this might have an impact on your work?

I am really looking forward to meeting the Mexican desinger, Juan Pablo Viedma, the artisan families and spending time with Mexican communities and the crew at Oax-i-fornia. Working as part of a team is always a rewarding process for me, and the prospect of learning new skills while developing prototype collections is very exciting.  I also hope to learn a lot about Mexican gastronomy, both traditional and modern, and am interested to know how that might inform my perspective of tableware design.

To find out more about Crafting Futures head to our website and follow us on Instagram and Twitter.