Ian Stallard graduated from BA Ceramic Design in 1996. He is one half of Fredrikson Stallard, an award winning avant-garde design partnership he began in 1995 with CSM BA Product Design alumni Patrik Fredrikson.
Why did you choose ceramics?
Partly because I love making and I have always loved the material, and partly because of the historical and cultural baggage that comes with ceramics. At the age of 19 I enjoyed reacting against what I perceived as the stuffy propriety of ceramics in polite society.
What is your worst memory of studying at CSM?
I don’t really have any bad memories. I do have regrets in that I was very young when I did the course and not at all sophisticated in my design knowledge and communication, but I was finding my way on my own in London and that was part of the whole experience.
At college, who made a lasting impression?
Ginger (David Cook), our technician, was immensely supportive and continued to help me after CSM as I started my own ceramic business. The model for the Ming#1 vase in the exhibition was made together with him at his home. I could not have created this on my own as I did not have the equipment or the money to have it made for me.
How did the course shape and define your future career?
By giving a comprehensive experience of all the facets of ceramic design, both industrial and sculptural, while still being open to crossovers with other disciplines and ways of working.
Yes, I wouldn’t be happy doing only ceramics as I can’t do everything I want to with it, but it’s kind of like my favourite child.
How do you perceive the value of ceramics?
I think the biggest value is its direct response to, and expression of, human contact, and also its potential longevity allowing it to directly link us to historical cultures we would otherwise know little about.
What excites you about ceramics today?
The fact that it exists as mass produced industrial design right through to fine art, and that the making process spans from the simplest most archaic methods to the cutting edge of technology. But with ceramics this has always been the case.
What do you see in the future for ceramics?
The basic act of being able to form an object with only our hands will always be a natural human desire, and this combined with advances like 3D printing in ceramics keep expanding the possibilities as well as the traditional need and desire to work with clay.