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Vanessa Hogge

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Vannessa Hogge

Working predominantly in porcelain, Vanessa crafts her one-off flowerheads and vessels in her studio in Cockpit Arts Holborn. Grounded by years of expertise as a ceramicist, she takes an instinctive, visceral approach to each piece, painstakingly sculpting every petal and another by hand so that no two flowers are identical. Inspired by her passion for all things botanical, and influences as diverse as Frida Kahlo, Indian miniature paintings and Marianne North, Vanessa breathes life into her clay in the form of dahlias, chrysanthemums, daisies, hydrangeas and daphne.

Vannessa Hogge

I love surface pattern and decoration, and clay has been my preferred medium ever since discovering the pottery room at school. I studied ceramics at the B.A. and M.A. level and graduated from the Royal College of Art in London back in 1989 and did create for five years or so with some success. I sold my brightly coloured glazed floral earthenware vases through Paul Smith, but times were tough, I was young, and I didn’t have a good enough business head on my shoulders, so it all fizzled out sadly. I had two children and then became an interiors’ stylist for magazines and then a graphic designer.

Vannessa Hogge

Twenty-five years later, I found myself in a job as a designer, which was stressful and unfulfilling, so I walked out not knowing what I was going to do next. I realised that it might be possible to make ceramics again and possibly make a living from it, so I thought I’d give it a go. That was in 2015, and within three years, I’ve re-launched as a maker and found a market for my work. I feel this is partly due to having more life experience; the styling and graphic design experience has helped hugely with my branding and social media profile, and having had a desk job has made me realise how lucky I am to be my own boss and be in control of how and when I work.

Vannessa Hogge

I love ceramics, clay and, in particular, porcelain. It never ceases to amaze me that you can take something that resembles mud and transform it as if by magic into a unique and beautiful object. It’s intensely satisfying but not for the faint-hearted. Quite often I wonder why it has this appeal as so much can go wrong. Porcelain, for example, is a tricky material to work with. It has a mind and memory of its own and doesn’t like being bullied or contorted out of its comfort zone. It will reward you with a giant crack. Although clay is cheap, as a ceramicist you need large and expensive equipment like kilns that make finding studio space, especially in central London, tricky. But, of course, the pros far outweigh the cons.

“I’m addicted to the rhythm of repetitive action and how it can alter surfaces.”

Vannessa Hogge

I painstakingly build up surfaces by tearing, pinching, rolling and cutting the clay to form simple petals that blossom and grow into complex symmetrical forms. Each tiny flower is hand formed–no moulds used, so every piece is unique. I mostly work out my ideas in the clay. I’m obviously in love with flowers and gardens and the infinite patterns and possibilities that they offer. I also love looking at the different ways that flowers have been represented over the years by artists and designers as diverse as Japanese woodblocks from the 19th century, Frida Kahlo, Indian miniature paintings and Marianne North.

Being located in London is important to me. The Victoria and Albert Museum in Kensington is a great resource and a big part of my personal Creative Rituals; I nip over there often and never cease to find it inspiring. But, really time spent in my studio is what it’s all about. I’m there all day and every day. I need to put the hours in as my work is labour intensive–it helps that I love being there. I make rough scribbly notes in my diary when I see things I love, take a million pics a week on my iPhone and am constantly referring back to it as I’m working out new designs.

Vannessa Hogge
Photo by Jamie Trounce

Having a space at Cockpit Arts has benefitted me too, as there is a team of business advisers at hand to guide you through the process of running your own creative start-up. I actually applied for and won an Award—the Cockpit Arts/Radcliffe Craft Development Award—which entitled me to a free studio space for a year as well as a £1000 to spend on a master class of my choice; I went to Copenhagen in Denmark to visit the highly regarded ceramicist Bodil Manz.

Vannessa Hogge

Returning to my creativity and having to be quite selfish in the process has been my biggest challenge, but if I have any advice to give it would be, don’t lose a moment – follow your heart. If there’s something you’ve been meaning to do, get down to it right now! My 50s have been my best decade yet as I’ve unleashed a torrent of creativity that I wasn’t able to in my 20s, 30s and 40s! Just do it!

Vannessa Hogge

Working predominantly in porcelain, Vanessa crafts her one-off flowerheads and vessels in her studio in Cockpit Arts Holborn. Grounded by years of expertise as a ceramicist, she takes an instinctive, visceral approach to each piece, painstakingly sculpting every petal and another by hand so that no two flowers are identical. Inspired by her passion for all things botanical, and influences as diverse as Frida Kahlo, Indian miniature paintings and Marianne North, Vanessa breathes life into her clay in the form of dahlias, chrysanthemums, daisies, hydrangeas and daphne.

Vannessa Hogge

I love surface pattern and decoration, and clay has been my preferred medium ever since discovering the pottery room at school. I studied ceramics at the B.A. and M.A. level and graduated from the Royal College of Art in London back in 1989 and did create for five years or so with some success. I sold my brightly coloured glazed floral earthenware vases through Paul Smith, but times were tough, I was young, and I didn’t have a good enough business head on my shoulders, so it all fizzled out sadly. I had two children and then became an interiors’ stylist for magazines and then a graphic designer.

Vannessa Hogge

Twenty-five years later, I found myself in a job as a designer, which was stressful and unfulfilling, so I walked out not knowing what I was going to do next. I realised that it might be possible to make ceramics again and possibly make a living from it, so I thought I’d give it a go. That was in 2015, and within three years, I’ve re-launched as a maker and found a market for my work. I feel this is partly due to having more life experience; the styling and graphic design experience has helped hugely with my branding and social media profile, and having had a desk job has made me realise how lucky I am to be my own boss and be in control of how and when I work.

Vannessa Hogge

I love ceramics, clay and, in particular, porcelain. It never ceases to amaze me that you can take something that resembles mud and transform it as if by magic into a unique and beautiful object. It’s intensely satisfying but not for the faint-hearted. Quite often I wonder why it has this appeal as so much can go wrong. Porcelain, for example, is a tricky material to work with. It has a mind and memory of its own and doesn’t like being bullied or contorted out of its comfort zone. It will reward you with a giant crack. Although clay is cheap, as a ceramicist you need large and expensive equipment like kilns that make finding studio space, especially in central London, tricky. But, of course, the pros far outweigh the cons.

“I’m addicted to the rhythm of repetitive action and how it can alter surfaces.”

Vannessa Hogge

I painstakingly build up surfaces by tearing, pinching, rolling and cutting the clay to form simple petals that blossom and grow into complex symmetrical forms. Each tiny flower is hand formed–no moulds used, so every piece is unique. I mostly work out my ideas in the clay. I’m obviously in love with flowers and gardens and the infinite patterns and possibilities that they offer. I also love looking at the different ways that flowers have been represented over the years by artists and designers as diverse as Japanese woodblocks from the 19th century, Frida Kahlo, Indian miniature paintings and Marianne North.


Being located in London is important to me. The Victoria and Albert Museum in Kensington is a great resource and a big part of my personal Creative Rituals; I nip over there often and never cease to find it inspiring. But, really time spent in my studio is what it’s all about. I’m there all day and every day. I need to put the hours in as my work is labour intensive–it helps that I love being there. I make rough scribbly notes in my diary when I see things I love, take a million pics a week on my iPhone and am constantly referring back to it as I’m working out new designs.

Vannessa Hogge
Photo by Jamie Trounce

Having a space at Cockpit Arts has benefitted me too, as there is a team of business advisers at hand to guide you through the process of running your own creative start-up. I actually applied for and won an Award—the Cockpit Arts/Radcliffe Craft Development Award—which entitled me to a free studio space for a year as well as a £1000 to spend on a master class of my choice; I went to Copenhagen in Denmark to visit the highly regarded ceramicist Bodil Manz.

Vannessa Hogge

Returning to my creativity and having to be quite selfish in the process has been my biggest challenge, but if I have any advice to give it would be, don’t lose a moment – follow your heart. If there’s something you’ve been meaning to do, get down to it right now! My 50s have been my best decade yet as I’ve unleashed a torrent of creativity that I wasn’t able to in my 20s, 30s and 40s! Just do it!

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