Our work is in The Tate! (and pottery is therapeutic)

Our work is in The Tate Modern. Well, it will be in the Tate Edit shop at Tate Modern from October 16th to be accurate.

In the Summer The Tate put out Open Call on Instagram. They were looking for objects by UK based makers / designers, to be beautiful and useful for the home. I thought our work could be the kind of thing they were after, so applied.

Instagram post in May

Earlier in the year we had had an un-planned hiatus in production and when the Open Call came it the seemed the right time for a fresh challenge. I applied with two of our products: a decorated beaker and a decorated pourer. I chose them because the shapes are relatively quick and easy for James to throw (being upright and not having lids or handles) and moreover, both forms lend themselves perfectly to my decoration.  We were shortlisted and subsequently the Tate placed an order.

decorated beakers h: 10cm 2019

beaker “backs”

I hope the pots suit the venue. I see them appealing to visitors who have an interest in contemporary Art and Design as much as Craft or Studio Pottery. In my presentation at the Tate, one of the interview panel commented “I can see you’re influenced by Constructivism…” she may be right but I suspect a more powerful influence came long before I had any knowledge of Art History, in the forms of dolly mixture and fuzzy felt… the influence of aesthetic play on a child.

decorated pourer h: 11.5cm

When people have said to us “Pottery is so therapeutic isn’t it?” James and I have tended to look at them askance, not wanting to disagree, acknowledging that for some people in some situations it is therapeutic, yet not really able to relate. After all, the first two weeks of my apprenticeship were spent learning to use a packing tape dispenser so that the tape was straight and un-creased. We were taught that Pottery was a SERIOUS business; that everything mattered and had to be RIGHT (see archive post The Perfectionist Problem).

Some twenty years on from having mastered a tape dispenser I think I get it. Pottery is therapeutic. It is because it matters that I can give it my full attention. All other concerns (which possibly matter more) are (temporarily) waived as I visit a place of pure shape, colour and design… bliss!

Thanks for reading.

For more examples of our decorated work please look here.




8 thoughts on “Our work is in The Tate! (and pottery is therapeutic)”

  1. Erika Harding

    I believe the process of making demands concentration. With certain craft the effort to do this can exclude all other thought , creating an almost mediated state. Pottery therapeutic? For me definitely!

    1. Tilla Waters Post Author

      Thanks Ruth! It’ll be really interesting to see if they are hot cakes! Am I right in thinking you live in Edinburgh? We’re sending work to The Scottish Gallery in a few weeks.
      With best wishes,

  2. Roger


    Did you have a say in how they are presented/ displayed?

    Have you been to the Tate to see how they look, if so, how do you feel?



    1. Tilla Waters Post Author

      Hi Roger, Thanks for your comment. They’ll be “launched” on the 16th Oct so in just under a weeks time. No, we didn’t discuss presentation – I guess it’s up to them but I’ll ask a London friend to go and have a look for me.
      Best wishes, Tilla

    1. Tilla Waters Post Author

      Thank you so much Adele! We’re curious to see how well they do, it’s such a different outlet to our other ones, but it certainly would be great to get another order.
      Best wishes,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>