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Clarice Cliff - Paint your own paper pottery!

Discover the ceramic style of the ground-breaking artist and designer Clarice Cliff.


This project is super colourful and easy to piant! If you're a beginner there are some lovely simple techniques to discover and there is a chance to do a little bit of freehand drawing too!


Working in the 1920’s & 30’s (which is known as the Art Deco period), Clarice Cliff was an innovator and trail blazer for women artists and entrepreneurs. Born in 1899 in Tunstall, Staffordshire, England, she left school at 13 (which was typical of the day), to work in one of the many pottery factories for which the area is famed.


She worked hard to gain a wide variety of skills during her early years and in 1916 she moved to the Wilkinson factory where her artistic skills were both recognised and nurtured. They sent her to the Royal College of Art and eventually gave her a studio of her own at Newport Pottery.

Here is where she developed her ‘Bizarre’ ware pottery which she was able to add her own name to! This really was unheard of at the time as women were employed to carry out the more mundane 'unskilled' jobs, while men were the designers and innovators.


She was the first to add her own name as a brand and as such she laid the path for modern female designers like Orla Kiely , Kath Kidston, Emma Bridgewater, Jo Malone etc. The popularity of her designs grew so rapidly she was able to hire many apprentices (above right) and by 1930 she was promoted to Director of all of Newport Pottery. To find out more about the life of Clarice Cliff you could watch the 2021 film 'The Colour Room' which highlights her remarkable success.


Despite Clarice Cliff pottery being 100 years old, it is still a favourite with collectors. Some of the original pieces can fetch a pretty penny. Christie's holds the auction record for a Clarice Cliff piece ~ a 1933 charger with the 'May Avenue' pattern (inspired by a Modigliani painting) achieved £39,950 back in 2003!


In this project you will have the chance to discover some of Cliff's beautiful designs and try your hand at curating your own collection! There are so many wonderful designs to choose from, I thought it would be a fun idea to celebrate both the pottery shapes and the actual surface designs. If you’re already a fan of Clarice Cliff you might like to complete your own research and paint pieces from your own collection or paint a selection of those on your wish list!



The final design of your painting will be entirely in your hands too - you can decide which pieces to include and which designs you will use. If you’re a fan of a particular pattern you could research the different shapes it comes in - equally if you’re a fan of a shape such as the conical sugar sifter, you could see how many different designs you can find.

Once you have drawn up your idea you can add the patterns freehand. This is a really good chance to practice your drawing.


Most of the patterns are quite basic but if you’re unsure where to start, don't worry, each video begins with me drawing the patterns onto the outline pottery shapes ~ so you can draw along with me!




To find out more about this project, take a look at the short video below.



I really hope you enjoy this new project. This is a great one if you're short on time as you can do as little (or as many) as you would like ~ and depending on the patterns, some can be finished in as little as 20 minutes! Warning though...once you start painting them they can be a little bit addictive!


Happy Painting!..and don't forget to share your results on the members forum or on Instagram ~ don't forget to tag me in your posts!

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