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Freya Bramble-Carter: An Interview with MIRROR WATER

Freya Bramble-Carter is a ceramics artist who creates tableware as well as larger sculptural vessels. Freya’s work changes frequently, the product of her curiosity and desire to keep learning and experimenting. Based in London, Freya also teaches ceramics classes from her workshop. Freya talked to MIRROR WATER about her approach to clay, and how insights about ceramics often apply to everyday life, too.

MIRROR WATER: Can you describe your studio?

FREYA BRAMBLE-CARTER: My studio goes from shockingly, horrendously, embarrassingly messy (more like a storage cupboard of pots and equipment turned upside down!) to then looking like a super neat showroom with an exuberance of shiny glazed work on show, often laid out on linens and wooden plinths. If I could hire somebody to look after my studio and keep it organised without breaking work, I would. (Anyone out there?!) It usually takes people a while to learn how to be around delicate stuff. I think even being careful takes practise. Last night my apprentice broke a couple of huge pieces with just one step, so I also have to constantly let go otherwise I’d be in tears most of the time with all the heartache pottery gives you—things just simply go wrong!

MIRROR WATER: Did having a family background in ceramics make it easier or harder to forge your own style of pottery? How did you develop your pottery style?

FREYA BRAMBLE-CARTER: I think having my father as my role model working with this material meant I was heavily flavoured by his style, but that’s only because I really, really like it! Other ceramics never initiated me in the same way. There is a depth of something magical within the essence of my father’s sculptures that I saw in my living spaces growing up—it drew me in. He gave me a strong skills backing so that I can make what I want.

Now I go with my own flow and develop my style very organically. Sometimes I’m inspired by things that I’ve seen, other times I’m stretching myself, pouring my inside out. It’s interesting to see what I can pull out of me. Overall I am not attached to a limited style; I’d rather free fall for now. I say ‘limited’ just because I don’t like feeling restricted and I think I would be bored if I narrowed my style. Also, mirroring this ever-changing world, it’s exciting to ride these waves of change, stay open and fluid in my self and work. I say all this but from the outside many people would say I already have a strong style.

MIRROR WATER: Do you have a favourite tool?

FREYA BRAMBLE-CARTER: My favourite tool is the metal kidney. It is quite sharp, very easy to cut yourself with, and I use this to refine my shapes when I’m throwing on the wheel. It compresses the clay, helping to strengthen and straighten a clay wall. I must say the ultimate best tools are definitely these wiggly fingers I was born with. My hands have changed, though. They have developed muscle and are a lot chunkier than my twin sister’s. Our hands used to be identical, now mine are like Olympic-ly strong, weathered pointers with no nails!

MIRROR WATER: What is your preferred way to rest and recuperate?

FREYA BRAMBLE-CARTER: At the moment there’s no separation between work and spare time outside of work. I go home and lie on my back and melt into myself. Meditate. Make vegetable-food. If it’s the perfect time for it or I feel a blockage that I’m struggling with, I’ll get my diary out, have myself my own therapy session. Reaching for better, loving thoughts is always helpful.

I hope you enjoyed this insightful interview with Freya Bramble-Carter, a ceramic artist who balances creativity, teaching, and life in a harmonious blend.

MIRROR WATER: Can you tell us more about the Venus retrograde that’s just ended? 

Alice Bell: Venus has been retrograde since July 22nd. It happens for 40 days, and it only occurs every year and a half, so it's more major when it happens. While Mercury is all about communication, Venus is all about relationships, personal style, creativity, and finances, so those areas of your life are up for inspection during a Venus retrograde. This is why you may have heard of huge celebrity breakups happening. It meant people going through relationship changes, but it doesn't necessarily have to be bad.

Lately, researching your full chart – rather than just sun – has become more popular.
Is it possible to relate more to your moon or rising signs? 

Alice Bell: The qualities associated with rising and moon signs tend to come a little bit more easily to you – moon signs embody early childhood habits, which is how you emotionally react to things without thinking, whereas the sun is the identity you're growing into over the course of your lifetime. That can sometimes feel uncomfortable because it's challenging to learn and grow and improve and work towards developing those sun sign traits more, which is why when you're younger, you might not feel as much like your sun sign. 

MIRROR WATER: What advice would you give to someone who’s learning about astrology for the first time? Is Co-Star okay to look into? Or what about magazine-style horoscopes? 

Alice Bell: I'm not a fan of Co-Star, but the app Chani is great for seeing your circular chart pulled up – like what planets are in what houses. I also love and – those are my favourites for entering in your birth information. Then also my book, because the first section of it is like, “This is what your birth chart is, these are the signs, these are the planets.”

MIRROR WATER: What do you think are any misconceptions about astrology or horoscopes? 

Alice Bell: I would say a big one is people saying: “Oh, my horoscope doesn't make sense, so astrology is not accurate.” Everyone that has the same sign is not gonna have the same week, it’s more complex than that. First off, you should be reading horoscopes for your rising sign, not your sun sign, because the way they're written is, “I'm bringing the sign I'm talking about to the first house,” so it's the rising of the chart. Then I'm seeing where the planets are in the sky this week, and if you look at the rising, that's the same as if you were to go to an astrologer. I would tell you: “These are the transits happening, and this is what to watch out for moving forward.”

Follow Alice Bell here, and shop her book Trust Your Timing here.
Meanwhile, find out what’s going on astrologically this week here.