Fashionable Features


L-J Andrew caught up with celebrated designer, Henry Holland, to find out more about his latest venture creating made-to-order handmade ceramics

The former Creative Director of fashion label House of Holland, Henry Holland first discovered a love of ceramics during lockdown. Intended as a creative outlet, as he took a break from fashion, he stumbled across his interpretation of the Nerikomi technique, while sat at his kitchen table, when government restrictions meant he was no longer able to attend lessons at his local Hackney pottery studio.

Henry quickly fell in love with the meditative practice of building each piece by hand, a process which provided a new, and welcome pace of working, following years spent in the frenetic world of fashion.

What was behind the move into ceramics?

I stepped away from my fashion business at the beginning of the pandemic and was taking ceramics lessons in the evenings as a creative outlet. I quickly became hooked. I love the way I can create something in total isolation. I find the process very soothing and meditative. To contribute to someone’s personal environment in this way, to be enjoyed, and to create treasured possessions, that’s the kind of connection we are all looking for.

Tell us about the Nerikomi technique

The technique involves stacking, folding and rolling coloured clay into slabs, then hand moulding them into functional shapes, meaning each piece is organic in nature, and totally unique. Building on this uniqueness, each object combines colours of the different earthenware clays, creating a signature colours, combinations and patterns, rather than painting them on with glaze.

How does your experience as a designer translate into your homeware range?

There are lots of transferable skills. I think the process is informed by my previous design experience and the desire to create distinct, mesmerising patterns. I’m really enjoying the slower creative output pace in the homeware world too.

Where do you find your inspiration?

I always say that anyone with a creative brain is like a sponge– we absorb ideas from the world around us and then look at ways of reinterpreting those impressions through our creative work. It’s not always a blessing. Sometimes it can be hard to switch off.

How would you describe your design style?

It’s reflective of my personality - playful, bold and colourful. I’ve always operated on the basis of making things that I love, as there’s the given opportunity for others to love them too.

Do you have a favourite piece to work on?

I enjoy making all pieces, but if I had to choose, I’d say it’s the vases that we have in our collection, more specifically ‘The Profumo’.

Why is it important to have handmade pieces?

Coming from a fashion background where I worked with manufacturers all over the world and was reliant heavily on others people’s timelines, there’s something comforting in being able to personally follow through each stage of the creative process. I can go to the studio and manage the journey of the pieces being made and that feels really special.

What do we have to look forward to in the future from Henry Holland Studios?

We’ve recently launched our glassware range and have several more categories coming later in the year. We’re enjoying what we’re doing so much, that we’re taking each day as it comes.


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