At work with: Polly Fern

Whilst we all continue to stay at home, Polly Fern shows us around her beautiful home and studio, whilst sharing her daily lockdown rituals with us.
Polly Fern illustration and ceramics
Polly Fern's home

Polly Fern is an illustrator and ceramicist living in Suffolk. Her work spans from pottery to paintings, prints and tableware. Her pieces are feminine and intricate, inspired predominately by local, historical and childhood stories. She’s displayed her work in galleries around the world including The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and The New Craftsmen in London. Polly recently had her first solo exhibition and pop-up shop at Pentreath & Hall in London.

With visiting still on hold for the time being, we asked Polly to be a part of our ‘At work with’ series from afar. Join us on a tour of Polly’s beautiful pink house in the heart of the Suffolk countryside.

At work with: Polly Fern 1

Can you tell us about your education and career path so far?

I studied Illustration at university and in my final year started creating ceramics. I wanted to use tiles, vessels and platters as a different way of depicting a story. I would share my work on Instagram and use it as a kind of sketchbook. I began to receive enquiries from people about purchasing works, so I opened up a simple online shop where I would sell my paintings and prints. Upon graduating, I went straight into freelancing in illustration and then joined the ceramic studio. I was commissioned by an antiques magazine to illustrate a monthly article during which time I kept developing my work process. Once I felt happy with the ceramics I had been producing, I started to sell them online. It’s evolved from there and now I have a ceramic studio in my garden that my boyfriend and I built when we moved into our home last year. I’m continually working on illustration commissions, collaborations and I did my first pop-up shop at Pentreath & Hall last October.
At work with: Polly Fern 2

What has been your none-negotiable daily ritual in lockdown?

My main daily ritual that never changes is when I get up in the morning I always feed my canaries and let them out for some exercise and a fly around before getting on with my day.

Do you have any favourite colour combinations?

The combinations are endless. I really love the combination of colours I have in my bedroom, which is a chalky blackened blue, with black, peach and a chartreuse green.

At work with: Polly Fern 3

Where do look to find inspiration for your pieces?

I look in so many different places, whether this is the shape of an antique plate, vase, piece of furniture or picking out a detail in the facade of a building. I love discovering local garden stories and illustrating elements of them upon my ceramics. There are many traditional techniques in the history of ceramics that I find inspiring. I love to merge different techniques together such as relief detailing, slip trailing and paper resist.
Polly Fern Painting

Is there a specific place in the world that you most want to visit once you can?

I would love to visit some places I have really enjoyed previously, such as beautiful Sicily or my boyfriends family in France. I work a lot with a company in Japan, so I would really like to visit there, hopefully soon!
At work with: Polly Fern 8

Are you reading anything at the moment?

I have purchased a book to read in lockdown but I am yet to even pick it up! These weeks have been taken over by work and house projects. I’ve really enjoyed spending this time to do creative crafts that I would never usually have time to do, such as quilting or embroidering a tablecloth. I’ve also learnt how to wallpaper and have done my landing in some of my own designs!
Polly Fern's ceramics studio

Is there a place for sustainability within your work?

Yes I would say so. I try to reclaim clay where I can and use the least amount of water as possible when creating my work. I always make sure my kiln is filled up to the brim before I put any firings on. I am very conscious about sustainability and doing my bit where I possibly can.

At work with: Polly Fern 7

What is your favourite Evermore scent and why?

Light – Sun & Wild Citrus as it reminds me of those long summer days. I love a combination of musky but fresh citrus scents, and I’m obsessed with bergamot.
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