Get to know one of our newer members, Mandisa, founder of ceramics studio Stuff n Fings.
How did Stuff n Fings begin?
I’ve always been creative and love working with my hands. I’m always making something; crochet, clothes, decorating kids furniture, and I studied Surface Textile Design at university. I’ve jumped around various creative industries – music, fashion – but never really had a life plan. When I had my son, it made me question if I wanted to work in an office or be more artistic.
How did you discover a love for ceramics? What excites you the most about the art form?
Ceramics happened by accident! I would have never thought of it. I did a taster workshop last year doing hand building and throwing with a great leader called Nam. His style is young, modern, non-traditional, and I fell in love. I became a member of his studio for a year where I really got to learn the craft and found that hand building was my thing. I wouldn’t call myself a potter, but I love the medium and how it feeds creativity.
Why did you choose Peckham Levels for your studio space?
I heard about it when it was opening, but always assumed I’d missed the boat. To be honest, I hadn’t really considered a studio space for me before being at Nam’s studio. I then met Femi (Events Curator for Peckham Levels) and he told me they had studio availability and everything just kind of fell into place. I live in the area so it works for my lifestyle and it felt like the next logical step.
What are your favourite things about Peckham in general?
I like its grittiness, but there’s still a really strong family vibe. I used to live in Hackney and Peckham’s got a similar feel. You can say hello to people on the street which is nice.
What can people expect from your workshops?
Two and a half hours to immerse themselves with clay! It’s info packed but with a lot of freedom so they can get a real feel for the craft. You get to glaze as well which a lot of courses wouldn’t allow. It’s straightforward, friendly and open. People often comment on how meditative it is! Everyone always comes away with something different – it’s a lot of fun to watch.
What does the future hold for Stuff n Fings?
I’m meeting with international artists at the moment. I found an artist via Instagram and reached out. Turns out he was running a residency at Leech Pottery, so I did a studio workshop with him and really learnt a lot. He then put me in touch with someone doing a residency in South Africa next year; I applied and was accepted, so working towards that at the moment.
I also want to look into a funding programme to reach out to people who wouldn’t normally think of trying ceramics and let them give it a go. The classes would be subsidised so it really would be accessible to all – all ages, all abilities, everyone!
Stuff ‘n’ Fings runs ceramics workshops every Sunday, three times throughout the day. Classes are two and a half hours long and run at 10am, 1pm and 4pm. Prices are £30-£35. Further information can be found here.