Welcome to the Muse Series! This week I connected with Jaye, the founder of a brand I adore - Argilo, based in Cornwall. Jaye takes inspiration from slow living and the Mediterranean, crafting beautiful vessels and homewares to elevate everyday rituals. You can view her work here, visit the Argilo instagram, shop the "ritual cup" - a favourite of mine - and stay tuned for an exciting collaboration!
Argilo takes inspiration from slow living and the Mediterranean, which is very much aligned to Palm of Feronia’s outlook. What is it about this way of life that resonates with you?
For me, there is a really deeply rooted association between the Med and relaxation. Indulging in stillness, living slowly and simply. I have been so lucky to grow up visiting different parts of the Mediterranean, and I think the experience of these places is a wonderfully sensory one. The blissful feeling of the sun on your skin, the simple pleasures of juicy fruit and floating in the ocean. In my daily life, I can be prone to sensory overload, particularly when I am feeling burnt out and my mind is busy. Spending time dedicated to doing nothing and soaking in pleasurable smells, flavours, sensations, and surroundings is the ultimate leisure. It is such a difficult thing to articulate, I just feel so whole, content and at peace in these places. Of course, for most of us, this way of life is something we can only indulge in for a week or two out of the year before we head back to 'reality'. My hope for my ceramics is that they can bring with them a moment of escapism and joy.
Slowing down naturally plays into self-care, pausing to reset and grounding yourself. What are your daily self-care rituals?
Slowing down is something I advocate so much because it is something that I work at every day. It is not something that comes naturally to me, especially the kind of self-care that is truly important. I am learning that self-care is more about making conscious rituals that benefit me and my body long term, not just in that moment. I spend a lot of the day inside, sitting down at the wheel. So after work, I try to get outside and move my body, carving out time between work and dinner for a short walk, a run, or a swim down by the river. Something that gets me into my body and out of my head. I am quite prone to burnout and expecting a lot of myself, so using this time to transition from work into leisure time has made a profound difference for me in staying grounded. At bedtime, I love to drink a mug of herbal tea and use aromatherapy oils to unwind. Creating these rituals around sleep is a signal to my brain that it is ok to switch off.
Crafting ceramics requires a great deal of patience and focus. How do you prepare for a day in your studio?
My preparation starts with what I put on in the mornings - I have to wear super comfy clothes in the studio. Sometimes a rogue bra strap or tight pair of jeans can be really distracting and throw my focus off, especially when I'm sat at the wheel for hours straight. I throw on some leggings and a sweatshirt and tie my hair loosely. When I arrive at the studio, I make my coffee and spend the first hour easing into the day. My brain takes a bit of time to get into gear in the morning so I like to do some menial tasks and moving things around before I sit down at the wheel to focus. There's always prep needed for every task in pottery - getting out tools, filling your bowl of water, covering and uncovering pieces, wedging clay, mixing glaze buckets, and unloading the kiln. I use this time to plan out my day in my head and decide what I feel like listening to. I have a selection of podcasts and audiobooks on rotation which helps me with my rhythm. I try to avoid the radio or podcasts discussing the news and politics as these subjects can cause emotional responses which aren't helpful!
As a one-woman business, backing yourself and being your own cheerleader is essential. What do you most like about yourself?
Thank you for asking this! It's not something I consider often, it's so easy to focus on where you want to be rather than where you are. I'm learning that I am a resilient person - there have been lots of obstacles over the past few years and I'm proud of how I have adapted and come through stronger. Recent times have taught us that nothing is solid, everything moves. We have to be open to moving with it. I'm an emotional decision-maker and go with my gut - for better or worse, I know that being true to myself will lead me where I am meant to go.
What do you think you’d be doing if you hadn’t founded Argilo? What are your other passions?
I think about this a lot actually. All of my life I have felt compelled to create in some way. I'm a very visual person and I can't really imagine doing anything which didn't lean that way. It's what lights me up. I studied illustration but didn't feel that was my path in the end. I found pottery at a time when I was feeling pretty lost and directionless and found so many answers in the clay. Founding Argilo started as something just for me, ceramics was bringing me such joy and I just wanted to share that and see where it went. I'm not a particularly "career driven" person, it just matters to me that I am feeling challenged and inspired by what I do. I'm not someone who plans far into the future, I change my mind a lot and have lots of ideas for which direction things could go. I'd like to travel more and perhaps work remotely designing for a while.
Is there anything you're reading, watching or listening to that you're finding particularly inspiring or helpful right now?
It's a niche one, but I am enjoying catching up with episodes of 'The Potters Cast' - it is a podcast interviewing potters around the world. Although it has a pottery focus, many of the interviews are talking about a range of subjects around working for yourself, creativity, and motivations. I love reading but need time to do so - I can't pick up a book for a chapter each night, I have to read a book all in one go. We are going away in June for some sunshine and I can't wait to lay back and tear through a few good books!