Maker of the Month:

M A N I F E S T O

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We recently received lots of new stock from an existing maker - M A N I F E S T O - aka Kate Rose Johnston prompting us to revive Maker of the Month after the long post fire Summer hiatus. We’re so happy to be back and talking to the people who make Welcome Home what it is with their combined creative efforts! These always different, always charming, ceramic wares attract attention such a breadth of people for their diverse and playful aesthetic. You can almost tell their maker has her origins in fine art from their expressive nature!

M A N I F E S T O ’ s manifesto -

  • a world of colour and play

  • a culture of sustainable living and conscious consumption

  • a belief in the sensory enjoyment of the handmade

M A N I F E S T O is in its infancy as a ceramics studio and we love nothing more than to help bolster and guide new design and watch it evolve and blossom. We’re so excited to see what Katie does next! : - )

Hello Katie! For starters, have you always been a creative person? What are you creative origins?

My interest in making developed at an early age.  What fascinated me was the ability to create all these diverse and detailed worlds through play – which is still how I work in the studio today. My earliest memory is making a tiny house out of a matchbox which featured intricate moving parts, for example a miniature basketball going into a hoop and a shower spurting sweetie-paper ‘water’. My fascination with making and experimenting with different materials continued throughout my teens and early 20s, where I loved to sew, draw and make models. This lead me to The Glasgow School of Art, where I studied Sculpture and graduated in 2017.


You’ve come from studying fine art to making objects with a more direct functionality. How do you reconcile the roles of artist and designer? Are they complimentary for you or at odds?

The roles of artist and designer are complimentary. Additionally to running M A N I F E S T O, I work as a visual artist, where I create immersive sculptural installations that challenge the perceptions of craft, the woman and the domestic environment. I started M A N I F E S T O back in December 2017 so that I could explore these subjects from a different perspective. For me, both practices inform each other organically and I often find myself exploring questions raised from my sculptures in my M A N I F E S T O products and vice versa.

As an artist, I am drawn to blurring the terse boundaries between craft and the art world - particularly when it comes to the idea of functionality. This is a recurring fascination for me, both in my business and sculptural practice. Earlier this year, I was Deveron Project’s  Artist in Residence and in this role collaborated directly with the community of Huntly. Through a series of workshops, we built The Community Crockery, a two-hundred piece dinner set made and designed by local residents. This project was a fantastic experience as the crockery can be seen simultaneously as a dinner set and as well as an artwork in its own right. It can be experienced through touch, use and can even be broken. It’s subtle craftivism.


Why ceramics, what about the material/process did you find exciting?

Ceramics is a fantastic medium because it allows me to work very intuitively. The sculptures and products that I make have a very playful aesthetic – which suits the softness and malleability of clay perfectly. It’s a complex process too, so I am always challenged when I create. When glazing, the medium is very unpredictable – you never have total control over the final result. As well as this, ceramics has a long historic connection with humanity and the home – we have used clay to make domestic objects for thousands of years; it’s an exciting thought to work with an old material in a new form.


Your style is so diverse, what does your process look like and where do you draw your inspiration from?
Including the concepts I talked a little of previously, play and experimentation are the driving forces behind my products. I love to settle down in the studio with the radio on and experiment with shape, size and colour for products and I often get inspiration from my home. Working from my home studio means that I am in constant connection with the environment I create my products for - I am always looking about me to see what functional objects I would love to have in my life. As well as this, I am compelled to try my hand at every process I can and this often leads to new discoveries that challenge how I create. 

What’s your best creative tip for getting through a Glasgow winter?

Join an evening class! I’ve signed up for a slip-casting class at the Glasgow Sculpture Studios this year. Not only is it fab to learn a new skill, it’s the perfect way to get out of the house on a cold night and meet new people. 

Lastly Please pick a favourite product from the shop!

Can I pick two? My heart is divided between Viv Lee’s tactile ceramics and Sunboy Toy’s adorable, recycled creations. I’ll take them all please!


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Images by Katie Rose Johnston.