The second artist bringing exciting elements to our DR Congo - SOPACDI Women's Coffee campaign is Lilly Maetzig aka Mae Ceramics.

Q: You’re originally a Kiwi just like Allpress! How did you find yourself in London?

I am indeed! I used to live a ten-minute walk from Allpress in Christchurch. When I found Allpress Dalston in London was 10 minutes away from my flat here, I was very excited. It felt like visiting a café back home, there were so many Kiwi accents all in one place! 

I moved to London in 2016 with the idea of living here on my two-year working visa and spending all of my money on travelling around Europe before going back home. I very quickly fell in love with the city though — it's been seven years now and I've found that all of my money is either spent doing things in London or going back home every couple of years to visit family and friends. Sadly those airfares eat up most of the travel budget and most of Europe is still yet to be explored!

Q: How did you get into ceramics?

I was first introduced to clay at art school in 2012. We were using it to make sculptural forms, and I was immediately fixated on how much it changed when it went through the kiln — it felt like a form of alchemy. When I graduated, I headed off to a pottery night class to use the space and the kilns to keep going with my sculptural work. I also gave the wheel a go; I found that I was terrible at it.

Being a very stubborn person, I decided to stick to it until I was able to make a pot that someone would actually want to use, and it went from there. When I moved to London, I was working at a café and had no intention of making ceramics until I moved back to NZ. I found myself pretty unhappy not making anything though, so I found a little shared studio to keep going with it. It was much pricier here than it was back home, so I had to get good fast to be able to fund my expensive habit. From there I was able to move to a studio by myself to keep growing.

Q: How would you describe your signature style?

My style is pretty minimal. I love sharp lines and using a limited colour palette to let the forms speak for themselves. I use a signature speckled clay, with little flecks of iron blooming through all of my glazes. Each piece is slightly different as you can't control where the flecks will come through, which I love. I love including little playful things in my work occasionally — like a big silly handle or some fun glazes. It breaks up the seriousness of my work and introduces some personality into my studio.

Q: What’s your favourite collection of work you’ve done to date? Commission or something inspired by your own ideas?

I visited Italy in 2019 and went to a few museums there and was completely taken by the collection of ancient porcelain pieces on show. I have used many of these forms as inspiration and recreated them in my own style. It's called the Florence Series and it's an ongoing project — I make two or three at a time every few months when I feel like I need to do something different. It continues to inspire and challenge me and every piece that comes out of the kiln fills me with joy. 

Q: Tell us about the wee stamps on these cups — what do they mean?

I worked with the team at Allpress to decide on how we would decorate the cups, and we came up with using stamps to represent both the pollination of the coffee flowers, as well as to show a hint to the tasting notes of these special beans. We used a flower and a bee to show that there are notes of honey and a floral flavour to the brew. 

To see more of Lilly's work, follow her on instagram or visit her website.