JOY & INSPIRATION: Pip Wilcox Ceramics & Makers 4 Refugees

by Susan Green March 09, 2017

JOY & INSPIRATION: Pip Wilcox Ceramics & Makers 4 Refugees

I discovered the work of Hastings-based ceramicist Pip Wilcox via Instagram. Increasingly her stoneware pieces pop up in the feeds of people I follow so her aesthetic has become a familiar part of my daily inspiration, even though I don't yet have the pleasure of living with one of her pieces. Her wheel thrown bud vases with their tactile, hand carved faceted designs are a particular delight (hello, snowdrops).
Pip Wilcox Ceramics Vase 2

Pip and I have quite a different experience of making and selling: these days 90% of my work is to commission - bespoke, one-off books - whereas Pip rarely works in this way. Pip's approach to her work - the making process, managing stock levels, organising work flow - is one that I admire deeply; she makes what she feels she is called to make, she makes it in the way she feels is right for the work, and she restocks her online shop from time to time, when she has made enough to make the admin involved worthwhile. This is a maker who knows how to manage her energy levels, knows how to make work work for her, and has the quiet self-assurance to dance to her own drum.

Pip Wilcox

Image credit: Conrad Lee

One of the clever ways Pip manages her stock - items sell incredibly quickly, leading to disappointment for some - is with her Ceramics Club Membership. For a one-off membership fee, you are guaranteed to receive four pieces of her work over the course of a year.

Pip Wilcox Ceramics

Inspirational work, but you haven't heard it all. Pip is the person behind Makers 4 Refugees, which she describes as:

"A simple project founded on a desire to make a difference through making."

In 2016 we have become increasingly aware of the shock and trauma various communities around the world, especially in Syria, Calais and Greece, are experiencing as refugees. Many are left wondering, but what can I do? As Pip relates:

"There have been days when I have felt powerless and ineffectual - and aware of my privilege. On those days making can seem like an insignificant and pointless activity. But it's what we Makers can do. Our collective ability is to make objects of use and beauty. And to do it with love."

So in December, Pip contacted a handful of designer-makers and launched the fundraising project Makers 4 Refugees. Now some 40 makers have signed up to each take one week this year during which the proceeds from the work they make, promote and sell will go to the charity Help Refugees. This charity is operational in areas governments and NGOs are unable or unwilling to work, funding projects in 22 refugee camps to provide shelter, medical aid, education, water & sanitation, women & children's services and other necessities vital to human safety and dignity. 

At the time of writing, just a few weeks into the project (which runs right through to mid-December), Makers 4 Refugees has raised £3,294, or 32% of its target £10,000. You can contribute by buying work from the makers, who are listed here. Or you can donate here. The project has expanded to include workshops including weaving, photography and ceramics so there are plenty of opportunities to get involved.

I could learn a thing or two from Pip Wilcox. What about you?


Pip Wilcox Ceramics

Makers 4 Refugees Information

Makers 4 Refugees fundraising page

Instagram #makers4refugees

Help Refugees 

ALL IMAGES COPYRIGHT PIP WILCOX, 2017 unless otherwise credited.

Susan Green
Susan Green


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