Round About Ceramics
Independent retailer focus:
Imogen Beard - Round About Ceramics
Round About makes handmade ceramic homeware from their studio near Bath, UK. Our pieces are hand-thrown by our founder, Imogen who studied at Chelsea College of Art in London. At Round About, we focus on creating small batches of the highest quality. Our ceramics have a strong focus on functionality and are inspired by the Art Deco movement and the 1960’s bold use of colour. Round About’s minimal yet bright, colourful designs merge beauty and functionality in everyday life.
We chat to Founder of Round About Ceramics, Imogen Beard, as she explains her process to design, create and produce her individual ceramics. Imogen also divulges how she discovered her love of using clay, plus her plans for 2021.
I understand you have a unique way of selling your ceramics, how does this work?
Round About works in a pop up fashion. That is, I create a certain amount of stock in preparation for the shop update. I then advertise it on social media, giving notice of the update and consequently build awareness. On the chosen date, the shop goes live and products become available on my website. There is limited stock and when everything has sold out, then the pop up shop closes. So far each launch has been very successful and my ceramics have sold out within a day.
"Round About works in a pop up fashion. That is, I create a certain amount of stock in preparation for the shop update. I then advertise it on social media, giving notice of the update and consequently build awareness."
Does Roundabout Ceramics have a stance on sustainability?
Doing our bit to be eco-friendly is important to Round About. Our boxes are made from recycled materials. Each order is hand-wrapped in paper bubblewrap and surrounded by bio-degradable corn starch chips that dissolve in water! Our paper tape is self-adhesive and our stickers are made from recycled paper with no solvent. If you find plastic bubblewrap or plastic packing chips in your order then it will be second (maybe even third) hand to avoid unnecessary plastic going into landfill. The products I create are also designed to last when used with care, and can be used time and time again.
What are your plans for this year?
I’m currently working on developing some new colour glazes and expanding my product range, making versatile ceramics that have a fun design element. I’m also looking to try out a few new fun techniques in 2021, but my customers will have to wait and see!
How do people find out about your shop updates?
You can keep up to date by signing up to my newsletter on my website. I will then send you news about the pop up shop dates and reminders about when they will be happening.
You can also keep informed by following me on Instagram @roundaboutceramics where I regularly post about what I’m up to with some behind the scenes footage as well.
Stay up-to-date with Imogen's work and pop-up shop dates by joining the mailing list. Just click the link:
Click here to browse the shop:
You can send Imogen an e-mail here:
Click the links to follow Round About Ceramics on social media
What inspired you to call the business Round About Ceramics?
There are a couple reasons to why I arrived at Round About, firstly, it’s actually quite a silly story about when I as young and had sleepovers at my best friend’s house in Bath which happened to be near a roundabout. We once all sat up in the middle of the night having seen a flash of headlights each thinking that a lorry was about to drive into the house. We still laugh about it to this day. There is also a clear connection with the action, symbolising the wheel head spinning as I throw.
When did you discover your love of using clay?
I graduated in 2018 from Chelsea College of Arts, UAL, where I studied Fine Art. During my time at secondary school we were encouraged to try out many forms of media and I was introduced to clay. This continued through my degree years, ultimately dedicating my degree show to a project in ceramics. In the summer holidays of 2017 I took a short course at the well known Bernard Leach Pottery in St Ives where I learned the technique to throw on the wheel. From then on I fell in love! It’s in the blood as my Grandma used to be a potter’s assistant and in late 2018 she helped me purchase my first wheel. Round About Ceramics took off from there. At the beginning of 2020, I attended a fascinating course in Kyoto, Japan where I learnt to throw using Eastern techniques, where for example, the wheel spins in the opposite direction.
How do you go about creating your products?
I create minimal yet bright, colourful designs merging beauty and functionality to suit everyday life. I start by drawing an initial design, create a prototype, develop a glaze, trial the product, adapt and then produce stock.
For example, how long does it take to make an individually designed hand-thrown mug?
From start to finish, it take about two weeks once the design has been finalised. This involves throwing on the wheel, attaching handles, a drying time and then the first firing called a bisque firing which heats the ceramics to about 1000 degrees C. The kiln takes a day itself to heat up and then almost another day to cool down. Next I begin the task of glazing and then glaze fire to 1260 degrees C which turns the glaze to glass and ensures the clay becomes no longer porous.