DOR & TAN: Traditional processes make every piece of ceramic unique.


Hello! We are Sharron, Peter, Viola and Matt and we run ceramic design studio DOR & TAN. We are located in Cornwall with has given us a strong motive to reflect our surroundings in our work but also to tread lightly on the environment




Who /what is your inspiration? Our inspiration is very sporadic. Influences come from Cornwall’s colour pallet and textures such as lichens and rocks forms. Also we are all interested in minimalism and functionality of items in the home, Dieter Rams is definitely an influence with his idea of “less, but better”.

How did you get to where you are today? Slow and hard work, a lot of persistence and hope too. Working with local businesses at the beginning in our home town St Ives really helped and Origin coffee roasters. But none of them would have known about us if it wasn’t for our Instagram account to be honest.

What task do you prefer to delegate? All of us have different tasks we dislike. I’d say all of us would prefer not to glaze as it wears you out a bit. But saying that seeing the finished work come out the kiln after makes it worth it.

If we asked you to pick your favourite product, what would it be and why?Hard to say really, sort of like picking a favourite child. 

What is the most exciting thing that has happened since you began your journey with Dor & Tan? Just having the freedom to do and make what you want is one of the most and probably always will be one of the most exciting things that happened and happens.

Which famous person would you love to buy your products and why? Not quite sure to be honest, we’ve had quite a few famous sports people buy our work surprisingly. Though there is this family (not famous) that comes down with their kids each year to see us. The children get to pick their favourite colour beaker so they can collect them all. Always very heartwarming.

Do you prefer sketchbook or laptop? None of us use laptops for designing, our process is quite free at the beginning with just sitting at the wheel with a general idea of what you want to make. Then a lot of tweaking and fine tuning sizes, form, texture, colour etc comes later. Normally you can find peoples scraps of paper they’ve been jotting notes down on strewn around the studio. Not the most organised way of designing but clay isn’t very organised as a material.

Which is you favourite process  - Design or Make? Both really. Designing is always fun and free but takes a lot of time. Making is sort of mediative, feels cathartic to carry a project through to the end.

What do you use everyday that you wish you had designed? We own a lot of Muji items by Naoto Fukasawa like kettles, rice maker, etc. Very minimal beautiful forms, but making a ceramic kettle is probably a bad idea.

What constitutes your perfect day off? Taking our rescue Greyhound Juno for a walk along the coastline at Gwithian. Or a trip out to Cadgwith. Though pottering about at the allotment is pretty relaxing too. 

Do you have a favourite small brand you are loving at the moment? Very much in love with Vackertass for UK handmade dog accessories.

What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? Probably very similar but making in different materials, knitting, weaving garments would be a lot of fun.

Do you have a studio playlist? At the moment we have two studios so Peter and Sharron play a lot of 70’s rock and jazz. Viola and Matt are into an… eclectic mix of genres, which might not all go together in the same playlist.

Tea or coffee in the studio? Matt and Sharron are very much coffee people, and of course it’s always Origin coffee. Peter swings both ways depending on the time of day. Viola is only tea, she has enough energy without the caffeine.

What can we expect in the future? At the moment we are completely logger headed with orders, which is amazing of course but means we’ve had little to no time to design new objects. So we’re working on those making production issues a bit. But once that’s sorted we hope to design a lot more one off batches, vases, teapots, pendant lighting etc. We have some collaboration projects in the works too but can’t really say much about those yet. Also we hope to work on some new colour pallets next year. So fingers crossed we can get to that soon!

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