Saving grace: Ceramicist Kathleen Hills reveals her salvaged treasures

view gallery VIEW GALLERY


The ceramicist Kathleen Hills has been living in her Victorian home in Charlton, south London, for 10 years now. She bought the house with her partner, and still loves what first attracted them to it – there's lots of light, and lots of room for all the different things they need a home to be.

"The house works hard for us – I work in the cellar and I have an office upstairs," she explains, adding that her 17-year-old son also presides over his own space. "He somehow managed to get the biggest room in the house, with a flat-screen TV and a sofa, and he won't budge!"

The design and decoration of their home is a joint effort between Hills and her partner. "He's a graphic designer, so we have typographic prints up that are his and all the knick-knacks are mine. We just keep adding to it, some new bits and some vintage bits – it layers up, really, whenever we find something."

Her own work can be spied throughout the house, although being surrounded by her designs in the studio in the cellar, she doesn't want to overdo it: "I don't really have it all around the house; it would get a bit much for me, and for everyone else."

Hills' ceramic pieces – clusters of lights, crockery, vases and lampshades – are usually made of a pure white porcelain, offering a clean, cool aesthetic. She admits to being particularly fond of the cluster lights, which were one of her first pieces and a popular success.

But when it comes to her own home, Hills also likes to go in quite a different direction: " I like to collect colourful plastics and brighter objects, so we have paler walls, then focus on the bright objects. [In my own work] I'm not really a fan of coloured glazes – for me it's more about the form than the colour. I like the whiteness, all my ceramics are white, but we have a lot of coloured plastic at home."

The unusual floors are a case in point. In the bedroom, where own might expect stripped boards, Hills has laid down vintage lino in a hectic red-and-blue pattern. The lino, which hails from the 1930s, was salvaged from her old neighbour's house; Hills had always loved it, and when it was being ripped out, she saved it from the skip to give it a new lease of life.

Bestowing a fresh purpose on an old or unwanted object seems natural to Hills; the "jewellery box" above the fireplace in her bedroom, on which she hangs her chunky plastic necklaces, is also made of salvaged material: "It's the inside of a chair that I've chopped up and sprayed and I just hang things on it," she explains. "It started life as a bit of an experimental project and it ended up as a jewellery box."

Hills' work takes her to various design shows, and some of her decorations come from swapping her own pieces for items made by fellow ceramicists. Those brightly coloured, quirky hand-shaped coat hooks came in an exchange with Thelermont Hupton five years ago. "There's a series of these hands and some are rude... I chose the friendly ones as it's right where you come in the house, and they're a bit more welcoming."

For more:

Discover more property articles at Homes and Property
Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
peopleControversial comedian stages pro-equality Hanukkah lighting during a protest at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall
Arts and Entertainment
The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
arts + ents140-year-old choir declared winner of Sky Arts' 'The Great Culture Quiz'
Life and Style
food + drink
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Finance Director

£65000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Finance Director required to jo...

Recruitment Genius: Medico-Legal Assistant

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity fo...

Ashdown Group: (PHP / Python) - Global Media firm

£50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...

The Jenrick Group: Quality Inspector

£27000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: A Quality Technician...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas