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16 Sep 2021

Meet the Makers: Christopher Viviani from Clod & Pebble

Christopher Viviani, owner of Clod & Pebble
The Trust is proud to support talented makers and craftspeople from across Scotland, by selling their products in our physical and online shops. This time, we meet Christopher Viviani from Clod & Pebble.

Please introduce yourself and your business

My name is Christopher Viviani and I'm the maker behind Clod & Pebble.

Where are you based?

My studio is based just outside Craigie village in Ayrshire.

When and how did your business start?

I graduated from Edinburgh College of Art in 2008 with a Sculpture degree. I went on to work in prop making for film and TV projects, worked for a games company, got a post grad in Game Art and Animation, then realised I really couldn’t stand working with computers anymore! That’s when I decided to get back to my roots and make things with my hands for a living.

I started Clod & Pebble in 2015, learning by watching other makers on YouTube. To begin with I was coil building and slab building but really wanted to try throwing on a wheel. I searched for a second hand wheel and kiln on Gumtree and picked them up for a few hundred pounds each.

The turning point for me was when I made more money selling my ceramics than I did at the job I was in at the time. I handed in my notice that day and put all my efforts into Clod & Pebble. From there my business has grown slowly and steadily.

What products do you make/design/create?

I make ceramics and wooden kitchenware. Everything is made by hand so each piece is unique in their own way. I currently offer two different finishes, a plain white and a black speckle. My current range has a minimal contemporary Scandi vibe.

What makes your business unique?

I love food and cooking so I try to design items that are a pleasure to use.

For example, when I make a cup I’m thinking about how each one will fit in the hand and how the rim will feel to drink from. I try to imagine the user experience as I make each piece.

Are there any interesting materials that you use?

I predominately work with clay and do a small amount of wood work. I used to do more wooden items but clay is slowly taking up all my time. I’d love to incorporate a little metal work with my clay and have a few ideas for hanging planters, and should be ready to launch them later in the year.

Three ice cream cones lie on a plate. The two either side are a pale ice cream and the one in the middle is bright pink. The cones are topped with chocolate.
A selection of delicious treats served on the pieces Clod & Pebble made for the café at Gladstone’s Land

Are there any eco credentials you can mention? For example, the use of recycled materials?

This is a subject that is really important to me and should be to every other business big and small.

I try my absolute best to use materials that have a very small carbon footprint. All my packaging is biodegradable; the packing peanuts are starch based, compostable and are easily dissolved in water; I use a mixture of paper bubble wrap and eco-friendly bubble wrap (that breaks down naturally in sunlight); and I use paper tape. There is still the odd piece of plastic tape that I use but it’s really minimal and I avoid it when I can.

I recently changed clay and worked out a way to minimise glaze faults and problems that can occur in firing. In the past I used to have problems with maybe 15% of everything I'd fire, now I'm down to about 1%.

I only use renewable, green energy to power my workshop.

What’s your favourite thing about your business/running your business?

Running a business is hard; it can often feel overwhelming. The best thing is to be able to guide your own future. I also love the relationships I’ve formed with other makers on Instagram and at markets, as well as with other small businesses that stock my work. They’re all like an extended family to me.

What’s the proudest moment of your business career?

It was probably when I got the commission to supply the National Trust for Scotland’s new venue at Gladstone’s Land. It was the largest project I’ve ever taken on which was a little daunting, but I’m really pleased with how everything turned out. There you can find plates, bowls, cups, etc. in their café and they have a range available for sale in their retail space.

What is your favourite Trust place and where would you like to visit?

I’m looking forward to going back to Arran and visiting Brodick Castle. I love Arran and I’m quickly becoming more and more obsessed with gardening! So I’d love to take a trip over to Arran and visit Brodick Castle and wander through the gardens there.

How did you/your business start working with the Trust?

I met a member of Trust staff at a market where they saw my work in person. That’s when they approached me about working with them for the Gladstone’s Land project.

What’s your favourite product that you supply to the Trust and what was the inspiration behind creating it?

I love the cake stands I made for the Trust so much so that I added them to my range online.

What do you love about Scotland? #fortheloveofscotland

Scotland’s a beautiful country with a rich history in innovation and design. The weather’s often rubbish, but you can’t have it all!

Take a trip to Gladstone’s Land, where you can experience Chris’ beautiful work first-hand in our café. You can also browse the Clod & Pebble collection in the Gladstone’s Land shop, and buy a piece (or two) to take home with you!

Plan your visit to Gladstone’s Land

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Enjoy browsing through our fabulous collections. 100% of our profits go towards protecting Scotland’s heritage.

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