All photos by Jo Crawford.
We’d love to know the story behind Fison Zair? How did it start?
I have always been creative, but really I guess I started to focus my skills more when I was at university. I studied a degree and masters in Textile Design and found a love for colour, textures and printing. Knowing I wanted to work for myself I started to develop my work under the brand name Fison Zair.
The studio’s name is inspired by my Grandads; Fison and Isaiah ( ‘Zair’ for short). Despite the exotic sounding name they were true Yorkshire folk, skilled craftsmen in Sheffield Steel Works. (Pronounced F-eye-sun Z-air in a proper northern accent!) Having an inquisitive yet frugal lifestyle, they utilised, treasured and repaired everyday objects. Having never had the chance to meet them, I like to think of my brand as a continuation of their skills and legacy, only set in a colourful contemporary world.
Can you tell us about the making process and the materials you use?
I use polymer clay. It’s a medium that enables me to mix colour, add texture and play with composition and pattern, in a similar way to designing prints. I’m learning new ways of using it all the time. My favourite part of the process is experimenting, finding a new innovative way to use the material and pushing its boundaries. I started with necklaces, the moved on to earrings and now I’m working on homewares too.
How much work is involved in creating these pieces? Where do you find inspiration?
Every piece is handmade by myself. Occasionally you can see the odd tiny finger print, which I don’t mind, it all adds to their individuality and uniqueness. I’ve recently invested in some new equipment, which means I have reduced my making time slightly and made everything a bit more commercially viable - something I needed to focus on more! I all too often get carried away with the process and forget that I need to be able to reproduce products to some extent. I love colours and textures and this is often what provides me with inspiration. I might see a certain colour somewhere and instantly want to use it! Which may lead to a new palette or a new focus on my work.
What has been your biggest lesson?
My biggest lesson is teaching myself to not wait until everything is perfect before I launch a new product, or update products on my website. I used to put off doing things because it wasn’t quite at the standard I was happy with, but I’ve learned to ‘just do it’. Instagram is a great way to get an instant reaction to something and I’ve used this as a tool to be a bit more spontaneous with my work. When I’m not waiting for things to be perfect, more seems to get done and I move forward a lot quicker.
What’s the most treasured object in your home?
That’s a tricky one, as I love all the things in my home. Our house is quite neat in size, so we have to be clever with space and really only keep the things we love, however, I still have a lot of stuff and treasures I’ve picked up along the way!
Our home used to be my Aunty and Uncle's house for many years when they were alive. We have some amazing photos from when they moved in, back in the 1960s. We totally renovated it all before we moved in five years ago, ripped down ceilings, went back to brick on the walls. But I still have these photos on the wall now of a reminder of how it once was. I guess these are a lovely reminder of my family but also how far we have come today.
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