A Family Affair
Kirstie and Paul Hayler work from their home studios, overlooking Firestone Copse on the Isle of Wight.
Kirstie studied painting at Brighton University, and went on to enjoy a career as a photographer and illustrator. She briefly encountered the potter’s wheel many years ago, and moving to the island in 2017, knew that this was exactly what she wanted to do. The downstairs loo was quickly converted into the smallest pottery on the island (and possibly the world) and she has never been more content. The couple were delighted to find that there is a real demand and support for hand-made crafts, and so Paul built a larger garden studio for her.
During 2020 she conceived her appliqué and ceramic wall hangings and 2021 has seen her progressing these, as well as starting her ‘tub’ series – fishermen in bath tubs, chefs in saucepans, bird watchers in nests, elderly ladies in shopping baskets…and more besides that are still at the ‘in Kirstie’s head’ stage. The tubs will appear on the ‘Special Bits’ page as they come out of the kiln.
Paul mixes all of the glazes from scratch, using raw ingredients and stains, making them a true artistic collaboration. He has always enjoyed making, historically using wood. He discovered stained glass five years ago, and now often combines the two. He is especially skilled at making large pieces, and has taken great pleasure in the design and construction of a lot of their cottage interior – their beautiful made-to -measure wooden kitchen, their equally stunning bathroom complete with a stained glass shower screen, and their wood and glass made-to-measure window shutters. He also finds great pleasure working with leather, with designs ranging from smaller wallets to larger satchels. A newly acquired pyrography pen has seen Paul becoming a very proficient drafts man and he has also been making simple linocuts recently.
They have two boys, who are forging their own creative paths – Kit is fiercely passionate about his sewing machine, needle felting and his bagpipes, where as Freddie loves wood carving and knitting.
They use traditional skills and techniques, whilst also innovating new applications of these, to promote British crafts to a wider audience and are advocates of keeping British crafts alive.
As active members of Craft Potters Association, British Society of Master Glass Painters, Contemporary Glass Society and the Heritage Craft Association; the duo aim to promote and engage with their own crafts and those of other crafts people.