About Keith Brymer Jones
KEITH BRYMER JONES
I’m Keith Brymer Jones, a born and bred Londoner and a potter by trade.
Many people know me as the judge on the popular TV show, the Great Pottery Throw Down, but my real job, and my passion, is ceramics. I have been a ceramicist and design expert amassing both knowledge and experience for over four decades. Not only have I been successful with my own collection of ceramics, the award winning ‘Word Range’, I also work collaboratively with both British & International designers, artists illustrators & fashion houses.
The first bit of ceramics I ever made was a pottery owl, when I was 11 years old. The process of pottery gave me a sense of escapism. It was then that I knew I wanted to be a potter and, after a brief stint as the lead singer of a punk band (!), I became an apprentice at Harefield Pottery in London at 18. This is where I really learnt how to use traditional hard graft to make modern ceramics. After my apprenticeship, I started out at my first studio in Highgate hand-making all of my ceramics for a variety of retailers including Conran, Habitat, Barneys NY, Monsoon, Laura Ashley and Heals. In 2008, I met my business partner, Dominic Speelman and subsequently joined MAKE International as Director and Head of Design. We set up a studio in a converted bakery based in Whitstable along the Kent coastline. I design every single item on the potter’s wheel before I take the prototypes to China to work with my colleagues at the factories. I try and visit the factories at least twice a year to meet with the quality control team on the factory floor to ensure the highest standard of quality is maintained. Every item in the Word Range is hand-debossed and checked by the quality control team at least three times. As the business grew, I expanded the Word Range and began collaborating with other designers, illustrators and creators to bring inspiring ceramic products to those who love design. The Word Range has produced over 500 products and it is sold in over forty countries with a large and loyal following. To this day, the Word Range follows my design philosophy:
‘to create simple yet stylish products which are pleasing to the eye, practical in the modern home and, above all, make people happy!’ 💕
In 2022, I released my autobiography, ‘A Boy in a China Shop: Life Clay and Everything’, and subsequently went on a joyful tour around the UK to a sell out crowd. 2023 has certainly been a very busy year for me and this is likely to continue through to 2024. I bought a huge chapel in North Wales earlier this year and is in a process of renovating it to both a studio and living space. It will be the first time I would have owned my own studio. A film crew has already been following this project and to be aired in the near future!
The Word Range
Originally inspired by my own struggle with dyslexia, my Word Range started out as a handful of mugs and has grown to include kitchenware, homeware & tableware. With clean styling, a hint of vintage, and a large slice of humour, the Word Range features individual mugs, plates & bowls, teapots, gravy & milk jugs, storage jars, a butter dish and so much more. There are many items in the range which are perfect for gifts. 🎁
My working life now revolves around my studio in Whitstable, Kent, which is housed inside an old bakery. Here, I hand design every Keith Brymer Jones item (oh yes, it’s all very hands on!). I also throw shapes on my pottery wheel for other British & International artists/designers/illustrators/creators in my job as Head of Design at MAKE International, a leading wholesaler and retailer of designer ceramics. It is in this role I have been lucky enough to collaborate with amazing people and brands like Scion Living, Frances Collett, Mini Moderns, Kiran Ravilious, Jane Foster, Tatty Devine, the National Trust, Bert & Buoy, Sukie, Hokolo, Becky Baur, Neisha Crosland, Barnes & Noble, Dorset Cereals and many more
Once I am happy with each shape I have thrown on the wheel, I then travel to China with the finished prototype, where I work with our great team on the factory floor to ensure the products we produce maintain the same standards as the ones in my studio back home. All of the pieces in the Keith Brymer Jones ranges are then finished by hand.
BOY IN A CHINA SHOP
In his book, Boy in a China Shop, Keith tells the story of his life and inspiring rise to success through the objects and images that have been meaningful to him every step of the way, as he recounts key moments and events as well as the people and places that have shaped him. From his childhood and early devotion to dance to discovering clay at the age of eleven, to his tough apprenticeship at Harefield Pottery and struggles to establish his own business, this memoir goes beyond the TV show to offer us a rare insight into Keith’s own philosophy and outlook on life.
On the Telly
The seventh (yikes!) series of the Great Pottery Throw Down is currently on Channel 4 in the U.K. (Early 2024). As always it was an emotional ride filming the series and I was very lucky in meeting & working with some wonderful & talented people. I hope everyone enjoyed watching it as much as I enjoyed being a part of it. Hopefully it will become available on HBO Max in the near future so folks across the Atlantic can watch too!
Keith Brymer Jones - Boy in a China Shop
Ballet dancer. Front man in an almost famous band. Judge on The Great Pottery Throwdown. How did all that happen?
Every chapter of my book is based around an object (usually a pot) that’s been significant in my life. It’s just at trigger to let me go off in a lot of different directions and tell a few stories. A lot of stories. Dyslexia. The art teacher who changed my life. My Mother. My Father. A life-changing job interview with a man who lay under his car throughout. That video.
So here it is – my pottery life with some very loud music and some pretty good dancing. And a lot of throwing, fettling and firing.
Oh …and a good dose of anxiety.
KBJ Collaboration with the National Trust
The Keith Brymer Jones National Trust Collection is a colourful range of six mugs, partially-glazed in clean & understated hues. Keith created the colours to reflect the dramatic coastlines, wide open landscapes, historic architecture and treasure trove of arts & antiques that he discovered while visiting National Trust locations.
I’ve even done a few videos singing about my ceramics and how I make them, which you can see here! I hope you enjoy!
I love making things
A little bit about how lucky I feel to have been able to make my living from doing what I love.
Rolling Clay with Keith
This was so much fun to make! I hope it makes you smile as much as it did us 😂
Nothing Compares 2 Keith
Ever noticed how beautiful Noel Fielding’s eyes are? Check them out in this fun video we made together!
Clap Along with Keith
Channeling my inner Pharrell Williams with this, shot between Whitstable & China.