Profiles: Ali Miller

Ali MillerHomegirl London pays homage to Ali Miller.  If you enjoy the finer things in life like a fine bone china tea set and cake on a plate rather than squished in your hand then you’ll just love Ali Miller’s work.  By drawing on her personal experiences, family history and identity she literally pours her soul into making quality, quirky and quaint tea and coffee pots, dainty cups and saucers and her trademark cake plates.  Her intricate, elaborate graphic designs are weird, wonderful and witty all at the same time.  Ali grew up in North London and studied Art Foundation at Camberwell College of Art and then Brighton University where she gained a BA (Hons) degree in Fine Art and Sculpture.  She’s exhibited screen prints and collage artwork in Paris, New York and London using images taken from her family home, her childhood reading books and her parent’s magazines.  In early 2010, she started to use more objects from her home and restored new life into these forgotten and discarded pieces turning them into art.  This evolved into creating ceramic fine bone china tea sets and homeware products which she sells online via the Ali Miller Website and in-store at Selfridges, Paul Smith, Tate and The Southbank.  Ali kindly answered some questions …

Q: Your collection includes a wonderful selection of fine bone china tea sets – do you like a good cuppa yourself and how do you take your tea?

A: I’m a classic girl, so I take my tea with milk and two sugars.

Q: I’m glad to see you making cake plates, what’s your favourite cake?

A: Cake! Oh …Chocolate! My childhood friend’s mum makes the best chocolate cake.

Q: If you could have a cup of tea/coffee with one person, who would the person be and why, where would it be and which one of your tea sets would you use?

A: With Man Ray or Damien Hirst. Both are geniuses of the art world in their time.  But considering how much money Damien Hirst has got, he can take me to the Savoy and I would show him my ‘Band Lady’ Coffee Pot and ‘Fun Ride’ Cake Plate.

Q: What’s your inspiration behind the UK and Ireland Map tea set collection? Are you very patriotic?

A: The image of the weather map was taken from my dad’s Which Magazines from the 1970s.  The ships and the crowns were taken from my Children’s Encyclopaedia that I cut up to make my collage artwork. It comes together to tell a story of where I come from.

Q: What’s new for 2012?

A: I have many exciting things planned for 2012.  I’m going to be exhibiting at Craft Central’s open studio’s event called Made in Clerkenwell.  In London from 24 -27 May, Craft Central  I’m also working on a new mug collection and some have already gone on sale at House of Fraser, picked by Mary Portas. Oh and I’m looking forward to a summer tea party at my home.

Here’s a selection of Ali’s favourite things, teacups and cake plates £27.50, teapots and coffee pots £55 – £65 and cow jugs £25 available from Ali Miller. Credits: text by Homegirl London, images supplied by Ali Miller.

UK and Ireland map, by Ali Miller

Fabulous bone china teapot, cake plate, cup and saucer featuring a hand-printed design of the UK and Ireland map

40 degrees by Ali Miller

40 Degrees fine bone china teapot, cake plate, cup and saucer featuring a tongue in cheek design

Band Lady by Ali Miller

Band Lady fine bone china coffee pot, cake plate, cup and saucer

Fun ride cake plate by Ali Miller

Fun ride cake plate

Milk jug by Ali Miller

Playful milk jug decorated with a William Morris print taken from Ali’s family home reworked by Ali to make a contemporary print for modern homes