Butterflies and bees inspire hidden gem Pateley Bridge ceramic artist


Last updated Jul 2, 2021
Fiona Mazza proudly shows off one of her creations.

The wonderful, whimsical and colourful worlds of butterflies and bees have inspired the rise of this hidden gem of a ceramic artist in Pateley Bridge.

Fiona Mazza Ceramics is based in the King Street Workshops. It was once a base for bin lorries and rat catchers, but is now a crafts hub where people work on and sell their creations.

She has perfected her craft over the past two decades, starting in the garage of her home in Harrogate but working at a dedicated workshop for the past six years.

It takes a lot of different skills and plenty of time, something people do not always appreciate when they are more used to the quick and cheap products from a factory line.

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“I think people are quite detached from the process as well. TV shows can open people’s eyes a little bit but then they see them rushing things through.

“The turnaround for me is around four weeks from start to finish. If you drive clay too quickly things can start to crack and warp.

“I like to work intimately with each piece. There are all sorts of people who do enjoy what I do though. It’s always nice to meet the people buying your work.”

Customers who find the workshop, which is not far from the high street, will likely find Fiona sitting at her wheel moulding out a lump of clay.

Most of her work has at least a subtle nod to her love of nature, normally butterflies and bees.

“I am not an expert but I do love butterflies. I enjoy the colour so that sparked that interest. My grandfather was a big beekeeper as well, with more than a hundred hives.

“A few years ago now I tried to keep some bees as well but it is quite a lot of hard work so I have stepped back from that.

“The bees and butterflies are fascinating creatures so I just want to capture their beauty.”

This is part of the Stray Ferret’s ‘hidden gem’ series, highlighting small, independent businesses. They need to be tucked away but growing in popularity with an eye-catching and unique product or approach. Send us an email with your nominations.

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