Sudden Entrepreneur: Stine's Feature in The Telegraph

Stine was so pleased to be interviewed last month by The Telegraph for their ‘Sudden Entrepreneur’ feature, to share the story of her journey into the world of clay and how she found the courage to make her career change:

‘Some of my former colleagues thought I’d lost my mind. Even my parents worried - my dad cornered me at my sister’s birthday party, asking me how I was going to pay my bills. I still have moments of panic, but then again, I also have many moments of real elation too’.

Thank you to the team at The Telegraph for such a lovely piece!

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SkandiHus Feature in The Wire

We were so thrilled to see SkandiHus featured in this month’s issue of The Wire, in their ‘THINGS WE LOVE in the city’ feature. It’s always such a joy to see our little clay sanctuary being represented in print, especially alongside some of our favourite city spots, such as Elan Cafe and the V&A. Thanks to the team for scouting us out in our quiet studio in a corner of London.

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Staying Present and Finding Joy in the Moment

When I first started making ceramics, I noticed an overwhelming change in my ability to focus, relax, and be in the now. Making something by hand connected me to the immediate moment in a way that I had never experienced before, and for the first time I was able to have myself with me - all of me. 

This change didn’t just happen in my work, it started to permeate throughout my life generally. I started approaching everything with a much more present approach. I stopped worrying so much about things that don’t matter in the bigger scheme of things and trained myself to focus more on all the positive things in life, on all the little acts of kindness that happen around us all the time. And I let myself feel more.

I knew I felt a sense of happiness when making, and that's all I knew. I've since come across the ideologies behind "mindfulness". It was like someone else had put words to what I intuitively felt and knew to be a better approach to life. When I was making, I was there in the moment, "staying" with what I was doing and, probably for the first time, I stopped running away from things and I stopped looking for the next fix that would fill the emptiness that I was feeling inside.

I slowed down and started noticing all the little things in my life that gave me a sense of meaning and fulfilment; a smile from a passerby, the sun warming my face on the bus, a hug from a friend at the studio, a stranger picking up the papers I dropped in a shop - all the little miracles of life and the kindness in the world that so many of us are too busy to notice because we are living in a society that has become obsessed with success, happiness, beauty, achievements and instant gratification. 

I still have days when I don't manage to focus on the kindness around me and I feel stressed and overwhelmed. I then try to remind myself of this important fact: being busy and stressed is a choice, just as slowing down is. I try to remind myself of this every time I start to feel my mind speeding up or tripping over itself, overwhelming my head with thoughts flooding in. In those moments, I choose to stop, take a step back from it all, and if I’m really struggling, stick my hands in some clay. 


Stine x

Light Up the Corners of Your World

Does anyone ever feel overwhelmed with the suffering in the world and at the same time like nothing you do matters? I think it’s normal. We all have these moments. I think the key is to not feel like it’s your responsibility to fix it all and to find the courage to do more of what sets your heart on fire. The courage to be great. To shine. I used to be scared of letting my light shine. Scared of being good at anything. Until one day I realised it’s my goddam duty to let my light shine so it shines a little on people around me. To light up my little corner of the world by, for example, running pottery classes from my studios. Sharing the healing I myself have found from clay. Stephen Cope, in The Great Work of Your Life, says ‘Each of us feels some aspect of the world’s suffering acutely. And we must pay attention. We must act. This little corner of the world is ours to transform. This little corner of the world is ours to save’. Have a beautiful day everyone.

Stine x

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It's Ok to Feel Fear

I want to talk about fear a little bit because it's something we often don't admit to feeling. 

I was scared when I quit my job. I was scared when I set up SkandiHus, when I employed my first assistant. I was scared when I employed my second assistant. I was scared during most of the first major stages of setting up the business, but I’m pretty sure that anyone looking in from the outside would never have guessed this.

But here’s the thing: It's ok to feel fear.

The trick is to not let it paralyse you. The trick is to stop caring so much about what the world thinks or whether you might fail. So what if you fail? In fact, I dare say, if you haven't failed or taken some chances, you haven’t really lived your life. 

I think it's important, again, to think about why we do things. I didn't start making ceramics because I was hoping that one day Nigella Lawson would start following me on Instagram. Don't get me wrong, it's amazing that people like what I do but I did it for me. Not for Nigella, not for my parents, not for careers advisors or anyone else I wanted to impress. I did it for me and I did it because I love making ceramics. I'm also pretty sure that this is a large part of the reason for my success. I'd like to think that when people pick up one of my pieces, they can feel that it's been made with passion, care and love. As long as your intentions are in the right place, then this will drive you through those initial fears, of risk, of failure, of self-worth, because if you truly believe in what you are doing, then other people will too.

Stine x

An Interview with Stine by SR-mag

Thank you to the lovely Jake Zywiol of SR-mag for the wonderful and refreshingly unique interview with Stine. Jake spent an afternoon at our studio in May getting to know our space and our team, and chatting to Stine about her work and the ethos behind SkandiHus:

‘With the general calming atmosphere in the studio, you can see that Stine’s authenticity puts people at ease around her, much like comforting a close friend at your doorstep and inviting them to your personal space. Authenticity is about presence, portraying the situation of living in the moment with conviction and confidence but most importantly, staying true to yourself’.

Read the full article here.

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Flow

It’s been quite a long journey for me to get to where I am today. Six years ago, I was working in the City of London as a Business Crime lawyer. I’ve been thinking a lot recently about how important “connection” is to me. Reflecting on what life was like back in my lawyer days, I think that I was both feeling quite empty inside and living a rather detached life, always striving for more or something better - or more to the point, always feeling like I had to be something more or do better. I was on this endless exhausting search upwards (which I believe is a cultural tendency in our late capitalist industrial growth world). Working with clay in my evening pottery classes allowed me to stop striving and stay in the moment with what I was doing. I now understand that what was happening to me was that I stopped looking for something outside of me to fill the emptiness that I was feeling inside. I slowly stopped striving and somehow started to believe that I was enough. Working with clay facilitated a reconnection for me, with myself, nature, and the world around me - a sort of reconnection with my hands, heart and mind if you like. The psychologist Mihaly Csikzentmihalyi argues that crafts, like pottery, allow us to enter a “flow” state, a perfect immersive state of balance between skill and challenge. If you’re feeling disconnected, try picking up a paintbrush, learning a new skill, or joining one of our pottery classes. Reach out, connect, and do something just for you. There’s a lot of kindness in the world, you just have to look for it and open your heart to it. Lots of love and light, Stine x

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The Art of Running a Business

Running your own creative business is a constant battle between maintaining your creative identity, and ensuring that the business is able to survive past the next three months. Money still seems to be such a taboo for artists, but it’s really important to have open and frank discussions about it. I mean, if you don’t make a living from your art, you won’t be able to continue making it (unless you’re fortunate enough to not have to worry about making a living). As much as I don’t want my making to be dictated by what people want to buy, I also have to be realistic and bear it in mind. 

For me, the ability to run classes and workshops at SkandiHus has drastically reduced this pressure and shifted the financial burden away from my own work. I have never wanted to mass produce my ceramics, it isn’t something that I enjoy and I have found that once you get stuck in that cycle of making, it becomes impossible to find the time to develop new work or experiment with new techniques, which is what I love to do most. The income from our classes plays a large role in the financial model of the studio, which is something that I have always been upfront about because I think it is important for other makers to be able to understand how different studios are making it work for them. 

In the current economic climate, with the saturation of makers in the creative industries at such a high, it is becoming increasingly difficult to make a real living from selling your work. I am incredibly fortunate to have an alternative stream of income for the business that supports my making, and gives me the freedom to create on my own terms. Running classes has also been an enlightening experience for me, as I truly love teaching. There is a great relief sometimes after a day of solitary creativity in my studio, to open my doors to a group of new people with fresh minds, and a different perspective - it stops me from getting stuck inside my own head. It is also a great privilege to be able to pass on my skills to other people, and hopefully pass on a sense of peace and mindfulness also. Making my own work will always be my first passion, but running the business has opened up new challenges, opportunities, and a great sense of joy in itself. 

Condé Nast Traveller's Brilliant Birthday Ideas in London

We were so thrilled to be included in Condé Nast Traveller’s recent article on 20 Brilliant Birthday Ideas in London. We love welcoming groups of friends to our studio for a couple of hours of fun and creativity, and it’s lovely to see that our guests enjoy it as much as we do! Thank you Sonya Barber for including us in your article, and we’ve been inspired to try a few of your other suggestions ourselves…

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