Gavin Houghton’s journey has followed the zigzag path typical of multifaceted creatives. Born in Hertfordshire, he left art school to work in menswear design before joining the World of Interiors magazine as an editorial stylist under the illustrious stewardship of Min Hogg. Headhunted for a role assisting with bar and restaurant interior design at David Collins Studios, Gavin was then lured back to Condé Nast as the Art Director of Vogue Promotions, before launching his own interiors practice in 2008.
Having been in constant demand for interiors projects throughout the 2010s, the Covid pandemic put much of Gavin's work on hold, and it was during this unexpected respite that he discovered his newfound passion: ceramics.
“The work I do is called slab work. It avoids using a wheel, which is notoriously challenging to master. For slab work you roll out the clay and mould it into a plaster of Paris mould. It’s a fiddle but I love it.”
Gavin’s style is mainly influenced by the Bloomsbury group, Picasso and Jean Cocteau, but he sources inspiration from anywhere and everywhere. When images resonate with him they may well end up on one of his pieces: a Jack Russell gazing expectantly from the centre of a serving platter, a figure with a knowing grin on the bottom of a teacup, or perhaps something more risqué, like two male lovers caught in the act adorning a decorative plate.
“Some of my ceramics put a smile on people’s faces, which I like. I don’t want things to be taken too seriously – this sort of stuff should be quite playful. You have to push yourself to be a bit naughty, I think, because otherwise you can just play it safe and be tasteful, which doesn’t amuse me. It’s only a plate, you know what I mean?”
When Gavin isn't creating and painting ceramics in his garden studio, he can be found walking his Jack Russells in the Oxfordshire countryside or drawing and painting watercolours at his house in Tangier.