Character, clay and carpet: Cadi Lane on her warm and tactile practice
After Covid-19 hit, designer, maker and all-round creative extraordinaire Cadi Lane put her usual practice on hold, but in doing so has carved a new path – resulting in genuinely refreshing, totally joyful and innately tactile work that you can't help but adore.
Having previously studied Set and Costume Design at university, the Cardiff-based creative refuses to pigeon-hole herself into a single, individual discipline, telling us, "I feel like I'm still developing a style and working out exactly what I want to do and make," in doing so having fun and keeping her prolific imagination alive in the process.
"I've just moved into a new flat and am constantly looking for ways to decorate it and make it more interesting," Cadi adds, "I think that's my main driving force – always wanting to be surrounded by nice fun things." It's a sentiment directly in line with the physicality of the work she produces, crafting satisfying ceramics, jubilant rugs and charismatic wall-hangings, all of which are fundamentally laced with an unstoppable kindred spirit, alongside a sense of warmth and familiarity.
"My creative friends and family inspire me," Cadi tells us, explaining the tone of her work and her inspiration from the things she sees. "I love to make things; I find myself looking at stuff and thinking 'I could make that,'" Cadi recalls, resulting in a very long and ever-growing list of things she'd love to make.
"Putting flat bits of clay together to make a 3D structure is so satisfying to me!" Cadi tells us, beginning to play more and more with the scale of her sculptural pieces, and highlighting the crucial tactility of her work. Also eternally drawn to textiles, Cadi creates beautiful tufted rugs decorated with her signature silly, sad and sometimes scary faces.
"Tufting is so much fun, and I think it can be very versatile," Cadi notes, with seemingly endless ideas for where she can push the craft – similarly excited by the draw of other crafts, the likes of mosaics or stained glass. "I've been dying to try for years," Cadi remarks, "my mam used to teach it."
Alongside her practice's prominent personability and personality, Cadi's playfulness in her process is what truly sets her apart – with work that exudes effortless humour and thrives in silliness. "Playfulness is essential!" Cadi tells us, "and sometimes I have to remind myself of that." Often highly self-critical of her work – finding it far easier to be negative than positive – Cadi avoids losing herself by returning to why she loves making things. "I enjoy the process, seeing something that started as a silly idea grow into a fun product," she recalls, "I just find it so crazy that people want something I've made."
Similarly finding satisfaction in the act of making – seeking that "wow I made that" moment – Cadi illustrates the importance of self-care and not being too hard on yourself. "It's easier said than done, I know," Cadi caveats, "things will go wrong, some ideas are bad, some mistakes are expensive, and some days you have no energy," adding, "but it's just holding on to that funny little feeling that makes you want to keep going and trying your weird ideas."
Once again, showing the personability of not just her work but her character, Cadi tells us, "I think it's always a highlight when someone wants to buy a piece," explaining how it allows her to continue to create new work. "I'm able to replenish materials, buy better tools and pay for my studio," Cadi concludes, "all of that is meaningful and rewarding!"