British designer Adele Brydges makes pleasure tools that evoke the subtle power of sensuality, featuring swirling lines and oceanic curves that satisfy aesthetic as well as sexual desires. We’re thrilled to be carrying items from her MARLENE line and wanted to share a little bit about her background and process for making these eye-catching sculptures.
The design process:
“The most important aspect for me is how the design translates into physical object; basically, how it looks and feels in real life. I begin by drawing and taking inspiration from anything – from architecture, text, nature, art. I sculpt a plaster prototype for each of my pieces after I’ve designed them on paper. Everything starts on paper, but the real design development happens when I’m working with my hands – it takes on a life of its own. It can take several hours of carving and tweaking angles ever so slightly to achieve a form that I’m happy with and want to take on to produce in porcelain.”
The Marlene Collection:
“With my current collection, Marlene, I was interested in letting the porcelain produce its own organic pattern so I developed a method of creating porcelain marble inspired by agate ware and an old Japanese technique called nerikomi. I use two liquid porcelain clays called slip, one a natural unstained porcelain and the second I stain with colouring oxides. I work with the natural flow of liquid porcelain and the shape of the form to create my marbled porcelain body. Even though I can coax the porcelain marble in certain ways, each piece is organic and unique and the pattern runs all the way through the body – if you were to slice it in half you would find the pattern running all the way through.
“I hand cast the design and when it is ready to remove from the mould, I fettle it, trimming and smoothing the surface before leaving it until it is bone dry. Each piece is then bisque fired overnight, polished and high fired again overnight and then polished one last time before being placed in its nappa pouch. It takes about 2 days for me to make each piece from start to finish or about a week if you were to include curing or drying time – ceramics is a real labour of love and test of patience but it’s so worth it.
I wanted to celebrate the natural beauty and tactility of porcelain in its pure state with this collection – it’s such a beautiful, fine material, I didn’t want to hide it under a layer of glossy glaze so I vitrify the tools in the final firing cycle to make them nonporous. Afterwards I hand polish which gives therm a super soft satin-smooth finish. I cast my pieces longer and thicker than conventional ceramics to ensure durability and strength. The dense body also helps the tool retain temperature for longer periods of time and they are also 100% hypoallergenic.
All the nappa pouches and sheaths are hand-crafted in small batches in London by a Leather worker Noyau. All leather is responsibly locally sourced within the UK and Europe.”
Make your own in Adele’s “The Art of Pleasure: Decorate a Dildo” workshop:
I hold small sessions for up to six where they can decorate a glazed porcelain dildo with enamel prints and decals; there is a huge selection to choose from – erotic poetry and prose, flora and fauna, collage, kitsch, kink, and my own illustrations. The workshops give people the opportunity to create something that is truly unique to them. Everyone is welcome regardless of artistic ability or gender, I don’t specify that the workshops are women only but that tends to be the case (I’ve only had a couple of men sign up to the course in the last year) and there is something very powerful in that. The workshops take around 3.5 hours and include prosecco and light refreshments. Once decorated, the dildos need to dry for 24 hours before being enamel fired in the kiln and shipped in the post. It’s amazing to see what people create with the same tools and materials; there is always so much diversity across the final designs.
Opening up my studio and inviting people in is an intimate experience for me – my studio is my sanctuary and the experience of creating my tools, like the function of the tools, is a very personal one, but I decided to open up my practice to others just over a year ago as it is an empowering process and I wanted to share that. The workshops are such a wonderful, rewarding experience for me; they nurture playfulness, creativity and a connection with others that is powerful and palpable. Yes we’re putting decals on porcelain sex toys but these workshops are so much more that the sum of their parts. They push people’s boundaries and challenge preconceptions in a gentle, fun, and creative way, encouraging a healthy attitude toward sexuality and ownership over our own pleasure.
During the workshops, conversations amble from the intimate, to the playful, emotional, insightful, and uplifting; everyone who attends has a different story and fresh perspective. It’s humbling to share the afternoon with so many inspiring women creating together. One of my past participants said that it was like therapy for her and I guess it is for all of us in some ways. Every single woman leaves connecting with each other and staying in touch after the session – it’s such an awesome feeling to see the workshops creating a community.
Workshops for larger groups are available on request.