Issue 35 / From Lahore Pakistan, Clayworks Gives Table Settings A Fresh Spin

From Lahore Pakistan, Clayworks Gives Table Settings A Fresh Spin

Feb 06, 2016

Clayworks makes you want to covet ceramics in a fresh new way.

As home decor trends have been delving into the brighter and bolder tones, designers have been searching for the latest ways to fuse fashion and function. Enter Pakistan's Clayworks, a ceramics company boasting a bold marriage of colour, pattern and clay with a striking South Asian touch. Founded in Lahore in 1999, Clayworks has been getting attention from decor junkies around the world and I got a chance to catch up with the creative brain behind it all, Mahbina Waheed, to get her take on Clayworks and the latest trends for the home. 

Geeta Wahab: What inspired you to get into pottery?

Mahbina Waheed: To make beautiful products for everyday use that make the daily eating experience joyful and blissful. Half the pleasure of the meal lies in the appeal of the vessel. Everyone has a favourite mug or bowl or plate. Some of my clients have a range of mugs and each one is for a different mood or occasion. One client opens her mug cupboard every day and then selects the mug that matches the weather or mood. Another client has a mug of ours for years that she only has for drinking coffee. Another friend has two favourite Sunday mugs. 

For restaurants I think the plates have to be selected with care. In each eatery the plate has to match the food, and ambience. Eating out of the right plate makes the experience so much more pleasant and fulfilling.

I believe in manufacturing in Pakistan, that was the main driving force behind setting up Clayworks.

GW: How did you raise money to start this new venture? 

MW: My mother gave me the initial investment and then earnings have been put back into the business. I have invested money from myself and some my mother gave in between too. So it's totally self-financed. 

GW: What challenges did you find when starting out a new business?

MW: Learning the manufacturing process. Learning how to run a business, managing workforce, production, marketing. The entire field was new to me so basically I learnt everything that had to be done to know how to manufacture ceramics and everything that is involved in running a business. 
Founder of Clayworks, Mahbina Waheed.
Photo Credit: Clayworks 

Rose-detailed tea set.
Photo Credit: Clayworks 

GW: What inspires your designs?

MW: My designs are inspired by many things. It is usually patterns and themes that I find aesthitically appealing. A lot of my designs use traditional motifs and themes from different historical Islamic art and culture, but I always give them a twist that makes them uniquely my own. I love colour and I play with a range of colours. I use a lot of tribal-inspired motifs from different cultures. I also love global modern themes and patterns. 

Beautiful Urdu font treatment.
Photo Credit: Clayworks 

GW: What's next for Clayworks?

MW: We have just launched our 2016 collection and it is absolutely stunning. It is inspired by a range of colours and patterns from the West and East that can be combined together as it appeals to each individual. I have used a Mediterranean theme and have developed gorgeous new colours. I have used some traditional Islamic patterns that can be mixed and matched with these colours. I have used some traditional Sindhi patterns in bold new ways that have been made in our new range of colours.

GW: What is one of your favourite pieces you've created?

MW: This keeps on changing. Whenever I make something new I fall in love with it. At the moment I love all my new collection and use them daily at home.

Tea cup and bowl set.
Photo Credit: Clayworks

GW: What do you project as the next hot colour for the home?

MW: Our Kashmiri Chai Pink and Neelum Valley Skies Blue are my interpretation of the colours rose quartz and serenity for 2016. The colours bring a warmth and comforting feeling to the home. Subtle yet still adding a pop of colour. This is the trend and the shades we have developed at Clayworks are stunning. Everyone is blown away when they see them. The other hot colours are the Mediterranean-theme colours used in our 2016 collection.

GW: What is your favourite piece to make?

MW: My range of products is so vast that it is not possible to identify just one favourite piece. I love all of them.

GW: What is one important accessory every home should have?

MW: A beautiful range of tableware for daly use. Don’t skimp out on this. Everyday of your life counts, so make sure what you use daily is beautiful too not just what you keep to serve on special occasions.  

Beautiful collection by Clayworks
Photo Credit: Clayworks 

GW: How can I send you a custom order? And how far will you ship?

MW: We ship all over the world. To place orders email [email protected] or call 042-35716229. Visit for more information.
GW: What is the craziest thing you were ever asked to make?

MW: Items with special messages on birthdays and other special occasions. Each client’s personal message is confidential so I cannot share that. But it is a lot of fun to design an item for a client based on what they request. 

GW: What advice would you give for women who want to start a new business. 
MW: Strive to be unique and professional. Go into non-traditional fields of business. Follow your heart. 

Fabulous bowls. 

Photo Credit: Clayworks 


Main Image Photo Credit: Clayworks 

Geeta Wahab


Cultivating a life she loves, Geeta (@geets.suites) is chasing all her passions, including her love for home décor. As a brand new home owner, her current journey has launched her further into that world - check out her Instagram @geets.suites for tidbits of her story and other decorating pieces. A...


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