I am a ceramicist who makes in a leafy suburb of Canberra, Australia
Photo:Amanda Thorsen for HerCanberra
I have always had a love of all things fine and pretty
Growing up, I would wistfully stare into my grandmother’s china cabinet wondering if I’d be allowed to touch one of the teacups with their dainty, floral patterns. I didn’t know then, that this curiosity would lead me on a path (with plenty of detours) to now and I too, could create bespoke ceramic works for all to admire.
A colourful career and a passion to pursue
I spent most of my life in the world not too dissimilar to the TV series Mad Men. The advertising agency was a demanding, crazy world (but not nearly as glamorous as Betty and Don)! As much as I wanted to pursue making ceramics, I had to pay a mortgage and another detour meant working in the arts sector. Not long after meeting my husband, an opportunity arose to study ceramics full-time at the Australian National University School of Art. My production skills, combined with my studies in ceramics, enabled me to realise the possibilities of creating my own products. I love making small works which include my classic earrings, pollen jewellery range, cufflinks and little dishes. I also make small birds primarily for exhibitions.
Testing, making and creating my collections
I spent many months in my studio testing and making earrings as I wanted simplicity through pattern and touch. With the classic collection, I knew my floral pattern was reminiscent of the arts and craft movement (think Willam Morris, Florence Broadhurst and Margaret Olley). My quilt pattern is by fashion houses (Chanel) known for it’s classic handbags in quilted leather. The fir pattern came from my time in Denmark walking between snow-dusted trees. Later, I produced cufflinks using a diamond pattern encased in sterling silver or bronze. The pollen collection was created as customers asked if I did ‘colour’ which threw me at first and then I realised I have a love of floral blooms in all shades of yellow and pink. I concentrated on the daisy family as they have a circular pattern and a fellow artist Lan Nguyen-hoan helped me with the unique hanging so that the stem / flower was turned upside down! I’ve always sought assistance from other visual artists in order to grow and bloom. In late 2019, I released new colours for the pollen series. Think Hello Honey, Lapis Lulu, Raspberry Rose, Minty Macron and Lovely Lilac.
In addition to making small works to wear, I also make small, hand-held birds. The clay I work with is Australian porcelain created by Les Blakebrough and manufactured in Australia. It’s called Southern Ice Porcelain. It’s a vivid white and has translucence qualities when made in finer use. I use it so my birds can rest on a window sill and as they are pierced with holes, the light shines through to light up their patterns. I did relent (again!) with colour and made a blue wren, black cockatoo and hen for my recent exhibitions held in 2018. I continue to investigate bird life and have revisited the sparrow as part of my concern that in 2019 / 2020 our Australian wildlife suffered from bushfires, smoke, hail and floods. I care deeply for our birdlife and feel that by holding a hand size bird this helps my visitors to understand the necessity to do anything to save our birds, their habitats and our planet.
Made with love
So, please enjoy looking through my collections and know that each work has been lovingly hand made in my ceramic studio in the leafy suburb of Watson, Canberra.