What drew you to first want to work with clay?
My parents bought me an 8-week intro course at the Carlton Arts Centre many moons ago. I was in my early 20s, had recently deferred from doing my Masters and was doing a job I wasn’t really into. I guess my mum could see the forest for the trees better than I could. What started as a fun hobby soon morphed into sustained curiosity and stubborn determination to master the wheel.
You originally trained at Holmesglen TAFE – what was it like studying there/what did you enjoy about studying there?
I liked the hands on practical approach that TAFE offers. There is a strong emphasis on technical knowledge. When you’re learning so many new skills, with what sometimes seems like an impossible medium, it can be a relief to make things without worrying so much about the conceptual component. Sometimes it’s nice to make something that doesn’t have to mean anything; sometimes a bowl is just a bowl and that’s great. That and a fully equipped glaze lab with every ingredient you could ever imagine is pretty wonderful. It enabled me to try glazes with more obscure ingredients I probably would never have bothered with, some of which I continue to use in my practice today.
In your practice, you’re already known for your studies of the surface, creating volcanic glazes which stand in contrast to your minimal and precise forms – what is it about this opposition that interests you?
Crater glazes balance my desire for perfection. You can only control them to a certain extent. Knowing this, I’m forced to relax and be open-minded about what comes out of the kiln. That’s the theory anyway, it doesn’t always work out!
Your studio is based in Mister Morris in South Preston – what do you like about working in this group environment?
Just the fact that you’re not doing it alone. When you’re breaking your back to get an exhibition together, pulling glaze disasters out of the kiln or hitting a creative brick wall it’s nice to hear someone else shuffling about in the studio next to you. It can be a really isolating process and you can doubt yourself – a lot, so it’s nice to be arm's length from others who can relate to the day-in-day-out slog.
Dream exhibition space — anywhere in the world/any space in the world
What are some of your most beloved craft pieces to use every day?
A battered majolica mug my Mum got my partner from Sicily and a small ramekin I made at the Carlton Arts Centre that we keep our fancy sea salt in!
Craft piece you wished you owned ?