THROWING SHAPE

Written by root. Posted in Featured Article, FEATURES

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Published on September 10, 2018 with No Comments

Get elbow deep in clay with the latest chic craze – pottery!

Words EMMA RAMSAY
Images VISION VICTORIA

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Pottery's mind-clearing benefits are aplenty.

 

In March this year, the National Gallery of Victoria launched A Modern Life: Tablewares 1930s – 1980s, giving visitors a glimpse into the domestic lives of eras past featuring over 140 never-seen-before tablewares including dinner services, pitchers, teapots, mugs and plates from the 1930s to the 1980s. Most notably of the exhibition, which will run until January 2019, is that the launch came hot on the heels of a ceramic renaissance.

Over the last 10 years, ceramics have become the go-to art picked up by both amateurs and professional artists, appreciated for its endearing qualities that provide the maker a creative expression that is both gratifying and therapeutic. There is even research to indicate doing ceramics can alleviate symptoms of depression. This is hardly surprising, seeing how digitally-obsessed we have become as a society, picking up pottery – with its tactile experience and free-form expression – can be extremely rewarding.

It is no surprise then to see many communal clay studios popping across Melbourne and regional Victoria. Slow Clay Centre is perfect for potters looking to get their hands dirty. Housed in a beautiful Collingwood warehouse, the studio introduces students to classes such as introduction to the pottery wheel and the unique Slow Clay method. The method, inspired by the Japanese techniques that are ergonomically sound, helps beginners develop early on planned movements for the most economical and effective way to create.

Under the guidance of experienced potters, there is little chance for beginners to feel anything but excited about trying their hands in something new. Take a cue from well-known Brunswick potter, James Lemon, who says that every piece is made with the intention of mirroring organic shapes; imperfection is the object, highlighting the material origin of each item and the human hands that made it. Thus, potters working under this philosophy will sure reap some creative results at the end of their journey.

The same philosophy is shared at Elsternwick’s Céramiques. Students taking up any of their classes are encouraged to look at pottery beyond churning a mug and saucer, but instead are instilled with the passion to explore and express their individual creativity. Any pieces taken home after a class is merely a bonus.

Once you have mastered the art of pottery, advanced potters and DIY types can get the tools of the trade from Northcote Pottery Supplies that stocks pottery materials including clay, glazes, tools and kiln products. Northcote also offers a range of short courses, workshops and masterclasses for those wanting to develop or expand their knowledge of ceramics. For a pottery class with a difference, try checking out Put Your Heart Into It. Its pottery workshops are designed to create a sense of community and connection so students learn the art of moulding mud over a seasonal grazing table of local and native foods.

Slightly further afield, keen potters can take a road trip to the surf coast and visit the Takeawei studio in Torquay. Road trippers can take a one-day wheel classes or a 6-week course suitable for beginners and intermediate students. Meanwhile, one of Australia’s oldest working potteries, Bendigo Potteries, has been creating high quality ceramics for over 150 years. A major attraction in the Goldfields region, a visit to Bendigo Potteries offers visitors a unique combination of great shopping, hands on clay experiences and the opportunity to step back in time at the Interpretive Museum that traces pottery’s production process, including a collection of historic wood fired kilns.

 

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