I have a theory— good food tastes even better when it’s served on or eaten from a beautifully designed and hand-made plate or bowl. The sort that might not be exactly the same as the next one and might not be exactly symmetrical, but has had thought and care put into every aspect of its creation. I daydream about having a kitchen full of ceramic or stone tableware that’s minimalist in design and maximalist in character.
Melbourne is bursting at the seams with talented makers and crafters, so we’ve wrapped up a few of our favourites. Here are 7 of Melbourne’s best makers and crafters.
There’s something a little bit child-like about Jessilla’s range and we absolutely adore every piece. If you don’t take your table settings too seriously and matchy-matchy isn’t really your cup of tea, step right this way. Jessilla is another epically talented young Melbourne maker who works with ceramics to create some wonderful and wacky plates, vases and vessels of no discernable nature, all painted in the brightest of colours and wonkiest of patterns.
You can also learn from Jessilla as she teaches pottery classes at North Carlton Ceramics on Tuesday evenings.
Ok, so she’s technically not a Melbourne maker, but the talented Bridget Bodenham is based in Daylesford so we think we’ll claim her. Bridget’s vast collection of stone and ceramic wares really are something to behold. Spending her days creating items for wholesale and for direct orders, she’s one seriously talented cookie, crafting all manner of tableware, cutlery, jewellery and sculptures. As is the case with most independent makers and crafters, each of Bridget’s pieces is unique in its own way.
Wingnut & Co
If you appreciate truly quality pieces made from natural and sustainable materials with an understated, minimalist look, you neeeed Wingnut & Co in your life. The brainchild of creative young-gun duo Asuka Mew and Anna Miller-Yeaman, Wingnut & Co started out as a side project to Anna and Asuka’s other artistic projects. They now collaborate on the brand, Asuka specialising in creating the ceramics and Anna heading up the painting. The pair are committed to utilising off-cut or waste products in their designs— the wooden lids that feature in many of the ceramic vessel designs are created from off-cut pieces from another Melbourne design studio. You’ll find all manner of table and kitchenware, vases and planters as part of Wingnut & Co’s range.
Hannah Lawrence is originally from Cornwall on the south coast of England, however now calls Melbourne home and works from her home studio. Hannah uses an age old approach to her ceramics that doesn’t include the use of a pottery wheel. It’s called pinching and means that she has an intimate connection to each piece and is able to leave a distinct mark on it. Hannah works with clay to create cups, lipped vessels and some of the most stunningly beautiful and unique teapots that we’ve ever clapped eyes on.
Interestingly Sarah Schembri started out in pottery and ceramics as a way to chill out from her stressful IT job. The creative genius in Sarah soon took over and before too long she had nabbed herself a place as the artist in residence at Northcote Pottery Supplies. Sarah’s style and technique has developed over time and there is now a distinct Japanese aesthetic to much of her work. Sarah produces a ‘Shino’ range of tableware that we are smitten with.
Sharon Alpren is yet another super talented Melbourne ceramicist. Originally from London, Sharon now treats Melburnians to her stunning clay creations, including trays, serving ware, tableware, artwork and wall decorations. Each piece is hand painted with simple patterns, usually in natural colours and earthy tones.
Valerie Restarick is a stalwart of the Melbourne artist’s community and has provided infinite guidance to many emerging young artists. Owner of North Carlton Ceramics, Valerie teaches pottery classes on a regular basis and sells her works from her studio. Another artist who has been heavily influenced by the Japanese aesthetic, Valerie’s gorgeous range is just the type of thing I’d love to stock my kitchen cupboards with.
Image credit: Jessilla Rogers, Bridget Bodenham, Wingnut & Co, Hannah Lawrence, Sarah Schembri, Sharon Alpren, Valerie Restarick