FK chats to Peta of quirky Blue Mountains based Ceramics label Elm Design. Elm Design recently debuted at the Sydney Markets!
Tell us a bit about Elm Design and what we can expect to discover?
Elm Design is based in the Blue Mountains and creates beautiful porcelain homewares and jewellery. It’s known for its quirky and eccentric designs that have a genuine hand made feel. You can expect to discover a little world of functional and quirky goodness!
What is your background and how did you started working with ceramics?
I come from a graphic design and art direction background. I lived in the UK for many years and started illustrating in London to give me some balance between working on tight deadlines for corporations and working for fun. After relocating back to Sydney we had our daughter and moved to the Blue Mountains. I was always looking for a medium that would suit my illustrations and kind of stumbled across ceramics in a way. I’m primarily self taught and constantly learning as I go. I love getting my hands dirty and illustrating. Ceramics seem to give me the perfect balance.
Which other ceramic labels do you love? And what inspires you?
There are a lot of amazing ceramic artists living in the Blue Mountains. Rednoodle, Two Birds Four Hands, Mrs Peterson Pottery and Kanimbla clay are all amazing. A Parisian ceramic studio that I love is called Le Petit Atelier De Paris.
I’m inspired by odd little moments in life that hold humour. I love a good laugh and I love beautiful things. Its nice to blend moments and porcelain together and to hold an object at the end of this process that represents a quirky, beautiful or an odd situation.
What is your workspace like? and what is your creative process?
I’m lucky enough to have a separate studio to where I live. It’s lovely and large and I can make a complete mess in there. All of my pieces start from a ball of clay or slip. They are formed by hand, dried, sanded or sponged and then fired for 12 hours. After the first firing I glaze and then refire for another 18 hours or so. When the pieces are cool enough to take out of the kiln I then apply my illustrations and fire … again … for another 10 hours. It’s such a long process to make one piece! I love the end result though and to me its completely worth it.
What challenges have you faced starting your own label, and what are some things you love about it?
Well most days I tend to stumble across a challenging situation but I’m sure that’s due to my crazy schedule. Its all a juggling act when you have a small child and are trying to run your own business at the same time. I love that I learn along the way and how to improve time management without compromising the quality of my work.