Returning to the Finders Keepers Sydney/ Eora Market this December is professional mess maker and colourful ceramic artist Bea Bellingham! She’s joining us at The Cutaway for three days of creativity and connection, bringing along her quirky collection of mugs, vases, jewellery and more! We caught up with Bea to learn more about her journey from illustrator to ceramic artist and now owner of Clay Sydney. We also managed to get a sneak peek of what to expect from her stall this 9-11 of December in Sydney!
What was the inspiration behind starting your business?
I’ve always been a mess-maker. My parents had their own businesses, so it always seemed like a viable option to me. I wasn’t the best employee either, with my head constantly half on my next creative idea and the other half on lunch. When my own daughter was born, I read “Dear Ijeawele, or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, in which she talks to her friend about how to raise a daughter as a feminist. One thing that really stuck with me was the need to be a role model. If you want your daughter to feel that she can have her own career in something she loves, then you need to show them it’s possible. So sure, it was a lot of work and ups and downs, but I’m also not sure it was that inspired an ah-ha moment kind of way. I’ve always made it, and I’m incredibly lucky that I’ve found a way to do that for a living!
How has your business evolved over the past year?
I had to put the Bea Bellingham personal business into hibernation over COVID. I was heaps preggo/with tiny baby no 2, launching Clay at Home, opening a second studio, then a third for Clay Sydney (my other business), and didn’t really leave much personal creative time.
Reopening my own personal studio was anxiety-inducing – could I even remember how to create a range?! But I think I was able to distil what I wanted it to create over the break, which in essence, is to make folks feel a little bit more cheerful and interact with others. My work has always used typography, but now this is the star of the show. I’ve tried to contrast cutesie designs with less-than-cute sayings, and if nothing else, it makes me laugh.
What is your creative guilty pleasure?
I like big pots, and I cannot lie.
What’s something people might not know about you?
There are very few things people don’t know about me, as I am a chronic over-sharer and talker. If it’s in my brain, it’s coming out. If you’re swinging by my stand at Finders and we’re having a chat it’s highly likely you’ll get more than you bargained for. Sorry, not sorry!
What do you love about Sydney, and who are you looking forward to visiting at the markets?
The beaches, the parks, the food, and the creative community. After a while, you start to know most ceramicists, who are gorgeous, supportive groups. At the Finders Keepers Markets, I’m always keen to see new makers and folks I’ve known for years! My first studio neighbour Hayden Youlley is travelling back down from his new home in Northern NSW with his stunning porcelain work, Liz Lau and Albatross have possibly the cutest ceramic stalls known to man, and my current studio neighbour, Ann Howe will be there with her gorgeous glazes for the first time. My other brand Clay Sydney will be there, and it’s always great to have a break from my stand to do some demos and chat about the mud behind the mugs!
What can we expect from your stall at this event?
Most people react in one of two ways at the stand: titter like a naughty school kid or cackle like the filthy ratbags I know you all are. So, expect more of that. More Kath and Kim. More Australianisms. More excuses to shout “mole” over your morning coffee.
See you at the markets!
Meet the makers at the Sydney/Eora Market this 9 – 11 December at the Cutaway, Barangaroo. Tickets are available here, or you can grab them at the door.