FK chats to Toni Park about her Brisbane based ceramic label, GiddyGirl Design
Tell us about your ceramics label, GiddyGirl Design.
GiddyGirl Design is my label under which I produce super cute porcelain jewellery and homewares – most of which can be used to decorate your walls or surfaces. GGD is where I get to have and make with abandon. Some of the ideas are quite odd, quirky, some refined and simple. After years of playing with all different types of clay and decorative techniques I have focussed my processes and materials to luscious, buttery porcelains, slips and homemade glazes. I feel that the more that I am involved in each step of the creation process, instead of using all commercially made products, the more ‘handmade’, individual and special each piece is. There aren’t any rights or wrongs, it’s just the way I like to work.
What is your background and how did you get started?
My background was in a whole other industry and it was driving me N.U.T.S. nuts! So, about 7 years ago, I packed it all in and went back to school to do an Advanced Dip in Ceramics. I was as happy as a pig in mud. Since then I haven’t looked back! I’ve been involved in other fields but ceramics has remained my deep love and interest.
What draws you to working with ceramics?
I suppose it goes back to my high-school art subject and teachers. They were fantastic. I was spoilt with access to so many mediums and the teachers were so interesting and encouraging. I felt like they really wanted us to learn, create and communicate. Something about the 3D nature of clay and the fact that no matter how long you work with it you will never have all the answers has kept me entertained.
Clay seems to make sense at my fingertips. I am not so good at expressing on paper or in other mediums. I prefer to cut, shape, push, pull, carve, pour, scratch and polish my way along. I also love the variety of work you can produce from one material: cups, bowls, plates, sculptures, jewelery, mosaics, tiles. I like encountering difficulties and rotating the issues in my mind in search of a solution – there isn’t always one to be found!
Describe your creative work space.
I have three creative work spaces, to be honest. In my head I muddle through tons of ideas and quite often that’s where I disappear to when I’m stuck doing something a little bit tedious. Then there’s my sketch book. She comes with me everywhere. That’s where all my scribbles sit in anticipation of having more time to make. Lastly, there’s my studio. A fantastic space, filled with inspirational devices, where I’m free to make and experiment til I can’t make no more! I have a couple of work benches, each reserved for different stages in the making process. I have shelves of raw materials and decorative tools and colours. I use a potter’s wheel for most of my functional pieces. And I seem to collect heaps of random ‘stuff’ if I think it might somehow be useful/pretty/surprising to my work.
Give us three awesome things to do in Brisbane!
Here are my ‘go to’ faves – easy and kinda cheap too!
One – Catch a ferry – now that they are running again after the floods – go anywhere you haven’t been before – and walk. Brisbane really is very pretty – and its has gorgeous little secrets hiding around many corners. Lovely parks, cafes, live music venues and markets!
Two – let me preface this fave by saying that I am a really simple person with basic needs. If I ever get time – I love going to the Valley, wandering around the mall, finding a nice looking spot to perch, do a crossword, chat and maybe warm myself in the sun. It’s simple but I almost feel like I’ve been on a little holiday after one of those.
Three – go catch a movie at the Globe Theatre on Brunswick – you’ll see things that no one else is willing to show or might be past its use-by-date – maybe some shouldn’t be shown anymore – you decide – its a good atmosphere with lovely staff.
What new plans do you have for 2011?
This year is off to a fantastic start! It is now and will continue to be a busy one, my work was in Queensland Homes and Home Beautiful Magazine is running a profile on my work in July – which I am so excited about. They are so supportive of local artisans and designers. Mark Lobo (photographer extraordinaire) will be helping me to photographically catalogue my collection for my online store. I also hope to be a part of Finders Keepers again this year! And I’m looking forward to spending Easter with my family – they have cows – miniature ones – for playing, not for eating. Awesome.