Five Questions with Made by Bowie

Debut Seller Katie the creator behind ceramic label Made by Bowie, takes 5 with us to share her copyright to clay journey! Sometimes when we least expect it your creative path will find you. We’re yet to meet Katie IRL but we’ve already been won over by the geometric shapes and warm clay pieces. We’re also super excited to Made by Bowie join the Finders Keepers Online Marketplace!

P,s Don’t miss out Made by Bowie’s inclusion at this weekend Finders Keepers at Home Shopping highlight kicking off from this Thursday 18th June!

Image credit: Photographer Greta Costello

Tell us about your business and how it started?

I was working as a Copywriter but long hours and intense pressure meant that I was fast approaching burnout. I was looking for an outlet, something that would allow me to be creative on my own terms. Christmas came along and my husband gifted me a rolling pin. I thought he was suggesting I up my pie game (I don’t have a pie game) and I snorted in his face. It wasn’t until he threw a bag of clay in my arms that I realised he was suggesting I explore pottery.

My mum dusted off her old pottery wheel and sent it down from Newcastle. When it arrived on the back of that truck, I set it up in the shed and pretty much didn’t leave it unless I was getting fed or going to bed. I was a woman possessed. I built my skills and began to share my journey on Instagram, which led to interest from shops and galleries. Two years later I shifted gears and flipped careers to make Made by Bowie my main focus and copywriting my side hustle.

I now work as a full-time potter making ceramic planters and other fun objects from a sunny Coburg studio with my staffy, Hank, and teach ceramics at Northcote Pottery and Bisque Studios.

What influences your work, and what sparks your creativity?

I’ve always had a fascination with how structures and forms come together, which lead me to study interior design and graphic design before copywriting. Seeing an angle on a structure or pattern in nature that sparks an idea and interrogating how that could be decoratively applied to an object. 

My husband and I are always tinkering on projects in our studios and sometimes together. There will be components of his work working that I like to try weave into my practice and vice versa. Most days I’ll also spend a little time sitting on the floor with a pair of scissors and paper, exploring and just having fun with it. 

What impact has 2020 had on your business and how have you changed your direction?

The start of this year has been a rare opportunity to take pause, look under the hood of my business and fine tune processes. When you’re deep in the making trenches, it can be hard to take a step back and look for efficiencies. I also tend to get distracted a lot with Hank eyeballing me for pats and snacks. Looking at the end-to-end process and making little adjustments to my making cycle has enabled me to produce more in the same amount of time.

I’ve also the enjoyed breathing space to explore new materials and projects, and nurture relationships with collectors and new customers. It’s been especially lovely developing these friendships.

What are you watching / reading / listening to right now that is inspiring and uplifting?

In the studio I love listening to a podcast called One Wild Ride. When you’re in your own bubble spinning the wheels to get something off the ground, it’s fascinating and motivating to hear stories from others who are right there with you, or who’re already accomplished at their practice and are sharing their experiences, the good and the bad. 

I’ve also just picked up Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth and am loving every page. It’s a book based on research that reinforces that a combination of passion (a deep, enduring knowledge of what you want) and perseverance (hard work and resilience) can help you accomplish more in life.

Tell us about your creative process and what designs do you love making the most! 

My practice focuses on geometric surface design. I predominantly use paper resist and porcelain slips as my decorative treatment. The clay bodies I work with are dark and earthy, and applying porcelain to them is a way to play with light and shadow. Once fired to stoneware, the porcelain also enhances materials in the clay and glaze.

My favourite things to make at the moment are breakfast sets. I like the challenge of three components, especially plates because they’re essentially one giant test tile. And when I open the kiln and they haven’t warped I break out in interpretive dance.

Who are you loving in the ceramic scene!

I am loving Nadia Robertson and Peta Marie. Every time I see a piece of theirs, I swoon over my screen. It’s hard to describe but there’s something about the symbolism in their work that makes me feel more grounded.

Arcadia Scott and Tantri Mustika are also two clay boss ladies who’ve been great friends and sources of inspiration when it comes to running your own gig. 

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