Thursday, December 1st 2016
Falling in love with hand made pieces has big implications. It becomes an addiction. The profound beauty of imperfection and the story that each irregularity imbues becomes more alluring than the object itself. Tangible evidence of heart poured into someone’s work, little reminders to look beyond what’s in front of you and appreciate the art of creating, an infatuation inextricably linked with knowing the journey is far more important than the destination. And once you experience that beauty it’s almost impossible to get the same pleasure you might have once, out of a mass produced piece. The money you might save is incomparable to the value of an object handcrafted with soul, and the pleasure it brings every single time you experience it.
Such was the case when filling a New York City apartment recently. In a bit of a hurry to furnish a new apartment in between the madness of Bridal Week, an absolutely insane workload, visitors arriving to stay and a trip back to Australia booked, I think I filled and unfilled a shopping cart at West Elm three times knowing I just needed to get it done, but unable to bring myself to. An aesthetically obsessed crazy person yes, but to me standing there and witnessing the madness of consumerism, the disposability, the sheer volume and variety of just dinner plates alone, and the market right there engulfing it (along with the 30 varieties of everything else we didn't know we needed before we got there), was crazier. My addiction to handmade pieces meant mass produced goods have lost all appeal, to the point that I would rather zero plates, cups, knives and forks, until I found pieces I had my heart set on. Take out for the week it was (well lets be real it was going to be take out all week anyway, with fancy plates), until I could venture over to the Brooklyn studio of a ceramicist I had long been obsessed with after using her pieces in our Botanical Styling Workshop.
Stepping into Wynne’s studio was worth every moment of the wait. A beautifully lived in loft space, a creative chaos of beauty in every corner. Aged patina walls that held stories, paint stained brushes and clay covered tools that spoke volumes about the heart and soul poured into each piece over the years. I watched as Wynne magically spun ceramics before my eyes and proudly inscribed each piece. I was in awe of the art she created, but more so the passion behind a business that’s in no way scalable, and requires her hand on every single piece. A business that she at times struggled to keep afloat as the industry has shifted and changed with technology, but one she held together with a belief in her art form. It’s hard to place a value on that.
Pulling together a collection of organically shaped plateware in dreamy shades of charcoal that I knew would live in my home for years to come, I spoke to Wynne about her work, the historic studio she was just about to move from (which i had to shoot before she left!), and excitingly, the renewed love for and shift toward handmade pieces that she’s witnessing, which is keeping this craft alive…
My love of ceramics stems from… when I first saw a potters wheel demonstration at the age of 8. As far as I was concerned, the potter was a magician and I was completely captivated
I draw inspiration from… The Natural World; Plants, Geology and Atmospheric, Weather & Environmental Events.
I’ve created work for… Early on I sold to department stores (Barneys, Bendels, Bloomingdales etc.) I continue to sell to Individuals and Restaurants in the USA (Momofuku Ko, Casa Apicii, Gramercy Tavern, Contra etc.) , Canada (Eat Datsun, El Camino), and Japan (Path/Bistro Rjiura).
In a world of mass produced goods, my biggest challenge is… Balancing two sensibilities: the public’s desire for matching uniformity along side the desire for products that show evidence of being handmade.
Something that surprises me about my industry is… The Community which is consistently generous and full of talented individuals
Some of the changes i’ve witnessed in the décor /design industries and what consumers are drawn to are…Along side the rise of Digital Production and Mass Mechanization, is the need for the human touch. This and the Food Movement have opened the door for made by hand plateware - making it a hey day for potters.
If walls could talk in my studio, the stories it would tell are of… Food . Friends, and Family. Music, Politics, Perception and Artichokes. Maybe Baba Ganoush .
The thing that lights me up inside, and pushes me to create better work is… The idea of that special piece that works in color, form, and function. The one that is just right and sings.
My ultimate dream is… To share the idea that objects in space (from bowls to abstract works) are sculptures. To keep on making objects that are a pleasure to look at & to hold.