Ella Bendrups‘ interest in ceramics has been an organic evolution – from ceramics fan to ceramics student, and then onto building her own ceramics-based business over the past three years. The diligent 27-year-old studied Communication Design, Interior Design and Decoration at RMIT, before working as a stylist’s assistant. ‘This experience exposed me to many talented makers and inspired me to make pottery myself,’ says Ella, who subsequently honed her own skills through classes at Guild of Objects and Northcote Pottery Supplies.
After gaining confidence to explore her own personal style throughout 2015, Ella committed to her craft part-time in the spring of 2016. ‘I had received such positive feedback and encouragement from prop and food stylists, and others in the industry that I finally felt ready to put my work out there by launching an online store and selling at markets,’ the ceramicist explains. When she’s not making her own wares, Ella continues to assist stylists, such as Stephanie Stamatis. ‘I find that this helps spur on my own practice, as I am regularly exposed to some of the most talented people working in creative industries in Melbourne,’ Ella tells.
The level-headed young maker has recently been creating from a workspace at Studio Local in Northcote, where she has gained valuable experience and enjoyed the input from other residents. Ella also works from her little home workspace, hand-building and utilising pinching, as well as slab techniques. A prevailing colour palette of calm neutrals is considered, and employed to emphasise the texture and form of her ceramics.
On the other hand, the forms themselves emerge from more spur-of-the-moment decision making. ‘I have learned that I can best express myself through quick, yet decisive movements. I researched pottery pieces that I felt encompassed this spirit, and this lead me to the kurinuki,’ tells Ella, referring to a subtractive method where a solid block of clay is shaved and carved off to create a desired exterior form, much like working with stone. Ella has experimented with the kurinuki technique for her new series of Hewn Vessels.
Spurred on by the encouragement she’s received from other local makers, Ella is a community-minded maker. She has recently taken the leap into teaching, and is looking forward to sharing her craft through an upcoming series of workshops.
Ella Bendrups has teamed up with Stephanie and Sarah from Studio Local for a slab building Clay Study running on 17th of June. TDF readers who are interested in signing up can utilise the code TDFXCLAY.