People are always asking me what my job as editorial assistant of The Design Files entails and I answer honestly, telling them that I am pretty much a professional stalker. I have always been obsessed with getting the 'scoop', from ousting the murderer in Cluedo too prematurely and ruining games night for everyone, to scouring Instagram at 2.00am looking for potential TDF gold. Basically if your Instagram is not set to private, we have probably met on the internet before.
It was actually in one of these Instagram vortexes (you know, when you give yourself five minutes to catch up on the Insta-goss and end up wasting a few hours of your life on it) when I discovered today’s first NKOTB candidate – Sophie Moorhouse Morris. Sophie is a Melbourne-based ceramist, and upon coming across her work for the first time I found myself instantly in a 'need / want' panic, unable to choose which piece I loved most.
Originally from Fremantle, Sophie always had an inkling that she would follow a creative path, and has been in the business of making since childhood. But it was only about seven years ago when she first dabbled in pottery after enrolling in a night class with a friend. Eventually this nighttime hobby grew into something more, and lead Sophie to move to Melbourne to study ceramics at RMIT.
Sophie has just finished up a residency at Harvest Workroom, where she explored and added to her Bakerhouse range of products, a series of ceramic planters, vessels, teacups and jewellery. I am particularly loving these matte ceramic painted patterned planters in organic forms, where Sophie's love of illustration and pottery intersect.
We asked Sophie a few questions about herself and her work –
I've always been a maker and knew that making art and craft would be a huge part of my daily life in some form. I'd been making clothes and jewellery since I was a kid, and was really interested in textiles and print. About seven years ago I started joining a friend at her evening pottery classes. I was instantly hooked. I love the immediate response of the material, the mess, the endless texture possibilities, the weight, the feel and the look of clay.
After some time travelling I moved to Melbourne and applied for a Bachelor of Fine Arts at RMIT in Ceramics. I was also lucky enough to go on exchange to the Gerrit Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam for six months. At both universities I loved being in the studio, learning new possibilities, seeing how others were treating the material and discovering my own style in clay and in other mediums.
After completing my degree in the middle of 2012 I spent some time toying with the idea of releasing a range, but was unsure of how to keep the balance between arts practice and design practice. I spoke with many friends about how they manage and sustain the two separate, but connected, practices. Everyone had completely different experiences and advice. A few months ago I was at dinner with a friend who made me realise that I'm happiest when I'm in the studio, and that the two practices don't have to be so separate. Soon after, I decided to get stuck into making for Bakerhouse and luckily had access to the beautiful studios at the Slow Clay Centre to get started. Then the ever supportive and generous Harvest ladies took me on as their artist-in-residence for June/July, so the last month has been packed with making!
I'm process driven, I find working with my hands for hours meditative. The decisions I come to through the process of making becomes integral to the finished work. Often a small discovery pushes the work in a new direction, this I find exciting. Material is also very important to me, I'm always keen for the material quality of what I am working with to show in the work. I draw inspiration from textiles, drawing and patterns. I'm often referencing my drawings in my ceramics and see a strong link in my two practices.
I'm looking forward to continue making the work I started while at Harvest Workroom, developing some new Bakerhouse products and starting the hunt for happy stockists. I'm also looking forward to working with a friend of mine in creating Bakerhouse's visual identity and website!