A few years ago I was on the late night television remote control patrol and started watching an episode of My Strange Addiction. This television show documents the often unexplainable obsessions of its subjects, and on this particular episode a mid-twenties girl was obsessed with terracotta. She even ate it. While today’s local creative Sharon Muir hasn’t taken her fascination with terracotta quite to this extreme, she does have a fledging homewares business well worthy of obsession.
Originally from Melbourne, Sharon has been passionate about pottery since she was in primary school. To her surprise, as a teenager, she discovered that pottery was an actual subject that was taught at her high school, and she hasn’t looked back. After finishing her Masters in Fine Art at RMIT where she specialised in ceramics, she was fortunate to find a space in the studio of iconic Australian ceramicist Stephen Benwell. ‘Having a studio space meant I was able to maintain my ceramics practice in a dedicated space and explore new ideas,’ says Sharon.
These days Sharon now calls Brisbane home, and it was here that she started experimenting with terracotta clay for the first time around two years ago, inspired after a trip to Mexico. This range has since grown to include tableware, vases and decorative objects, each hand painted in her signature black and white glaze.
‘My influences come from a wide range of sources including Aztec and Neolithic pottery, Mid Century objects and architecture, and patterns and shapes I see used on historic buildings,’ says Sharon.
Presently Sharon is developing some new products and sculptural works to accompany her base range and has plans to exhibit her work in a gallery context. ‘At the moment I’m working with a huge range of clays and firing temperatures, white earthenware, mid-fire terracotta, Southern Ice porcelain and testing some coloured stoneware clays. Luckily the colours are behaving!’ she says. Her first exhibition opens later this month at Paperboat Press in Brisbane, with another show to follow shortly afterwards in Canberra.