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Kaz Morton · Peony Collection

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Commencing her creative career at the age of just eight, Karen Morton has worked in various artistic mediums across the globe. From hosting intimate art classes, completing large-scale multi-storey paintings, educating others as a schoolteacher and launching her ceramics line, Kaz Morton Ceramics in 2012, the Mornington Peninsula local has created a life seeped in beauty. Our new contributor Fiona Killackey spoke with the Melbourne maker on the eve of launching Peony, her latest range for Kaz Morton Ceramics.

13th September, 2016
Fiona Killackey
Tuesday 13th September 2016

A creative career was always on the cards for Karen Morton. The Irish native conducted her first art class before reaching double digits. ‘I have an inquisitive personality and a creative soul,’ says Karen. ‘I started hosting art classes as an 8-year-old when I turned my parents shed into an art studio. Creating in some form or another is all I’ve ever wanted to do.’ Although she studied ceramics, as part of a Fine Arts degree, it wasn’t until Karen became a mother and turned to the practice as a career that she really honed her craft. ‘The majority of my knowledge has been learnt on the job! I love pushing the boundaries.’ This includes mixing mediums and textures such as porcelain with wood or leather. ‘The last two ranges have incorporated painting, and I have loved returning to using the brush again.’ Karen’s latest range, Peony – inspired by the palette of the flower – features a collection of porcelain functional pieces ‘that can be used as everything from a ring holder on your beside table, through to cookware for a soufflé’. An injection of jewellery will be added to the collection in time for Christmas. Despite her fascination with form, for Karen, function is paramount. ‘I want people to feel like they own a really special piece but also to use the pieces’ she says. ‘I hate to think of them sitting in cupboards because people are scared of breakage. They’re exposed to such high temperatures during creation, they really are made to be used.’ Making use of her creations will be guests at the newly opened QT Melbourne, via a collaboration Karen has formed with the boutique hotel group. ‘I’ve worked with the team very closely from concept through to production. It’s exciting that such a prestigious group is supporting local makers.’ Providing her own support to those entering the trade is something Karen delights in. ‘Before committing full-time to Kaz Ceramics, I worked as a teacher. I’m a very social person and the solitary life in a studio doesn’t really suit me. I’m Irish and I love a bit of banter and love teaching others ceramics,’ she says. ‘I never take for granted the gift that I have in being able to create every day.’ The Kaz Morton Ceramics Peony collection is available to order online or through Greenhouse Interiors. Karen Morton will be hosting a Ceramic Jewellery Workshop at Frisky Deer in WA on September 17 2016, tickets can be purchased here.

Ceramics by Melbourne artist Karen Morton of Kaz Morton Ceramics. Styling – Julia Green. Photo – Armelle Habib.

The Design Files acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the lands on which we work, the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.

First Nations artists, designers, makers, and creative business owners are encouraged to submit their projects for coverage on The Design Files. Please email bea@thedesignfiles.net