Ceramics From James Lemon

Today we visit James Shaw aka James Lemon who is currently studying sculpture as part of a Fine Arts degree at RMIT, and in the meantime has gained an impressive following for his quirky, handmade ceramic wares.

James introduces his delightfully wonky new ‘Bump’ collection, launching this Mother’s Day weekend (cute coincidence!) at Guild of Objects in Melbourne.

Elle Murrell

James Shaw of Lemons Ceramics in his Coburg home studio. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.



Though he only started making ceramics just over two years ago, Jame’s has already forged a distinctive style. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

James at work on a piece for his new collection, Bump, which launches at Guild of Objects in North Melbourne this weekend. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

‘Tactility and texture is one of my main focuses when finishing my work. It’s something I’m a little obsessed with, but in terms of objects that you handle a lot, that’s a good thing I hope.’ tells James. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

‘I have a real drive to succeed through my creative practice, and I feel like abandoning it because life gets stressful wouldn’t reflect well on my character,’ says the ceramicist. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

James tries to recycle as much clay as he can can, which varies the outcome of his pieces. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

‘I’ve found that keeping consciously motivated raises the coffee intake, but also things start to move, and you’ve gotta keep moving with it!’  says James. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

Elle Murrell
12th of May 2017

Before moving to Melbourne from Wellington, New Zealand, James Shaw lived down the road from a pottery school, yet ceramics were always out of reach. ‘I was working full-time, but I could never pull the money together to commit to lessons’ he recalls..

Five years ago, James decided to cross the ditch, with creative goals in mind. After dabbling in music and acting, James was still looking for something that made him feel great. ‘I remember making the first pot by myself, and I found a real sense of accomplishment, deeper than I had in other creative outlets I had tried before,’ he admits. ‘Making objects with my hands and mud made me feel like a new parent to my pots—but then again, I ended up dropping one of the first pots I threw, so I’m glad that I’m not an actual parent!’

Two years on, and the self-proclaimed ‘clumsy guy’ is ‘living off throwing and firing’, studying sculpture as part of a Fine Arts degree at RMIT, and has already gained an impressive following for his quirky, handmade wares.

I’m not going to pretend like I didn’t choose the hardest possible way to do this – being a New Zealander here can be tough, and starting a business making pottery is nothing less than stupid.

His ceramics practice, James Lemon, started just over a year ago, after James began to identify a consistency in what he was creating. Following some enthusiastically-received No. Cups, bowls, and a collaboration with Hunting for George, James is set to unveil his new collection, Bump, at Guild of Objects this weekend.

Thrown to shape, and then literally bumped, the pieces that survive become one-of-a-kind tumblers, vases, bowls, lampshades and other bits and bobs. ‘I try to hit the pieces in different places and with different strengths to really emphasise the tensions in the new form,’ tells James. ‘I break a lot of work by doing this, but that makes each finished piece a little bit more special I guess.’

James will also be taking part in Junior Space’s exhibition ‘1’ on May 19. Follow his ceramics adventures, here.

Lemons Ceramics, including pieces from the new Bump range, in various stages of completion. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

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