Studio Visit

The Sydney Opera House, Sirius + Other Sculptural Ceramics

At Open House last year, we saw architectural, sculptural ceramics fly off the shelves (in the best way). We’ve been smitten ever since, and it could be just us, but this combo of our two greatest loves seems to be trending!

Like fellow Sydneysider Jane McKenzie (who we featured last month), ceramicist Natalie Rosin moved from architecture to her new media: clay. It’s easy to see how these two passions merge in Natalie’s practice, as we pay a visit to her busy shared studio in Botany.

Elle Murrell

The architect-turned-ceramicist in her Botany studio. Photo – Jacqui Turk for The Design Files.

Claypool studio details.  ‘We occupy a large area at a creative space called ‘Block J’ in Botany, a fairly industrial area of Sydney,’ tells Natalie. ‘The building was previously owned by a furniture and joinery manufacturer and has the most beautiful natural light from its saw-tooth roof elements.’ Photo – Jacqui Turk for The Design Files.

Natalie works on ‘Density, Sparsity and Somewhere in Between’. Photo – Jacqui Turk for The Design Files.

Into the kiln! Photo – Jacqui Turk for The Design Files.

Natalie has been doing ceramics full-time since late 2017. Photo – Jacqui Turk for The Design Files.

Part of her glaze process. Photo – Jacqui Turk for The Design Files.

Vessels waiting to be glaze fired, with liquid glaze applied. Photo – Jacqui Turk for The Design Files.

Natalie applies hot wax to the base of a mug so that it won’t be affected when dipped in glaze. Photo – Jacqui Turk for The Design Files.

I’m looking forward to working toward more exhibitions and taking on new projects even if they may seem challenging and outside of my previous repertoire,’ says the ceramicist. Photo – Jacqui Turk for The Design Files.

Finished works (left to right) ‘Stacking’, ‘Sirius’, ‘Figure 02’, ‘Modern Machine’, and ‘Figure 01’, in various clays and glazes. Photo – Jacqui Turk for The Design Files.

Elle Murrell
29th of May 2018

Having been interested in art and design from a young age, Natalie Rosin took a ceramics elective at COFA (now known as the UNSW Art and Design School) during her Master of Architecture degree. She couldn’t halt the momentum; from then on, it was all about learning more skills and techniques (via loads of short-courses and workshops).

‘Whether studying Masters full-time or landing my first full-time graduate position within an architecture studio, I have always filled my weekday evenings and weekends with ceramic projects,’ tells Natalie. In 2016, she decided to transition to a part-time role at the architecture studio where she was working, and then later left for Poland where she undertook a three-month artist residency at Baltic Gallery of Contemporary Art. From October 2017, ceramics became Natalie’s full-time focus, and she joined a studio of like-minded ceramicists, the Claypool group, in Botany.

Here, she mainly hand builds, using slab form techniques achieved with a large slab roller, and likes to experiment with brass and various glaze combinations. When we visited, Natalie was working on her sculptural yet functional vessel, ‘Density, Sparsity and Somewhere in Between’. Made from slabs of White Stoneware Paper Clay, this piece has a unique, gradated surface texture, created using a painstaking process of hand painting small black dots in a special underglaze, before being fired to 1,250ºC!

‘This pointillist style of work is more recent, but borrows from my other hand-painted vessels featuring unique patterns and colours, which I’ve been making since 2016,’ details the ceramicist. Other pieces – like ‘House in a Plum Grove,’ ‘Sirius’ and ‘SOH’ are part of a long-running body of work connected to Natalie’s former career. ‘These more architectural sculptures are a strong foundation of my practice, and I continue to develop and pursue the possibilities and limitations of these forms.’

Though she’s had her fair share of ups and downs, Nat lives for the fantastic projects that come her way c/o design-oriented clients who share her strong appreciation for Australian handmade. She has a message for creatives seeking a similar path and sense of purpose. ‘To anyone reading this who has been thinking of turning a part-time passion into a full-time focus, I would say there are many challenges worth tackling. You owe it to yourself to try take on these challenges, because through them you’ll become a stronger person, develop self-confidence, and be investing time into refining and mastering a skill.’

Presence group exhibition by Curatorial+Co
Until May 31st, 2018
Comber St Studios,
Paddington, New South Wales

Clay Intersections group exhibition
Touring until January 30th, 2020
Galleries throughout Victoria, Australian Captial Territory, and New South Wales.

Natalie Rosin will also be exhibiting as part of the Biennale of Australian Art in Ballarat later in the year as well as in several group exhibitions in Sydney. Keep up to date with her news, shop her e-store or locate stockists at

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