For a young Kim Haugie, her sandpit was the ‘magical place of ephemeral creation’ that started it all. The potter admits that playing under a big old apple tree in the sand isn’t really that far removed from her days now spent making pots! ‘I am always happiest in the act of making,’ she tells. ‘The inquiry of an idea into form is so very immediate with clay; it is a very direct, sensory dialogue.’
That said, things have changed a little. ‘My home studio is a beautiful intimate space to create in, with its large eastern window frontage looking out to the adjoining bushland,’ describes Kim, who studied a Diploma of Ceramics at Ballarat’s Federation University. Collections of gum leaves, feathers, rocks, seasonal blooms and even shells from beach trips adorn the space, which is located in Springmount, just 20 minutes north of Ballarat. ‘I have complete access to so many environments here: forests, big open landscapes of the area and magnificent skies, through which huge flocks of black cockatoos often fly – I always stop my work and rush out to see them,’ says Kim, who is passionate about embodying this affection for her regional surrounds into her work.
Other inspirations come from further afield, including frequent visits to South Korea, as well as Japan where Kim has been inspired by tea ceremony traditions. Her most recent pottery spans platters, bowls, cups and an abundance of vases for displaying seasonal flower arrangements, including Japanese ikebana, as well as forms inspired by the simplicity of the dal hangari (Korean moon vases). ‘I think there is a little bit of lunar energy in all my pots! I am really playing on the moon theme,’ she tells.
Kim’s creations are linked by their ‘earthy flavour’, championing the natural, organic nature of raw clay blends, from the coarse and stoney to those flecked with river rock and quarts – Kim mixes all of these and even digs for some herself! Glazes, too, are concocted by the potter. ‘I don’t think I have ever done two firings the same either… The making of ceramics is definitely a dark art!’ she jokes.
Pieces find their individual flare through Kim’s etching technique, whereby oxides are rubbed into the marks. ‘It’s messy and time intensive, but I love the result,’ she says. This sentiment is echoed by the many locals that purchase her pieces, and contemporaries that are drawn to her practice. The key to it all, according to Kim? ‘Touch the void, charter the unknown, and lead with your instinct!’
To find out more about the creative movement unfolding in Ballarat and to experience the craftsmanship for yourself, make sure to visit madeofballarat.com.au.