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Harnessing Natural Splendour Through Clay

Made of Ballarat

Kim Haughie is enraptured by the distinctive seasons and natural splendour of her home, just north of Ballarat.

While the potter’s poetic words have a way of transporting you (as you’ll soon agree), we recently had the opportunity to visit Kim’s charming home studio, to admire distinctive earthy ceramics – handcrafted pieces that ‘bring the outside world in’.

26th November, 2018

A studio visit with potter Kim Haughie. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

Kim on the wheel in her home studio in Springmount, just north of Ballarat. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

Kim’s ceramics are inspired by the natural beauty and distinctive seasonality of her area. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

‘My home studio is a beautiful intimate space to create in,’ says the potter. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

She also gains lots of ideas from annual pilgrimages to South Korea and Japan. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

‘I keep playing on these vase themes, it ties in with my love of flowers and foliage but I also make beautiful platters and bowls,’ tells the potter. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

Her ranges spans, dishes, platters, cups and several vases. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

Kim works on a piece insired by dal hangari (Korean moon vases). Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

She has a penchant for natural, organic nature of raw clay blends, mixes these and even digging for some herself! Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

Studio details. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

The potter also creates her own glazes, which she feels ties her diverse clays together into a cohesive collection. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

Kim is passionate about translating her affection for her regional surrounds into her work. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

Kim sells her wares directly, at local markets and will be participating at the Castlemaine Artist Market on Saturday, December 2nd and the Clunes Makers Market on Sunday, December 9th. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

Kim’s most popular piece is her three-part ikebana set, with interchangeable elements. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

Collections of gum leaves, feathers, rocks, seasonal blooms and even shells from beach trips adorn her workspace. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

Next year she also hopes to build a new wood-fire kiln! Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

Elle Murrell
Monday 26th November 2018

‘My work is loved by locals, and slowly gaining some solid momentum. I feel incredibly privileged to be able to do what I love to do.’ – Kim Haughie.

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!’

Stay up to date with Kim Haughie’s practice, inquire about sales or find out where she will be showing her wares next visit her website or Instagram @kimhaughie.

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.

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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 – we would love to hear from you.

Please email us here.