Sometimes you just know where you need to be… ‘I’ve made my way through many different creative projects over time, but it was a love for flowers and a curiosity for Ikebana that led me back to clay,’ explains Kate Brouwer.
The talented ceramicist launched Asobimasu Clay in early 2016, after feeling lost and unhappy in her working life. ‘It was a quick decision, I needed to spend more time creatively focussed. I rented a studio where I began to get my hands dirty,’ Kate recalls. ‘Figuring out how to make things work financially wasn’t really on my mind at that stage, I just wanted to create.’
Kate is inspired by nature, and has a verdant curiosity of Japanese Ikebana, along with architecture, form, and surface. Using a combination of wheel throwing and hand-building, she will sometimes begin with a sketch, but more often than not discovers forms through play. As a final test, Kate will create floral arrangements within a vase to see if the way she imagined the vessel interacting with flowers and branches has been realised.
While her output is constantly evolving, the Kaiketsu Vase has emerged as a striking signature piece among a number of staple designs, and is Kate’s personal favourite. The vessel seeks to create a reciprocal relationship between form and nature, rather than dominate and constrict its contents. ‘Kaiketsu is a Japanese word meaning resolution. The Kaiketsu Vase, for me, is my most resolved work. And is what I believe a vase should be,’ explains the ceramicist.
Kate currently creates from the beautiful new Bisque Studios, a shared artist space with a focus on ceramics. She is grateful to share the studio with other makers who can relate to the ups and downs of her craft – Tantri Mustika and Grace Brown from Oh Hey Grace also work out of this shared space. ‘Clay has so many challenges, it’s a beautiful end process that has so many precarious steps. Clay body, glaze fit, firing temperatures, drying times… so many things can go wrong,’ Kate tells. ‘We all speak and share openly about our knowledge and downfalls, that’s what I love most about the ceramic community, we support each other.’
Relishing that collaboration, next month Kate is participating in and curating Form and Assemble as part of Craft Victoria’s annual Craft Cubed festival. She hopes the event will showcase Victoria’s diverse ceramic culture, and provide a platform for artists to connect. ‘Clay is full of endless opportunities,’ she beams, ‘the more I know, the more I want to seek’.
Form and Assemble
August 10th and 11th
2/167 Beavers Road
Find out more about Kate Brouwer’s ceramic practice at Asobimasuclay.com or by following on Instagram @asobimasu_clay.