This website uses cookies to improve your experience navigating our site. By continuing to browse, you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

OK, I understand

Japanese Design Meets Mid-Century Modern In These Sculptural Ceramics

Creative People

It’s hard to place, or date the work of Melbourne-based ceramicist Jan Vogelpoel. Her exquisite handcrafted ceramics feel distinctly ‘international’ – you feel you’re looking at something made in Scandinavia, even though they’re made right here in Melbourne. Equally, these contemporary collectibles have a strong sense of nostalgia about them, and would be right at home in a mid century setting!

Today we take a tour of Jan’s sunny Kew studio, to learn more about the intention behind her craft.

3rd September, 2019

Photo – Elisa Watson.

Photo – Elisa Watson.

Photo – Elisa Watson.

Photo – Elisa Watson.

Photo – Elisa Watson.

Photo – Elisa Watson.

Photo – Elisa Watson.

Photo – Elisa Watson.

Photo – Elisa Watson.

Photo – Elisa Watson.

‘For the first time I am creating for myself – no brief, no deadlines, no demanding clients. Just me and the clay!’ – Jan Vogelpoel.

UK-born, South African-raised and now Melbourne-based ceramicist Jan Vogelpoel initially studied graphic design and was drawn to clients in ‘exciting and dynamic industries’ like architecture, interior design and fashion. ‘I always had the desire to create something more tangible’, Jan tells of her graphic design career, enrolling in part-time ceramic classes with famed South African ceramicist Barbara Jackson and later teacher Karen Scott. And so started Jan’s love affair with ceramics – ‘once you get the clay bug, it’s really difficult to let it go’!

Working between her light-filled quiet home studio in Kew, and fellow ceramicist Tracy Muirhead’s lively and social pottery studio in Donvale, Jan draws on her experience in graphic design to create sculptural ceramic artworks celebrating line and form with architectural flair. She uses the coiling method to create the initial forms, then spends time refining and shaping each one-of-a-kind object. Her passion lies in the process of bringing an idea to life through manipulating and building sculptural pieces, transferring the energy of the maker, and the story of the material, into each piece.

‘I’ve found that different clays tell different stories’, Jan explains of her intuitive process. ‘They may have a similar organic form and share a strong connection but they look and feel very different.’ While a soft, white fine sculpture clay evokes a feeling of lightness and elegance, a black scarva clay feels solid and grounded in the past.

For Jan, the ultimate satisfaction is found in seeing the way her objects exist in the world ‘styled up in shoots and in beautiful homes’, and in the freedom of exercising her unbridled creativity. ‘For the first time I am creating for myself – no brief, no deadlines, no demanding clients. Just me and the clay!’

Jan is represented by Edwina Corlette Gallery in Brisbane, and work is available to purchase at Modern Times. She has been shortlisted for the Victorian Craft Awards exhibition in November this year!

This Week

Homes

A Cosy Retro Rental In Melbourne’s North West

Dog lovers Michelle Campbell and Katy Louise share their warm and welcoming rented home in Maidstone.

Shopping

Shop The Chunky, Colourful Furniture You’ve Seen All Over The Internet

Meet the tradie brothers behind FEARON, who have been making quirky, must-have furniture that blends fun with functionality!
Christina Karras

Architecture

A Brazilian-Inspired Update Of A 1920s Brisbane Cottage

Bowen by Shaun Lockyer Architects elevates a 1920s cottage with a stunning renovation and addition.

Interiors

An Off-Grid, Modern Country Farmhouse In Regional Victoria

Step inside a newly built farmhouse that's fully off the grid, with all the classic features of an old country home.
Christina Karras

Homes

An Owner-Designed Renovation Of A 1970s South Yarra Apartment

How designers Lola Digby-Diercks and Sebastian Owen completely transformed their South Yarra apartment in just six months.

Studio Visit

Dani McKenzie’s Detailed Paintings Look Like Familiar Photographs

The Melbourne artist recreates local streetscapes and everyday scenes, filled with intimate reminders of our own inner-worlds.
Christina Karras

Design Eye

How to Create Fun + Playful Interiors, With Studio Joy’s Kristel Marshall

The Melbourne designer shares how to balance minimalism and maximalism with playful colours and bold furniture – in a way that won't date!...
Christina Karras

On The Market

A Rare Robin Boyd House Is Available To Rent

You could be the next tenant of this house, designed by Australia's most famous architect.

Art

10 Emerging, Affordable Artists You Need To Have On Your Watchlist!

From ethereal still lifes to striking ceramic work, and meticulous soft pastel drawings, these are the artists to start collecting now!

Creative People

How Powerhouse Designer, Yuwaalaraay Woman Lucy Simpson Is Making Waves

How the Sydney based designer weaves stories of Country and culture into her collaborations with leading brands, such as JAG and Breville.
Jirra Lulla Harvey

Art

9 Unmissable Exhibitions To See In 2023!

From NGV's Alexander McQueen exhibition, to a showcase of Frida Kahlo's works, here are the must-see exhibitions of the coming year.
Christina Karras

Creative People

A Noosa Design Studio's Chic New Office, Inside A Former 80s Club

CLO Studios' have transformed an old music club into their dreamy new office space, and it's filled with eclectic design inspiration!
Christina Karras

Sustainable Homes

How An Architect Turned This 1930s Bungalow Into A Sustainable Family Haven

Architect Emily Sandstrom's warm family home runs off solar power, with a vegetable garden and impressive entertaining area hidden inside!
Christina Karras

Interiors

Before + After: A Dated Brick Home Turned Coastal Holiday Pad

Dark timber and dated tiles have been replaced with light and bright interiors in this Mornington Peninsula beach house.
Christina Karras

Family

Journalist Nas Campanella On Parenting With Blindness + Building Disability Awareness

How ABC journalist Nas Campanella navigates motherhood as a person living with blindness and Charcot-Marie-Tooth.

Similar Stories

Studio Visit

Architectural Ceramics by Jane McKenzie

Exploring form and geometry through the architectural ceramic works of the Sydney-based artist.

Made of Ballarat

Harnessing Natural Splendour Through Clay

A visit to the glorious home studio of potter Kim Haughie, inspirited by Ballarat’s surrounds.
Elle Murrell

Studio Visit

Embracing The Mistakes With Ceramicist Hana Vasak

We take a look inside the sun-drenched Northcote studio of the emerging maker behind Dáša Ceramics and chat about learning, growing, and n...

This Week

Interiors

Before + After: A Dated Brick Home Turned Coastal Holiday Pad

Dark timber and dated tiles have been replaced with light and bright interiors in this Mornington Peninsula beach house.
Christina Karras

Art

10 Emerging, Affordable Artists You Need To Have On Your Watchlist!

From ethereal still lifes to striking ceramic work, and meticulous soft pastel drawings, these are the artists to start collecting now!

Homes

A Cosy Retro Rental In Melbourne’s North West

Dog lovers Michelle Campbell and Katy Louise share their warm and welcoming rented home in Maidstone.

Studio Visit

Dani McKenzie’s Detailed Paintings Look Like Familiar Photographs

The Melbourne artist recreates local streetscapes and everyday scenes, filled with intimate reminders of our own inner-worlds.
Christina Karras

Family

Journalist Nas Campanella On Parenting With Blindness + Building Disability Awareness

How ABC journalist Nas Campanella navigates motherhood as a person living with blindness and Charcot-Marie-Tooth.

Art

9 Unmissable Exhibitions To See In 2023!

From NGV's Alexander McQueen exhibition, to a showcase of Frida Kahlo's works, here are the must-see exhibitions of the coming year.
Christina Karras

Shopping

Shop The Chunky, Colourful Furniture You’ve Seen All Over The Internet

Meet the tradie brothers behind FEARON, who have been making quirky, must-have furniture that blends fun with functionality!
Christina Karras

Interiors

An Off-Grid, Modern Country Farmhouse In Regional Victoria

Step inside a newly built farmhouse that's fully off the grid, with all the classic features of an old country home.
Christina Karras

Creative People

A Noosa Design Studio's Chic New Office, Inside A Former 80s Club

CLO Studios' have transformed an old music club into their dreamy new office space, and it's filled with eclectic design inspiration!
Christina Karras

Creative People

How Powerhouse Designer, Yuwaalaraay Woman Lucy Simpson Is Making Waves

How the Sydney based designer weaves stories of Country and culture into her collaborations with leading brands, such as JAG and Breville.
Jirra Lulla Harvey

Sustainable Homes

How An Architect Turned This 1930s Bungalow Into A Sustainable Family Haven

Architect Emily Sandstrom's warm family home runs off solar power, with a vegetable garden and impressive entertaining area hidden inside!
Christina Karras

Design Eye

How to Create Fun + Playful Interiors, With Studio Joy’s Kristel Marshall

The Melbourne designer shares how to balance minimalism and maximalism with playful colours and bold furniture – in a way that won't date!...
Christina Karras

Homes

An Owner-Designed Renovation Of A 1970s South Yarra Apartment

How designers Lola Digby-Diercks and Sebastian Owen completely transformed their South Yarra apartment in just six months.

On The Market

A Rare Robin Boyd House Is Available To Rent

You could be the next tenant of this house, designed by Australia's most famous architect.

Architecture

A Brazilian-Inspired Update Of A 1920s Brisbane Cottage

Bowen by Shaun Lockyer Architects elevates a 1920s cottage with a stunning renovation and addition.

Similar Stories

Studio Visit

Architectural Ceramics by Jane McKenzie

Exploring form and geometry through the architectural ceramic works of the Sydney-based artist.

Made of Ballarat

Harnessing Natural Splendour Through Clay

A visit to the glorious home studio of potter Kim Haughie, inspirited by Ballarat’s surrounds.
Elle Murrell

Studio Visit

Embracing The Mistakes With Ceramicist Hana Vasak

We take a look inside the sun-drenched Northcote studio of the emerging maker behind Dáša Ceramics and chat about learning, growing, and n...

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. Please email bea@thedesignfiles.net