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

Melbourne's Newest Ceramics Studio, Shop & Workshop Space

Studio Visit

If you follow James Lemon on Instagram, you probably feel like you already know him. The Kiwi-born, Melbourne-based ceramicist is known almost as well for documenting his hilarious and downright silly antics as he is for his eye-catching ceramic pieces, created at this leafy new studio space in Northcote. But James isn’t just building his own work – he’s also building community.

We visit the cheeky devil in his new digs, freshly renovated and ready for anything.

7th October, 2019

James Lemon’s fresh new workshop, retail and studio space in Northcote, where he runs weekly ceramics classes. Photo – Amelia Stanwix.

The wheel throwing stations (feat Dowel Jones stools!) Photo – Amelia Stanwix.

Artist, ceramicist and teacher, James Lemon. Photo – Amelia Stanwix.

A selection of James’ signature ceramics line. Photo – Amelia Stanwix.

James working on the wheel. Photo – Amelia Stanwix.

Shelving stacked with James’ functional ceramics. Photo – Amelia Stanwix.

Pieces from James’ collaboration with the NGV. Photo – Amelia Stanwix.

James working in his studio space, surrounded by his own ceramics and artwork. Photo – Amelia Stanwix.

A display of pieces available for sale in the retail part of his new space. Photo – Amelia Stanwix.

Ceramics line literally every surface. Photo – Amelia Stanwix.

James’ functional pieces alongside some of his more artistic work. Photo – Amelia Stanwix.

An experimental sculptural piece in the retail space. Photo – Amelia Stanwix.

The entrance to the Northcote studio. Photo – Amelia Stanwix.

Sally Tabart
Monday 7th October 2019

‘I’ve learnt many lessons for life through this weird mud material. It’s allowed me to learn to breathe and know myself.’ – James Lemon.

James Lemon’s new Northcote studio and retail space didn’t look anything like this when he moved in, in April this year. What was once a dark, cluttered auto shop with rough concrete floors and harsh fluorescent lighting is now bright, spacious and welcoming, with lush greenery occupying every available corner and surface. It was important to James to create his space and thoughtfully and sustainably as possible. ‘Most of the fixtures and materials in the studio are recycled or second hand, so the space represents what is not in landfill right now’, he says. ‘It’s vital to my space to waste little, and make the most of what I can.’

James painted the entire place white (including the floors), lined the walls with shelving to display his work, and set up a long bench with six wheel-throwing stations, where he currently holds small classes on Tuesday evenings, Wednesday daytimes and Saturdays (and by appointment). ‘Small classes allow me to actually spend time with people, learn where they’re at so I can actually teach and also get to know people, and work on the projects or forms that they want to work on’, he says.

As far as his own practice goes, James says it has ‘evolved quite dramatically’ since he first started making work in 2015. ‘I’ve become more expressive’ he tells me. While he’s still making his simple, signature line of ceramics, he’s also creating experimental pieces that blur the lines between functional pieces and artwork. Meanwhile, the popularity of his functional wares have resulted in collaborations with institutions including the NGV and Heide MoMA.

James truly puts his heart and soul into the work he creates, and his creative practice is about so much more to him than the final outcome. ‘I like ceramics as a material for its physical and sensory qualities, as well as the emotional rollercoaster it can put you through’, he says. ‘I’ve learnt many lessons for life through this weird mud material. It’s allowed me to learn to breathe and know myself.’

What strikes me the most about James, and really the greater ceramics community in Melbourne, is how dedicated they are to supporting one another. Every time I’ve spoken with a ceramicist about their practice and creative philosophy, I never get a sense of competition, or ownership of any aesthetic, but there is almost always a strong focus on building community.

That’s what James is trying to do with his new space, which he is treating as ‘test for something a bigger’, to see whether this model of retail, workshop, and studio is financially viable. He has goals to ‘create more community between creative people, the spaces they occupy and the people that support their work’. Somewhere where creatives can come together, share resources, escape the solitude of their studios, and practice their craft in a collaborative, sustainable way. James admits that right now it’s ‘too soon to know’ whether this is actually feasible long term, but I really hope it happens for him!

Join James to celebrate his new space in an opening shindig on Friday, October 18th from 6.30-8.30pm!  You can book in for a workshop here.

James Lemon Store + Studio
Wednesday-Friday, 10am-4pm 

Saturday, 11am-4pm 
41 Arthurton Road
Northcote, Victoria

This Week

Studio Visit

Kayleigh Heydon's Paintings Will Light Up Your Life

The Melbourne-based multidisciplinary artist takes us through her Northcote studio.
Sasha Gattermayr

Family

Artist Dawn Tan On Her Scary Start To Motherhood + Keeping Calm In The Time Of Corona

The much-loved Melbourne artist speaks candidly about one of the most challenging times ever for her little family, and her new online art r...
Ashe Davenport

Gardens

How To Start A Productive Garden TODAY!

We turn to three seasoned experts for tips on how to get started, what to plant in small spaces and how long it will take to start seeing re...

News

Cream Town Is Making It Easy (And Affordable!) To Support Local Artists From Home

Two Victorian artists launch an online affordable art dealership for artists who have lost their income to the coronavirus pandemic.

Architecture

A Serene Japanese-Inspired Home In Melbourne

Japanese design principles underpin Highbury Grove by Ritz&Ghougassian, designed for the studio's co-director.
Amelia Barnes
  9 hours ago

Food

Week 2 Of Pantry-Friendly Meal Ideas From Julia Busuttil Nishimura

The queen of home cooking returns to warm our hearts with another seven day's worth of meal ideas, and a shopping list for everything you'll...
Julia Busuttil Nishimura
  17 hours ago

Interiors

Introducing The 2020 Dulux Colour Awards Finalists!

From a candy pink bathroom to an all-green-everything living room, take a closer look at our favourite residential projects shortlisted for

Interiors

Creating The Best Kids Bedroom Ever!

...got some time on your hands? Lauren Li shows us how to create a kids bedroom that is sure to keep the kids AND the grown-ups happy!
Lauren Li

Homes

A Designer’s ‘Curated Maximalist’ Apartment in Sydney

Interior designer and stylist Jono Fleming shares his treasure-box apartment in Sydney's Waterloo.

Times Like These

Times Like These... With New York Times Food Columnist And Author Alison Roman

The New York-based bestselling author and beloved cook talks about feeling all the feelings of COVID-19, finding the motivation to work, and...

News

Go To Caroline Walls’ Gallery Opening Via IGTV!

Let’s be real, what else are you doing? The Melbourne-based visual artist is taking to the virtual realm to open her solo show, Resemb...
Sasha Gattermayr

Architecture

A Victorian Terrace Transformed, With Minimal Intervention

Let there be light! Austin Maynard Architects illuminates a dark Carlton terrace with a new renovation, including internal gardens!
Amelia Barnes

TDF Collect

'I Been Born There' By Maggie Green At TDF Collect – A Virtual Walkthrough!

In lieu of being able to open this spectacular exhibition, we made a video with SIRAP to bring Maggie Green's debut solo show to you!

News

'Design Lives Here' Takes You Inside Other People's Houses, From The Comfort Of Your Own

Sick of the inside of your own house by now? Take look at someone else’s in this new book by the former editor of Artichoke magazine...

The Good Room

A Magazine Maven's Sentimental Good Room In The Southern Highlands

Former head of Vogue Living and Monocle magazines, Robyn Holt shares her 'Good Room' at home in regional NSW, layered with pieces collected
Lisa Marie Corso

View Comments

Similar Stories

Studio Visit

The Melbourne Ceramicist Inspired By Japanese Ikebana

A studio visit with Kate Brouwer of Asobimasu Clay, one of Melbourne's most exciting makers!
Elle Murrell

Creative People

7 Australian Ceramicists You Should Know!

Irina Rybakov of Pépite shares some of her favourite local ceramicists!
Irina Rybakov

Craft

Ceramics From James Lemon

A one-of-a-kind ceramics collection from NZ-born, Melbourne-based James Shaw.
Elle Murrell

This Week

Gardens

How To Start A Productive Garden TODAY!

We turn to three seasoned experts for tips on how to get started, what to plant in small spaces and how long it will take to start seeing re...

The Good Room

A Magazine Maven's Sentimental Good Room In The Southern Highlands

Former head of Vogue Living and Monocle magazines, Robyn Holt shares her 'Good Room' at home in regional NSW, layered with pieces collected
Lisa Marie Corso

Homes

A Designer’s ‘Curated Maximalist’ Apartment in Sydney

Interior designer and stylist Jono Fleming shares his treasure-box apartment in Sydney's Waterloo.

Times Like These

Times Like These... With New York Times Food Columnist And Author Alison Roman

The New York-based bestselling author and beloved cook talks about feeling all the feelings of COVID-19, finding the motivation to work, and...

Interiors

Creating The Best Kids Bedroom Ever!

...got some time on your hands? Lauren Li shows us how to create a kids bedroom that is sure to keep the kids AND the grown-ups happy!
Lauren Li

Family

Artist Dawn Tan On Her Scary Start To Motherhood + Keeping Calm In The Time Of Corona

The much-loved Melbourne artist speaks candidly about one of the most challenging times ever for her little family, and her new online art r...
Ashe Davenport

Architecture

A Serene Japanese-Inspired Home In Melbourne

Japanese design principles underpin Highbury Grove by Ritz&Ghougassian, designed for the studio's co-director.
Amelia Barnes
  9 hours ago

News

'Design Lives Here' Takes You Inside Other People's Houses, From The Comfort Of Your Own

Sick of the inside of your own house by now? Take look at someone else’s in this new book by the former editor of Artichoke magazine...

News

Go To Caroline Walls’ Gallery Opening Via IGTV!

Let’s be real, what else are you doing? The Melbourne-based visual artist is taking to the virtual realm to open her solo show, Resemb...
Sasha Gattermayr

TDF Collect

'I Been Born There' By Maggie Green At TDF Collect – A Virtual Walkthrough!

In lieu of being able to open this spectacular exhibition, we made a video with SIRAP to bring Maggie Green's debut solo show to you!

Food

Week 2 Of Pantry-Friendly Meal Ideas From Julia Busuttil Nishimura

The queen of home cooking returns to warm our hearts with another seven day's worth of meal ideas, and a shopping list for everything you'll...
Julia Busuttil Nishimura
  17 hours ago

Architecture

A Victorian Terrace Transformed, With Minimal Intervention

Let there be light! Austin Maynard Architects illuminates a dark Carlton terrace with a new renovation, including internal gardens!
Amelia Barnes

News

Cream Town Is Making It Easy (And Affordable!) To Support Local Artists From Home

Two Victorian artists launch an online affordable art dealership for artists who have lost their income to the coronavirus pandemic.

Interiors

Introducing The 2020 Dulux Colour Awards Finalists!

From a candy pink bathroom to an all-green-everything living room, take a closer look at our favourite residential projects shortlisted for

Studio Visit

Kayleigh Heydon's Paintings Will Light Up Your Life

The Melbourne-based multidisciplinary artist takes us through her Northcote studio.
Sasha Gattermayr

Similar Stories

Studio Visit

The Melbourne Ceramicist Inspired By Japanese Ikebana

A studio visit with Kate Brouwer of Asobimasu Clay, one of Melbourne's most exciting makers!
Elle Murrell

Creative People

7 Australian Ceramicists You Should Know!

Irina Rybakov of Pépite shares some of her favourite local ceramicists!
Irina Rybakov

Craft

Ceramics From James Lemon

A one-of-a-kind ceramics collection from NZ-born, Melbourne-based James Shaw.
Elle Murrell