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

The Magazine Editor Turned Ceramicist, Using Clay As Therapy

Studio Visit

Cassie Hansen first got her hands in the clay three years ago after signing up to a beginner’s pottery course, and through many hours of practice and perseverance, she’s developed a refined and distinctive style.

These days, Cassie works part-time as the editor for Artichoke magazine in Melbourne (a role she’s held for seven years), dedicating a couple of days a week to wheel throwing, firing and glazing her carefully crafted ceramics in her backyard studio in Kyneton.

4th February, 2020

Artichoke magazine editor and passionate ceramicist Cassie Hansen. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

‘Clay is my antidote to screens and scrolling, and to my own internal hurried, anxious pace that I get swept up in some days’, Cassie says. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

Cassie works from her sweet little backyard studio at home in Kyneton. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

‘It often starts with sketches’ says Cassie of her process. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

When Cassie and her husband lived in Melbourne, she handbuilt at a tiny desk, using a wheel 20 minutes away from her house. Now she can pop out to the backyard to get her fix! Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

Throwing a vessel on the wheel. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

Pieces ready for firing. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

As a magazine editor, Cassie has absorbed and observed her fair share of great design over the years. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

A collection of vessels, inspired by architectural forms. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

A sweet studio corner. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

Studio rules! Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

Cassie with her dog Jimmy (who knows to wait until the wheel has stopped for a pat!) in her backyard studio. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

Sally Tabart
Tuesday 4th February 2020

‘Clay is my antidote to screens and scrolling, and to my own internal hurried, anxious pace.’ – Cassie Hansen.

Spending the last seven years ‘publishing good design, interviewing designers and thinking critically about design’ as the editor for interior design and architecture magazine Artichoke, Cassie Hansen found herself yearning for her own creative outlet. After her first beginner’s pottery course three years ago, she spent most of her weekends at the studio working on her skills. A year later, she took a one-year studio program at the School of Clay and Art (SOCA).

From her studio in Kyneton, where she’s recently made the ‘tree-change’ from inner Melbourne with her husband, Cassie creates delicate functional ceramic vessels that play with shape and form. It’s easy to see the influences she’s absorbed from all those years of covering excellent architecture, elements of which she translates brilliantly to her pieces.

We recently caught up with Cassie at her home studio, to learn more about her burgeoning ceramics practice, her influences from Japanese and midcentury architecture, and treating pottery as ‘a form of therapy’. 

Hey Cassie! Congrats on the launch of your ceramics practice. How do you juggle this new practice, alongside your role as editor of Artichoke? Do you feel like you have a good balance?

I try to dedicate at least two days a week to ceramics – of course that goes better some weeks more than others. I went from full-time at Artichoke to part-time – I’m still the editor but have learnt to be very efficient with my time in the office now. I’m exceptionally lucky to be in a position to work part-time at Artichoke, and give the ceramics a go. The two complement each other – when I’m in the studio, I’m thinking about architecture and shapes and shadows I’ve come across at work that might inform an element of one of my pieces, and when I’m at the office, I can relate in some way to the design process of others. It all feeds back into each other.

Can you tell us the space where you create?

My studio is at home in Kyneton, in a little spare bedroom separate from our house. I’ve got a wheel in there, a work bench, shelves and a little kiln – everything I need and nothing more. When we lived in Melbourne, I handbuilt from a tiny desk in our house, and used a wheel at a pottery studio twenty minutes away, so I feel pretty lucky to have my own space.

When I’m in the studio working on the wheel, my dog Jimmy sits by my feet waiting for the wheel to stop. He knows I can’t pat him with my muddy hands until I’ve finished what I’m working on, turned off the wheel and wiped my hands.

I know you’ve recently relocated from Melbourne to Kyneton. What prompted the move, and how do your new surroundings inspire/inform your work?

My husband had been wanting a treechange for quite a few years prior to our move, but I took some convincing. Ultimately, we wanted a house and a backyard, and we couldn’t afford that in inner Melbourne. We’d been visiting Kyneton for weekends away for years, we got married here, so it was special to us, I was just nervous about the commute to work. But since the very first day we arrived, I’ve loved it here. We’ve made so many friends here (you can’t walk into Kyneton Woolies without bumping into about six people you know) and there are quite a few amazing potters here too (check out Sharon Alpren, Fork Ceramics and Minaal Lawn) who, like all potters, have been so generous and welcoming.

Tell us about your creative process.

It often starts with sketches. Mid-century and Japanese architecture inspire my work so I refer to books and imagery of these type of buildings, taking note of interesting shapes and compositions – sometimes the circular porthole window of a building might inform a spout on one of my jugs, or the geometry of a floorplan might inspire a handle. I sketch the idea out, refine it some more and then get on the wheel and create the vessel itself. Then I handbuild other elements, like the spouts and handles, and attach those until it what I intended in my sketch.

What do you love about what you do?

Clay has been like a form of therapy for me. When I’m in the studio, deep in the creative zone, it’s like meditation. Hours go by and I haven’t noticed. Clay is my antidote to screens and scrolling, and to my own internal hurried, anxious pace that I get swept up in some days. It’s tactile, it’s visceral, it’s slow, it’s unpredictable, it forces you to be in the moment – clay can provide everything that we don’t allow ourselves when “busy” takes over.

I read this interview with ceramicist and writer Edmund de Waal where he was asked what he loved about making with clay, and he said “It returns me to who I want to be, which is a fully present human being.” Clay really does have that ability.

Cassie sells her work online in very limited numbers – be sure to sign up to her mailing list to find out when new pieces are available, and follow her on Instagram.

 

This Week

Furniture

A Three-In-One Design Practice From A One-Woman-Show

Furniture designer Lauren Lea Haynes creates squishy upholstered chairs, powder-coated coffee tables + limestone sculptures from her shared

Fundraiser

The TDF Kids Art Awards WINNERS!

Meet the five talented winners and 15 runners up of the TDF Kids Art Awards, proudly presented by Honan.
Lucy Feagins
  23 hours ago

News

Vibes Are High At The New Hope St Radio Wine Bar!

Community, creativity and crostinis (!) are at the forefront of this design-focused wine bar and restaurant at Collingwood Yards.
Sally Tabart
  13 hours ago

On The Market

An Epic Converted Factory House In Carlton Hits The Market

A house that used to be a pub, warehouse and community centre since its construction in the 1800s is now a unique Kennedy Nolan home. And it...
02:40

Architecture

A Masterful Update Of New Zealand’s Famous Brake House

Inside the recently renovated Brake House (1976) – one of New Zealand’s most famous homes – featuring locally made wool carpets by Bre...

News

An OMG-Worthy New Collection From Collective Closets

Turn heads with the hot hot hot new ‘Wisdom’ collection of colourful printed clothes from one of our favourite Melbourne fashion labels....

News

Shop Eight Fabulous Ceramicists Under One Roof, Just In Time For Mother's Day!

The popular one-weekend-only shopping event, Three Day Clay, is back this weekend.

News

A Masterful Group Show Featuring Two Renowned Northern Territory Artist Collectives

The celebrated Hermannsburg Potters display their painted terracotta works beside vivid watercolour paintings by Itja Ntjarra arts centre at...
Sasha Gattermayr
  18 hours ago

Homes

A Boarding House Turned Gorgeous, Rambling + Indestructible Family Home!

The warm and inviting family St Kilda West home of Keryn and Stephen Nossal.

News

Make A Stylish Splash With These Locally Made, Award-Winning Taps

Melbourne-based brand Phoenix Tapware received international recognition for their new Lexi MKII range of designer bathroom fixtures!
Sponsored

Shopping

Texture + Colour Galore In This Epic New Collection From Sage x Clare

The brand new Camille range is a super cute collection of over 200 pieces across homewares, bedding, apparel + kids accessories!

Food

Julia's Epic Lemon & Raspberry Layer Cake

Julia Busuttil Nishimura's epic butter cake layered with lemon curd, fresh berries + crème fraîche icing. Just in time for Mother's Day!
Julia Busuttil Nishimura

Shopping

A Curated Collection Of Luxury Goods From Across The Pond, Here In Melbourne

Discover the best of New Zealand fashion, lifestyle, and homewares at this inspired pop-up, until May 23rd at Chadstone.
Sally Tabart
  13 hours ago

Architecture

A Timeless Yet Characterful Federation Bungalow Update

A stunning renovation and extension in inner-west Sydney, by Studio Prineas.

Architecture

A Fremantle House That Puts Its Garden First

Additions and renovations by Nic Brunsdon have brought the outdoors in to this East Fremantle home.

View Comments

Similar Stories

Creative People

Contemporary Ceramics That Look Like Ancient Relics, By Emily Brookfield

Meet the second year uni student making uniquely sculptural ceramics, out of her home in the Yarra Valley.
Sasha Gattermayr

Studio Visit

Sensual Ceramics That Celebrate The Human Form

We visit ceramicist, graphic designer, and mother-of-three Sophie Nolan, in her serene studio on Sydney's Northern Beaches.

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

This Week

On The Market

An Epic Converted Factory House In Carlton Hits The Market

A house that used to be a pub, warehouse and community centre since its construction in the 1800s is now a unique Kennedy Nolan home. And it...

Food

Julia's Epic Lemon & Raspberry Layer Cake

Julia Busuttil Nishimura's epic butter cake layered with lemon curd, fresh berries + crème fraîche icing. Just in time for Mother's Day!
Julia Busuttil Nishimura

News

Shop Eight Fabulous Ceramicists Under One Roof, Just In Time For Mother's Day!

The popular one-weekend-only shopping event, Three Day Clay, is back this weekend.

News

A Masterful Group Show Featuring Two Renowned Northern Territory Artist Collectives

The celebrated Hermannsburg Potters display their painted terracotta works beside vivid watercolour paintings by Itja Ntjarra arts centre at...
Sasha Gattermayr
  18 hours ago

Shopping

Texture + Colour Galore In This Epic New Collection From Sage x Clare

The brand new Camille range is a super cute collection of over 200 pieces across homewares, bedding, apparel + kids accessories!

Architecture

A Timeless Yet Characterful Federation Bungalow Update

A stunning renovation and extension in inner-west Sydney, by Studio Prineas.

Furniture

A Three-In-One Design Practice From A One-Woman-Show

Furniture designer Lauren Lea Haynes creates squishy upholstered chairs, powder-coated coffee tables + limestone sculptures from her shared

News

Make A Stylish Splash With These Locally Made, Award-Winning Taps

Melbourne-based brand Phoenix Tapware received international recognition for their new Lexi MKII range of designer bathroom fixtures!
Sponsored

Homes

A Boarding House Turned Gorgeous, Rambling + Indestructible Family Home!

The warm and inviting family St Kilda West home of Keryn and Stephen Nossal.

Architecture

A Fremantle House That Puts Its Garden First

Additions and renovations by Nic Brunsdon have brought the outdoors in to this East Fremantle home.

News

Vibes Are High At The New Hope St Radio Wine Bar!

Community, creativity and crostinis (!) are at the forefront of this design-focused wine bar and restaurant at Collingwood Yards.
Sally Tabart
  13 hours ago

News

An OMG-Worthy New Collection From Collective Closets

Turn heads with the hot hot hot new ‘Wisdom’ collection of colourful printed clothes from one of our favourite Melbourne fashion labels....

Shopping

A Curated Collection Of Luxury Goods From Across The Pond, Here In Melbourne

Discover the best of New Zealand fashion, lifestyle, and homewares at this inspired pop-up, until May 23rd at Chadstone.
Sally Tabart
  13 hours ago

Fundraiser

The TDF Kids Art Awards WINNERS!

Meet the five talented winners and 15 runners up of the TDF Kids Art Awards, proudly presented by Honan.
Lucy Feagins
  23 hours ago
02:40

Architecture

A Masterful Update Of New Zealand’s Famous Brake House

Inside the recently renovated Brake House (1976) – one of New Zealand’s most famous homes – featuring locally made wool carpets by Bre...

Similar Stories

Creative People

Contemporary Ceramics That Look Like Ancient Relics, By Emily Brookfield

Meet the second year uni student making sculptural ceramics out of her home in the Yarra Valley.
Sasha Gattermayr

Studio Visit

Sensual Ceramics That Celebrate The Human Form

We visit Sophie Nolan in her serene studio on the Sydney's Northern Beaches.

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

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.