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Terrazzo Queen Tantri Mustika's New Shop + Studio!

Creative People

The last few months have been filled with devastating stories of shops shuttering, businesses closing and those in the creative industries being left without a clear path forward. Which is why today’s story feels particularly uplifting!

Just over two weeks ago, Melbourne-based ceramicist Tantri Mustika soft-opened her first shop in the incredible new Collingwood Yards arts precinct on Johnston street. The self-designed and largely self-built space is a HUGE milestone for Tantri, who only really started to take this whole ceramics thing seriously around three years ago.

Despite the overwhelming challenges of embarking upon this massive new chapter right in the midst of a global pandemic, what Tantri has managed to achieve with nothing but a tiny budget, the kindness of others and a bucket load of her own hard work and determination is something to be seriously inspired by.

30th June, 2020

Tantri Mustika’s stunning new retail space! Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

Some of Tantri’s more recent work on display. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

The wonder woman herself – Tantri Mustika! Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

The design and most of the fit out was completed by Tantri, with her friends and family. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

Work on display in the store. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

A collection of Tantri’s covetable Mountain vases alongside other works. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

Even the bench top was handmade by Tantri! Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

Soft tones in the new space. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

A beautiful display area. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

Tantri’s work on display. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

Tantri’s studio, behind her store. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

Tantri intends this new endeavour to be a community hub – not just a retail space. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

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

The teaching space. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

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

Sally Tabart
Tuesday 30th June 2020

‘Having my own mark on everything in the space is kind of priceless.’ – Tantri Mustika.

If you’ve been paying any attention at all to the Australian ceramics scene over the past few years, you would have heard of Tantri Mustika. If you don’t recognise her name, then you’ll surely recognise the distinctive mountain-shaped terrazzo vases and vessels she started making in 2017. I certainly remember because Tantri’s story was one of the first major features I ever wrote for TDF. And I cannot believe how far she’s come in just a few short years.

One of the secrets to Tantri’s success has been her commitment to constantly evolving her creative output. Although ‘terrazzo’ inspired shapes are still a key element of her work (and her Mountain vessels are still her biggest hits), her newer work has evolved to more sophisticated silhouettes, taking on the appearance of modern relics.

Practically, Tantri has been all over the place! After initially working out of her sunny share house in Preston, she spent a long stint working alongside her friend and fellow ceramicist James Lemon, as well as some time working from Bisque Studios in Northcote, and plenty of other temporary spaces in between. It feels like Tantri is on the move every few months! But this time, she’s staying put for good – in her brand new shop, workspace and studio space in Collingwood Yards.

‘I wasn’t looking for a shop necessarily… but [the tenancy manager at Collingwood Yards] put forward the very last vacant retail space, as by the time I enquired, all of the studios were already spoken for. He suggested I could consider having a shop with a studio combined’, Tantri explains. ‘I replied right away with… “No way… AM I interested?”’ While taking on a shop wasn’t necessarily on the cards for a while – and taking on the biggest financial commitment of her life during a global pandemic was especially not on the cards – Tantri jumped at the opportunity, and made her application in January this year. In the space of a few short weeks, her five-year dream was becoming a reality…right now!

In true Tantri fashion, she’s created almost every single thing herself – from designing the space (‘with paint swatches and a glue stick’) to doing a big chunk of the build (and even some sneaky electrical work we definitely won’t be mentioning!).

When COVID-19 hit she lost all prospects of current and future work, which pushed Tantri to work on an extremely tight budget, ‘around the clock to get things done, with no work life balance at all’. For someone who literally started her ceramics practice after finding an old pottery wheel in hard rubbish, it comes as no surprise when Tantri tells me she’s gotten ‘pretty good at building random stuff out of things from the bin – aka recycled materials!’. But despite the massive challenges in getting everything finished, she wouldn’t change a thing – ‘having my own mark on everything in the space is kind of priceless’, she says.

In a heartwarming twist of fate, Tantri’s new space is in literally the exact same spot we sold out of her very first collection at TDF Open House in 2017! While Collingwood Yards (previously Collingwood Arts Precinct) was just a big open warehouse when we hosted our Open House event in this very same building, the massive arts and culture district on Johnston Street has now been subdivided into artist studios, creative spaces and retail stores.

Tantri’s space isn’t just a shop and studio for her own work, but a joyful place she plans to share with others, and build a strong community with. ‘I want to create a warm and welcoming studio environment where the wider community and the existing ceramics community can come and visit and feel inspired’, she says. ‘I will be hosting workshops and classes in the studio space, and welcoming people into my little creative happy place in the hope that it will spark some inspiration for budding ceramicists, or those who just want to explore a fun new skill or hobby!’

Who knows, this vibrant new hub of activity and community might even inspire the next Tantri Mustika!

Workshop dates can be found online here. Workshops are planned to resume in July, so keep an eye on Tantri’s Instagram or website!  

Tantri Mustika
Unit 4/30A Perry Street
Collingwood Yards
Melbourne

Tuesday-Thursday by appointment
Friday 10am-5pm
Saturday 11am-3pm
Closed Sunday-Monday

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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.

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