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 Northern Rivers Ceramicist Crafting Vessels With A Soft Edge

Studio Visit

When artist and designer Layla Cluer first started her clay practice Softedge, she was creating pieces in a makeshift studio erected in her backyard. Now she creates her fluid, rotund vessels from a permanent workshop in her friend’s farmyard a few minutes from Byron. It’s here, surrounded by fruit trees and the lingering aromas of agriculture, that she has discovered the connection to nature so vital to her creative process.

14th September, 2020

Layla in her studio. She wears Articles of Clothing workwear. Photo – Marlee Pasinetti. Art Direction + Styling – Linnea Gröndahl.

Photo – Layla Cluer.

Layla wears Articles of Clothing workwear. Photo – Marlee Pasinetti. Art Direction + Styling – Linnea Gröndahl.

Photo – Layla Cluer.

Photo – Layla Cluer.

Layla wears Articles of Clothing workwear. Photo – Marlee Pasinetti. Art Direction + Styling – Linnea Gröndahl.

Photo – Layla Cluer.

Photo – Layla Cluer.

Photo – Layla Cluer.

Layla wears Articles of Clothing workwear. Photo – Marlee Pasinetti. Art Direction + Styling – Linnea Gröndahl.

Photo – Marlee Pasinetti. Art Direction + Styling – Linnea Gröndahl.

Photo – Layla Cluer.

Sasha Gattermayr
Monday 14th September 2020

‘I try to make pieces that are both light enough and robust enough to be used every day, but in a form that invites you to consider their usefulness.’ – Layla Cluer

Artist and designer Layla Cluer spent all of high school thinking she would be a doctor. She backflipped at the last second and wound up studying architecture. After finishing her initial degree and spending a few years working in practices such as Nest and MRTN led to some inevitable professional soul-searching for the creative, Layla arrived at the decision to apply to art school.

‘In true millennial style, I’ve worn a few hats this past decade,’ she laughs. Last year, Layla left her full-time job working as part of RMIT Design Hub’s curatorial team, spent a month crewing on a yacht from New Zealand to Tonga (as you do!), and enrolled in ceramics classes at Lismore TAFE. This windy route to handcrafted clay was the beginnings of Softedge, her fledgling practice which she now runs from a studio on her friend’s farm outside Byron Bay. ‘It wasn’t really a studio when I moved in last November… but I could see it had great potential’, Layla reflects. Bit by bit she has been painting walls and finding equipment, and now it’s starting to feel more like the workshop she envisioned!

Layla’s process is predominantly intuitive, running with her flashes of inspiration as soon as they arrive to keep momentum. The initial moulds for these pieces can sometimes take a week or a month to cast, but means that the final result is a suite of complicated, original forms. ‘It generally takes a month or two between designing a form and seeing the first prototype coming out of the kiln finished. I’m learning patience…’ she says.

The ceramics of Softedge are intended to be both functional and sculptural. ‘I try to make pieces that are both light enough and robust enough to be used every day, but in a form that invites you to consider their usefulness.’ Her deliciously pot-bellied jugs and curvaceous cups could just as easily be an art piece to admire as they could be used as everyday vessels!

Layla intends to keep her style ambiguous so she can constantly slip between forms without feeling bound to one particular type of expression. ‘I think of Softedge as an evolving project about everyday objects and the blurry boundaries and spongy edges of their disciplines,’ she says. ‘For now, it takes form in a collection of slip cast tableware. But I have a few collaborations in the pipeline that will take on other forms.’

What’s next for this multi-faceted creative? Layla is currently collaborating with Annie Wu of Articles of Clothing on a new line of artisan uniforms and workwear. The pair are even cooking up some table goods. Sign us up!

Shop  Layla’s Softedge ceramics here!

This Week

News

Bruce Munro's Spectacular Light Installations Are Coming To Heide

See a showcase of light and colour when the acclaimed English-Australian artist takes over Heide Museum of Modern Art and its gardens!
Sponsored

Creative People

Landscape Studio Ayus Botanical On Creating Calming + Enduring Gardens

The husband-and-wife team of Ayus Botanical share the thoughtful processes behind their lush residential and commercial projects!
Christina Karras

Homes

A Creative Couple’s Loft-Style Pad, With Brooklyn Vibes!

Designer Phi Do and his husband Yaniv Brayer give us a tour through their warehouse-style Richmond townhouse.

Studio Visit

Kuku Yalanji Artist Tiarna Herczeg Creates Colourful Maps Of Country

The emerging artist shares how they found their creative voice and intuitive painting style, as their latest solo show opens in Sydney.
Christina Karras

Creative People

Artist and Yindjibarndi Elder Wendy Hubert On Mapping Country + Culture

Our new columnist Jirra Lulla Harvey talks to respected Yindjibarndi Elder, artist, Cultural Custodian and linguist, Wendy Hubert about Coun...
Jirra Lulla Harvey

Studio Visit

Kelly Thompson’s Playful Preston Showroom Clashes Colour In The Best Way

The clever creative behind online store, Makers’ Mrkt, gives us an inside look at her fun Preston stockroom-turned-store!
Christina Karras

Interiors

The 2022 Australian Interior Design Awards Winners!

From Troye Sivan's divine Flack Studio residence to a converted warehouse abode, the industry’s best designers and projects have been reve...
Christina Karras

Interiors

A Green New Addition For An Ageing Edwardian Home

Brave New Eco revitalises an existing Brunswick home for multiple generations with a new extension, natural material palette and clever use

Architecture

The Treasure-Filled Sydney Home Of Two Global Art Collectors

House Gezellig by Studio Prineas reflects their clients’ love for modernist design principles and collection of fine art.
Sasha Gattermayr
  23 hours ago

Interiors

Two Sleek + Stylish Side-By-Side Homes On One Block!

This dual-occupancy build by Boutique Developments proves developments don't have to be generic, with each unit offering up its own contrast...
Christina Karras

Architecture

A Compact + Colourful Extension Of A Fun Family Home

Foomann Architects replaced this Melbourne home's dated extension with a personality-filled renovation, behind a vibrant pink door!
Christina Karras

A Day In The Life

A Day In The Life Of Costume + Production Designer, Catherine Martin

The four-time Oscar winning designer shares insights from her career working alongside husband Baz Luhrmann, and how she helped bring 'Elvis...
Christina Karras

Interiors

A Mediterranean-Inspired Holiday Home Right On The Water’s Edge

CLO Studios styled the interior of this new Noosa home (dubbed Sky Garden) with earthy tones and pieces by local artists.

Stays

A Dreamy Getaway With Panoramic Views In The Heart Of Hobart

Edwardian architecture meets a Japanese-style extension at this peaceful Tasmanian retreat, complete with spectacular views of the city, riv...
Christina Karras

Homes

A Stylist + Podcaster’s Layered, Textured Seaside Home

Kerrie-Ann Jones’ renovated retro pad in Sydney’s southern beaches is a sun-drenched dream home!
Lucy Feagins
  7 hours ago

View Comments

Similar Stories

Creative People

Meet The Emerging Artist Using An Unexpected Year, To Make Unexpected Objects

Melbourne-based artist Lucy Tolan shares her new collection of wonderfully wobbly ceramic objects + what it’s like to be a full-time artis...
Sasha Gattermayr

Creative People

Showstopping Ceramic Lamps And Sculptures By Sarah Nedovic

This Melbourne maker's handmade ceramic lamps and sculptures are a perfect study of balance and form.

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.

This Week

Stays

A Dreamy Getaway With Panoramic Views In The Heart Of Hobart

Edwardian architecture meets a Japanese-style extension at this peaceful Tasmanian retreat, complete with spectacular views of the city, riv...
Christina Karras

Architecture

A Compact + Colourful Extension Of A Fun Family Home

Foomann Architects replaced this Melbourne home's dated extension with a personality-filled renovation, behind a vibrant pink door!
Christina Karras

Homes

A Stylist + Podcaster’s Layered, Textured Seaside Home

Kerrie-Ann Jones’ renovated retro pad in Sydney’s southern beaches is a sun-drenched dream home!
Lucy Feagins
  7 hours ago

Homes

A Creative Couple’s Loft-Style Pad, With Brooklyn Vibes!

Designer Phi Do and his husband Yaniv Brayer give us a tour through their warehouse-style Richmond townhouse.

Architecture

The Treasure-Filled Sydney Home Of Two Global Art Collectors

House Gezellig by Studio Prineas reflects their clients’ love for modernist design principles and collection of fine art.
Sasha Gattermayr
  23 hours ago

News

Bruce Munro's Spectacular Light Installations Are Coming To Heide

See a showcase of light and colour when the acclaimed English-Australian artist takes over Heide Museum of Modern Art and its gardens!
Sponsored

Interiors

The 2022 Australian Interior Design Awards Winners!

From Troye Sivan's divine Flack Studio residence to a converted warehouse abode, the industry’s best designers and projects have been reve...
Christina Karras

Creative People

Artist and Yindjibarndi Elder Wendy Hubert On Mapping Country + Culture

Our new columnist Jirra Lulla Harvey talks to respected Yindjibarndi Elder, artist, Cultural Custodian and linguist, Wendy Hubert about Coun...
Jirra Lulla Harvey

Interiors

A Green New Addition For An Ageing Edwardian Home

Brave New Eco revitalises an existing Brunswick home for multiple generations with a new extension, natural material palette and clever use

Studio Visit

Kuku Yalanji Artist Tiarna Herczeg Creates Colourful Maps Of Country

The emerging artist shares how they found their creative voice and intuitive painting style, as their latest solo show opens in Sydney.
Christina Karras

Interiors

Two Sleek + Stylish Side-By-Side Homes On One Block!

This dual-occupancy build by Boutique Developments proves developments don't have to be generic, with each unit offering up its own contrast...
Christina Karras

Creative People

Landscape Studio Ayus Botanical On Creating Calming + Enduring Gardens

The husband-and-wife team of Ayus Botanical share the thoughtful processes behind their lush residential and commercial projects!
Christina Karras

A Day In The Life

A Day In The Life Of Costume + Production Designer, Catherine Martin

The four-time Oscar winning designer shares insights from her career working alongside husband Baz Luhrmann, and how she helped bring 'Elvis...
Christina Karras

Interiors

A Mediterranean-Inspired Holiday Home Right On The Water’s Edge

CLO Studios styled the interior of this new Noosa home (dubbed Sky Garden) with earthy tones and pieces by local artists.

Studio Visit

Kelly Thompson’s Playful Preston Showroom Clashes Colour In The Best Way

The clever creative behind online store, Makers’ Mrkt, gives us an inside look at her fun Preston stockroom-turned-store!
Christina Karras

Similar Stories

Creative People

Meet The Emerging Artist Using An Unexpected Year, To Make Unexpected Objects

Melbourne-based artist Lucy Tolan shares her new collection of wonderfully wobbly ceramic objects!
Sasha Gattermayr

Creative People

Showstopping Ceramic Lamps And Sculptures By Sarah Nedovic

This Melbourne maker's handmade ceramic lamps and sculptures are a perfect study of balance and form.

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.

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