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

Gardens

Heide Museum’s Enchanting New Healing Garden

Heide Museum of Modern Art opens a new healing garden – a therapeutic space to benefit the mind, soul, and body.

Creative People

Seven Standout Emerging Creatives of 2021

Discovering talented new creatives is our favourite thing we do – here are the artists, designers and makers who got us talking in 2021.

Creative People

Creating Original, Ever-Changing Gardens With Kep Horticulture’s Andy Kepitis

Kep Horticulture founder Andy Kepitis talks how to create dynamic gardens, and his aversion to 'certain' plant palettes!

Studio Visit

The Graduate Designer Pushing The Limits Of Traditional Furniture Design

Brigitte Owers-Buccianti is the designer behind Real Non-Real, an exciting new practice making multi-functional furniture pieces.

Family

Artist Miranda Skoczek On Single Parenting, Smelling The Roses + Spontaneity

Artist Miranda Skoczek shares her multigenerational family life in the Dandenongs with son Harper and aunt Margaret.

Stays

The Most Dreamy Getaway Spots Of 2021

From beach shacks on Stradbroke Island to a Blue Mountains weekender that floats among the clouds, these are the hottest holiday spots of la...

News

Ring In The New Year With A Massive DOMO Sale!

DOMO are bringing in the new year with up to 50% off major international brands.
Sponsored

On The Market

The Perfect Mid-Century, NSW South Coast Beach House Is For Sale

This mid-century Mollymook Beach house is perfect in its proportions, feel and water views... and it's on the market!

Food

Julia's Herby Prawn Mayo Sandwiches

Julia Busuttil Nishimura serves up the ultimate summer sanga. YUM!
Julia Busuttil Nishimura

Tiny Homes

The Most Inspiring Tiny Homes Of 2021

From converted shipping containers to prefabricated dwellings available for purchase, these were our favourite tiny houses of 2021.

Homes

The Experimental Melbourne Home Of Two Artists

The 'deranged maximalist colour feast' home of artists Nabilah Nordin and Nick Modrzewski in Newport, Melbourne.
Lucy Feagins
  3 hours ago

Food

The Tastiest Recipes Of 2021

From savoury galettes to triple tiered vanilla sponges with craem and lemon curd, these are our five most popular recipes of last year.

News

Save Soho Rose Farm!

Donate to help save Victoria’s most beautiful field-grown roses, after a devastating hail storm. 

Homes

Designer Anna Spiro’s Heavenly Island Home

The celebrated interior designer shares her relaxed yet luxurious Minjerribah/North Stradbroke holiday house.

Architecture

9 Outrageously Beautiful Australian Coastal Homes

From humble shacks, to architectural masterpieces, these are our favourite beachside homes of 2021!

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

Studio Visit

The Graduate Designer Pushing The Limits Of Traditional Furniture Design

Brigitte Owers-Buccianti is the designer behind Real Non-Real, an exciting new practice making multi-functional furniture pieces.

News

Save Soho Rose Farm!

Donate to help save Victoria’s most beautiful field-grown roses, after a devastating hail storm. 

On The Market

The Perfect Mid-Century, NSW South Coast Beach House Is For Sale

This mid-century Mollymook Beach house is perfect in its proportions, feel and water views... and it's on the market!

Tiny Homes

The Most Inspiring Tiny Homes Of 2021

From converted shipping containers to prefabricated dwellings available for purchase, these were our favourite tiny houses of 2021.

News

Ring In The New Year With A Massive DOMO Sale!

DOMO are bringing in the new year with up to 50% off major international brands.
Sponsored

Homes

The Experimental Melbourne Home Of Two Artists

The 'deranged maximalist colour feast' home of artists Nabilah Nordin and Nick Modrzewski in Newport, Melbourne.
Lucy Feagins
  3 hours ago

Gardens

Heide Museum’s Enchanting New Healing Garden

Heide Museum of Modern Art opens a new healing garden – a therapeutic space to benefit the mind, soul, and body.

Stays

The Most Dreamy Getaway Spots Of 2021

From beach shacks on Stradbroke Island to a Blue Mountains weekender that floats among the clouds, these are the hottest holiday spots of la...

Creative People

Creating Original, Ever-Changing Gardens With Kep Horticulture’s Andy Kepitis

Kep Horticulture founder Andy Kepitis talks how to create dynamic gardens, and his aversion to 'certain' plant palettes!

Family

Artist Miranda Skoczek On Single Parenting, Smelling The Roses + Spontaneity

Artist Miranda Skoczek shares her multigenerational family life in the Dandenongs with son Harper and aunt Margaret.

Homes

Designer Anna Spiro’s Heavenly Island Home

The celebrated interior designer shares her relaxed yet luxurious Minjerribah/North Stradbroke holiday house.

Creative People

Seven Standout Emerging Creatives of 2021

Discovering talented new creatives is our favourite thing we do – here are the artists, designers and makers who got us talking in 2021.

Architecture

9 Outrageously Beautiful Australian Coastal Homes

From humble shacks, to architectural masterpieces, these are our favourite beachside homes of 2021!

Food

Julia's Herby Prawn Mayo Sandwiches

Julia Busuttil Nishimura serves up the ultimate summer sanga. YUM!
Julia Busuttil Nishimura

Food

The Tastiest Recipes Of 2021

From savoury galettes to triple tiered vanilla sponges with craem and lemon curd, these are our five most popular recipes of last year.

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 – we would love to hear from you.

Please email us here.