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Inside The Dreamy Garden Shed Studio Of Emerging Ceramic Artist, Anni Hagberg

Studio Visit

Every year since 1993, Craft Victoria has held Fresh! – an exhibition of graduate makers from across the state. Spanning craft, design and fine art disciplines, Fresh! is an important annual showcase of the newest class of Victorian makers.

Artist Anni Hagberg exhibited her graduate collection of porcelain pieces, titled ‘Integrity’, in last year’s show. Constructed from discarded metals coated in speckles of gold lustre, the body of ceramic works scored her both The Design Files Emerging Maker Award and The John Wardle Architects Craft Prize!

We visited Anni at her sunny backyard studio in Yarraville to hear more about her blossoming practice.

14th January, 2021

Meet Anni Hagberg, breakout graduate artist! Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

She makes her pieces from discarded materials such as scrap metal and broken glass. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

After being locked out of the RMIT ceramics studios for most of last year, Anni finally has a studio of her own. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

We are certainly envious of this dreamy studio at the bottom of Anni’s Yarraville backyard – in a garden shed! Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

Each piece can take anywhere between a few weeks to several months to complete. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

Anni combines discarded materials with porcelain and gold lustre before firing them into form. The kiln heat is where the magic really happens! Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

Each piece is fired only once, as she is most intrigued by the metamorphosis that takes place when heat is applied to her sculpted structure. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

A bright and weathered corner. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

The resulting pieces are lumpy, broken and exude a distinctly industrial vibe. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

A finished piece up close. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

Though different from the award-winning ‘Integrity’ collection, these pieces continue with the same investigation into materiality and the ceramic process underpinning the works displayed in Fresh!. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

Sasha Gattermayr
Thursday 14th January 2021

‘I usually start with collecting waste materials which I use throughout my works – this can be anything from broken glass and scrap metal to charcoal or residue from welding.’ – Anni Hagebrg

Despite being stranded without a studio for most of 2020, there were some upsides to last year for graduate artist Anni Hagberg. For one, she was selected to exhibit at Fresh! – Craft Victoria’s annual exhibition of outstanding graduate artists. For another, she took out The Design Files Emerging Maker Award AND The John Wardle Architects Craft Prize while she was there. Not bad!

Her prizewinning work was a collection of porcelain sculptures titled ‘Integrity’. Made from a combination of scrap metal and broken glass, and coated in a glaze made from leftover wood ash and gold lustre, these works reflect Annie’s interest in working predominantly with found materials, to create her industrial-feel pieces.

‘I usually start with collecting waste materials which I use throughout my works – this can be anything from broken glass and scrap metal to charcoal or residue from welding,’ Anni says of the first steps in her multi-stage creative process. ‘I then form metal structures, around which I build layers of glass, ceramic, glazes, stains and waste additives. The works are then carefully dried and fired once, as high as the form’s structure will allow.’

From inception to completion, each piece takes anywhere between a few weeks to several months to finish.

A recent graduate of RMIT’s Bachelor of Fine Art, Anni’s practice is centred around a fascination with form: experimenting with structure, questioning its traditions, and pushing materials to their limits. She finds the way her substances calcify the most inspirational part of these investigations.

‘The ceramic process has an incredible ability to capture and communicate the lively and indeterminate nature of materials,’ she explains. ‘I have become increasingly interested in the unique transformations that occur in the kiln, depending on how the materials are fired, and what other materials they are in contact with.’

Future plans are bubbling for this promising young artist, who has just been accepted into a graduate research degree in the RMIT Fine Arts department, to commence in the next few months. But for now, she has a new studio all of her own to enjoy: a sunny garden shed located in the bottom of her backyard in Yarraville.

‘I especially love the worn-down brick wall and missing window panels which let me peer out into the yard while I work,’ Anni says. We do, too!

Keep an eye on Anni’s work here.

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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. Please email bea@thedesignfiles.net