Studio Visit

Inside Georgia Harvey's Quirky Ceramics Practice + Dream Studio

Georgia Harvey started her ceramics career on late nights, after her kids had gone to bed. In fact, she didn’t even fire anything for the first six months; instead smashing down whatever she’d made that night to re-use the same bag of clay again the next evening!

Fast-forward a decade later, and the self taught maker has developed her own unique style and flourishing practice, but says she’s still making ‘new discoveries every day’.

Georgia gave us a peek into her backyard studio where she creates her ‘not too cute and not too hideous’ vases and sculptures.

Christina Karras

Georgia gravitates towards animals or animalistic forms in her work. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files

All her pieces are handbuilt, and can take anywhere between a few hours or several days to complete. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files

Georgia has been living in Footscray since 2010, but her dream shed was built several years later. ‘We moved overseas for a few years, during which time my ‘studio’ was a table in a school art room, and a spot in a corner of our apartment.’ Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files

‘I like to make things that are not too cute and not too hideous but perhaps inhabiting a slightly unsettling space in between,’ Georgia says. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files

‘[My] favourite tools include a flat wooden spoon for paddling and a variety of skewers and dowels for rolling out cylinders,’ Georgia adds. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files

‘Process is almost what it’s all about for me. I love it. I am really happy when I have completed pieces that work, but I’m never particularly devo when they don’t. I just see it as another opportunity to make something else.’ Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files

As well as her animals or figures, Georgia also makes small vessels that are ‘little carriers of surface, or holders of voids’. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files

‘I love how an inanimate object can have persona breathed into it with something as simple as cutting a hole in it.’ Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files

Georgia works in the studio three days a week, in addition to her work in disability care. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files

‘One of my favourite things about the [studio] space is when I’m sitting at the open window, I can look out at the garden. There is a bowl of water that honeyeaters bathe in, and I can hear my chooks scratching around,’ Georgia notes. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files

Christina Karras
14th of April 2022

Georgia Harvey studied painting at RMIT long before she discovered her love of ceramics.

‘My process had become to build up surfaces, then cover it all with more paint, then sand it back so the forms underneath would be partially revealed. I think I was really a latent ceramicist already at that point, looking for a kiln to sublimate things in!’ Georgia says.

The prolific creative later completed a Masters in Cultural Materials Conservation, and went to work as an objects conservator at the NGV. It was during this time studying ceramics from around the world, that she became interested in the idea of doing something with clay herself.

‘I got a studio nearby – I had young kids at the time, so I would wait until they were tucked into bed then I’d head down to the studio at night and spend hours mucking around. I had one bag of clay and at the end of the night I’d just punch whatever I’d made back down into the bag and start again the following night.’

These days though, Georgia works from her ‘dream shed’ studio in the backyard of her family home in Footscray, which she calls her ‘5 x 3 m chunk of paradise!’

In her own words, Georgia’s distinct, imperfect style walks the line between ‘not too cute and not too hideous but perhaps inhabiting a slightly unsettling space in between’. She finds inspiration everywhere – from landscapes, buildings, critters, and artefacts, to kids’ artworks, jewellery, masks and plants.

‘I keep returning to [creating] animals, or forms that suggest animals. I’m endlessly inspired by ancient depictions of animals, like askoi and rhyta, ritual animal-shaped vessels. I love the idea of ritual objects, or of ritual at all.’

Georgia’s detailed, hollow ceramics can take anywhere from a few hours to more than several days to create, and she often plays around with various glazing techniques. But all her pieces offer the same playful quality, imbued with their own unique personality and character!

You can learn more about Georgia here.

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