Ceramicist Janae Paquin-Bowden has been creating with clay since her primary school days. Many of these early pieces are still scattered around – or should we say, ‘featured in’ – her parents’ garden. In her 20s, Janae joined various pottery clubs, and in 2011 she graduated from La Trobe University with a Visual Arts degree, majoring in ceramics.
Yet, despite this early lead into a career in ceramics, it’s only in the last six months that she’s established pottery as her full-time gig.
‘I completed my degree before moving on to become a primary school teacher, and then onto starting our flower farm,’ Janae explains. ‘My ceramics had previously been something to do on the side to keep my hands busy and my heart full.’ Now, with a new kiln and a charming garden studio, she finally has time to indulge in her oldest passion.
‘It’s now my full-time winter job,’ she says. ‘Flower farming in the warmer months, and pottery in the cooler months. It’s a dream that has been gradually developing over 10 years.’
While being a ceramicist in a garden studio – in winter! – might sound like a recipe for cold feet and numb hands, Janae assures us this is not the case, thanks to a roaring wood fire and, of course, the kiln (which reaches temperatures above 1000 degrees celsius when in use).
Her studio, named ‘La Cachette’ (the hideaway), which began life as a basic shed, has received a charming renovation at the hands of Janae’s dad. The pair used as many recycled materials as possible for this project; there’s second-hand French doors with beveled glass that have been installed horizontally as windows, a concrete sink rescued from Janae’s cousin’s horse paddock, and forest green wall paneling, which are actually recycled cool room panels for insulation.
La Cachette sits in the middle of Janae’s flower farm, Fleurs de Lyonville, which delivers constant inspiration for her ceramic work. ‘I often design a vase with a certain flower in mind. I consider the stem length, flower head size and how they will sit in the vase,’ she explains.
Janae’s hand-built vases and candlesticks are etched naively to resemble vintage vessels, emerging from the kiln in various cheerful hues. Created with the belief that flowers and pottery go hand-in-hand, it seems that Janae has finally found her groove.
Keep an eye out for Janae’s work on her Instagram.