Elise Eales grew up learning about the complexities and joy of clay from her father’s pottery studio in Northern NSW, yet, her creative path steered her towards fashion and textiles initially. After completing her diploma in fashion and textiles she worked as a hand sewer for Easton Pearson (now closed) and then in-store at Lee Mathews.
In 2020 she planned to indulge in her longtime dream to move to Florence, Italy, but Covid and suspended international travel prompted her to return instead to her family’s ceramic studio and immerse herself once more in clay.
This renewed interest in ceramics continued when she finally made it to an art school in Florence for a six month stint in 2021. ‘Italy firmly instilled a love of Majolica techniques and Mediterranean aesthetics’, she says. ‘When I got back to Australia it was these techniques and designs that inspired Di Lunedi ceramics.’
The pull of Italy’s beautiful seaside towns and rambling countryside proved hard to resist, and at the end of 2022 she returned to Italy once more, this time to complete an artist’s residency in Naples.
Her time in Italy fortified her love of Italian ceramics, inspiring her focus on working with earthenware and terracotta, hand-mixed englobes and Italian pigments. Her hand-painted designs are nostalgic and playful with a perceived naivety inspired by mid-century artists Picasso, Miro and Calder.
‘I am constantly searching for balance,’ she explains. ‘In the rustic inconsistencies of shape and selected use of brush strokes to create naivety. It’s about the feeling of whimsy and a little beauty in your day.’
Her pieces are painstakingly hand-built in her studio on her family’s property in NSW, with each one taking around several days to complete from start to finish.
‘I am incredibly lucky to have a father with a wealth of knowledge and experience. I think that has helped me push through some of the limitations that I might have otherwise become stuck on within the vast world of ceramics,’ she says.
No two pieces are the same, each a variation of the next, with crabs, sardines, lobsters and Mediterranean motifs – the stars of Di Lunedi – made to be enjoyed on the table, or admired on a wall.
And, we’re not the only ones to fall in love with Elise’s beautiful work; popular art print brand Hotel Magique recently selected four of her designs to be transformed into posters. They’re also working on a limited edition ceramic collection of 10 designs, which will be released soon – so watch this space!