Tessy M King is the first in our Meet the Maker series, where we interview the hands, hearts and minds behind the products in store. Tessy is a Melbourne based ceramicist and maker of beautiful things.
Tell us a little about your background – what did you study/where did you work before you started making ceramics?
I have always loved working with my hands and arranging things so I began by studying Jewellery at Tafe in Melbourne. I loved the course and I learnt a lot about the working qualities of metal, stones and enamel but I also felt slightly disconnected to the materials and their application. I tried out some wheel throwing at Northcote Pottery for fun and ended up loving it and enrolled in Fine Arts at RMIT, which is where I am now, finishing off my degree.
What was the motivation behind starting your own business?
Making stuff makes me happy. I am more interested in the connection I have with materials and being able to make curious objects than I am in ensuring I can afford nice things. It’s just about passion and being present in what I do.
How important is hand-made production to your creative process?
Extremely important. All of my work is hand-formed. I only make small runs of work and each piece is different. I like that I cannot make two identical objects because of the processes that I use. I want my pots to have personality and there to be evidence in the finished piece of the hands that made them.
What does a typical day at work look like?
When I start there is a nice clean table in front of me. I either do a bit of coiling or slab building of objects. I glaze some bisque fired work while I wait for my slabs to dry, or I paint on some coloured slips and underglazes onto greenware. I’ll often visit Northcote Pottery to pick up supplies and fired work. In the afternoon I finish sticking all of the pieces of slab together, or coiling a pot. I end up with a big mess in the studio by the afternoon, so I spend half an hour tidying up before I have a glass of wine and hang out with my dog, Roo.
Do you have any tips for aspiring makers or designers?
I have found it’s been really beneficial to be involved with a community of makers (both ceramics and other). Doing a degree and studying at Tafe has been great, but being open to opportunities outside of these spaces and engaging with a broader community is also important. I also think Instagram is a really great way to get your work out there and to establish connections with other makers and people interested in what you make.
Who/what are you inspired by at the moment?
Ikebana, Camille Henrot, Karla Black (always my favourite), Ambrosius Bosschaert, the Peace Lily, all kinds of Wattle and Ghost Gum, textiles, glass and cellophane, shell art and mother of pearl lustres, Brancusi, Giorgio Morandi, June Schwarcz enameled vessels, pink lakes and 60’s/70’s indoor plant magazines.
What are you most proud of in your career to date?
Being offered the opportunity to sell my work at lovely places like Kinobi, Mr Kitly and Crafts ‘Pop Up Shop’ at Melbourne Town Hall.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
How do you like to spend your days off?
Sleeping in, walking my dog at Darebin Parklands, visiting friends, drinking coffee in the sunshine.
What did you eat for breakfast?
Coffee followed by avocado on a slice of sourdough.
You can view our range of Tessy M King ceramics here.