Welcome to the second instalment of our Members Journal, an ongoing series that gives you an in depth look at some of our working members, their artistic practice, and what inspires them.
This week we talk in conversation with one of our wonderful members & teachers, ceramic artist Naomi Eburn.
Naomi focuses on production throwing in her practice and is inspired constantly to refine her skills through repetition. She originally hails from Armidale NSW, and is now a Wollongong local, spending most of her time creating art, working on her own brand - NE Ceramics - or teaching in our studio.
How did you get into art?
I always did art when I was younger - I did double art [as a subject] in high school which is what led me to go on to art school. My year 11 and 12 art teacher really encouraged me to pursue it, so I went to ANU School of Art and Design straight after school. I did a minor in drawing, but ceramics has always been my main practice. I then completed a residency at Strathnairn Arts in Canberra for 6-months after graduating uni.
What does an ideal day look like for you?
On an ideal day for me, I try and get up nice and early and go for a run, then I eat the same breakfast every day – one egg on one piece of toast – [laughs] I’m obsessed – boiled – it’s so good. With a coffee. And then I try and get into the studio by 9.30 at the latest and stay until 4.30 – 5, making all day. Then I go home and read my book and watch telly. Then cook dahl. That’s my daily routine and I don’t really divert from that.
I live like 5 minutes away [from the studio]. I moved back to Wollongong in February when I started at Clay Wollongong, so I wanted to try and find somewhere nice and close so I could duck home if I needed to for dinner before teaching, so it works really well.
What do you love about living in Wollongong?
The climate is so much milder here than in Canberra, or the highlands, or Armidale NSW where I grew up, so I enjoy that its warmer. I also like the accessibility of everything – it’s a nice size so I don’t find it intimidating like I find the bigger cities, like Sydney – I always want to get out when I’m there, whereas here feels really comfortable.
Can you talk to me a bit about what inspires your practice?
I think my practice is inspired by trying to refine my skillset. I am really committed to being as good as possible at throwing. There’s no end goal – like you can’t finish learning. I’m always just trying to get better. That really informs my practice because I just want to practice getting better and better at my technique and repetition really lends itself to refining that skill.
What does it mean to be a production thrower?
Production is like manufacturing – if there is a design, then I can recreate that any number of times based on how much demand there is for it. Production throwing is about being able to make a set on the wheel that’s concise and the same.
Are there any ceramicists or likeminded brands that you really look up to?
I am totally inspired by Motion Ceramics – they are based down the South Coast of NSW and have a concise and beautiful range of tableware. Their business model is very similar to what I’m aspiring to achieve one day. I also use Instagram a lot to get inspiration!
Do you want to talk a little bit about NE ceramics and what are the kind of things you want your brand to be known for and what you want to make?
Alongside a small core range of tableware, I’m aiming to create a brand that focuses on collaboration – so if there is another business that is likeminded in ethos or sustainability, or has a kind of creative or unique design, I want to work collaboratively with them to come up with something together that is uniquely theirs for their own brand, that can also enhance mine; like a symbiotic relationship in a way. Ideally a brand wants to come back and work together on a different project and we make a whole series together – that’s really what I’m excited to do with NE Ceramics.
What are some of the bigger things that you like making?
I really love doing section throwing – so making really big things. I’m excited to try and make big pots for plants. But I also like doing large tableware like jugs, plates and larger bowls, that sort of thing.
What is the ethos around sustainability with your brand?
I guess just treading as lightly as possible. The kinds of people and smaller brands I’d like to collaborate with would also ideally share this ethos and our worldviews align.
What do you love about ceramics as a field and practice?
I love that it is so broad because I think it can be intimidating to find originality, or it can be hard to find an original flare, and so I think it’s good that ceramics is so broad because there is so much variety. There can be so many people doing it, and you can still find your own niche or ways to distinguish your own work because there’s so much to do with the maker, or the design process. I like that about in in terms of the industry, and you know the difference between someone who does hand building versus someone who does wheel throwing versus somebody who does sculpture, or production - it’s just endless, and I love that.
You can follow Naomi and see what she's up too on instagram @ne.ceramics. Naomi will also be holding a production throwing course at Clay Wollongong in August so keep your eyes peels for that over on our instagram at @claywoll