There's something special about the work of Melbourne based Alison Frith, her unique shapes are refined and polished and quite simply, sophisticated. We had a little chat about her life as a ceramicist.
Our Series is called 'Meet the Maker,' what do you make?
I make ceramics. My work is predominantly wheel-thrown, often comprising of multiple pieces to create one composite form. I like to create work that spans both functional and sculptural objects.
Please tell us about the journey to creating your incredible work. Did you study? What drew you into ceramics?
My parents gave me a 6-week wheel course for Christmas many moons ago. I did casual classes for a few years, becoming more and more hooked. About 10 years ago I decided to take the plunge, enrolling in a Diploma of Ceramics.
Plinths are such a charming, throwback item, what inspired you to make them?
We were in the middle of a lockdown last year and my partner mentioned that he would like a small table next to his favourite chair where he could put his morning coffee. After a bit of trial and error in the studio, I came up with the plinth.What does your creative process look like?
It usually starts with a seed of an idea. A shape I like, a texture I want to explore, something we need for home. I’ll often do a few sketches and sit on the idea for a week or two, sometimes months. If I’m still preoccupied with exploring the idea after several weeks I usually have a crack at making it.What role does colour play in your work?
I incorporate a range of colours in my work. I like colours to complement one another so works can be collected over time. The finish is just as important a consideration. Satin, gloss and crackle are just a few examples of different glaze qualities that can enhance and dramatically change the overall look and feel of something.Please tell us about your studio/workspace. What do you need around you to feel inspired and motivated?
In my studio, there are walls of shelves (you can never have too many) with work in various stages of completion, buckets of glaze, raw ingredients, two kilns and workbenches scattered with tools and half-baked ideas scribbled on post-it notes. Studio Frith (where I teach) is next door and usually a much more orderly affair with wheels, wedging benches, glaze examples and student work lining the shelves.
What does a typical workday at Alison Frith HQ look like?
All days are different depending on what I have on that week and whether I’m teaching in the evening. If I’m teaching in the evening a usually have a slow start to the day, arriving at the studio by late morning. If I need to load/unload a kiln I tend to that first and then move on to making things on the wheel. In between there are pots to trim, clay to reclaim and glazes to mix. I try to tick as many things I can off the list before students arrive for evening wheel throwing classes. I’m usually out the door a little after 9pm.What advice would you give to emerging creatives who want to start their own business?
Surround yourself with positive, can-do people. Don’t be afraid to ask other creatives or small business owners for advice. If you’re having trouble with something then chances are someone else has faced similar problems. Learn to network (something I’m pretty terrible at!) as it can often lead to unexpected opportunities.
You can see more of Alison's beautiful work here