Maker of the Month - Lemons Ceramics

We've been stocking the work of Lemons Ceramics by James Shaw since he first started selling his wheel thrown pots. It's been a joy to watch the label develop, refine and mature over the last two years. Lemons Ceramics has an organic and sensual feel to it - no two pieces are ever the same. You can feel the human touch in every cup, bowl and vase.

We are launching his new BUMP range at Guild next weekend - aligning with our Mother's Day pop-up. The new collection features pastel, textured hues and soft curves which encourage you to hold the vessels snuggly in your palm. Below we interview James about his practice and preview his new collection...

Can you tell us a little about your self and your practice?

My name is James Shaw, a New Zealander living in Melbourne since 2012. I started making ceramics under the name Lemons Ceramics two years ago. My work is simple and organic in form, playful and expressive. At the moment I work at Cone11 as a studio tech, study and try to dedicate as much as I can to Lemons. I work and live in Coburg in reach of the incredible Gnocchi from Dicey’s (they haven’t paid me to write that I just really love their pasta).

When and how did you first get started in ceramics?

I was taught the basics a couple of years back by my partner at the time. I knew I had an interest for it years ago before I moved countries but never committed to anything. It’s pretty bizarre sometimes when I think about it now.

Can you describe those early days?

They were investigative, emotional and igniting. The birth of an object from mud and your hands is crazy rewarding. I’ve always been curious and tentative towards textures. Tactility and the hands on nature of clay makes working with the material so enjoyable. I remember making the first pot by myself without any help and it was just so satisfying.

What has the journey been like since those early days?

It’s been a pretty weird and wild one. A lot of hard work, a lot of investment - financially, physically, mentally - a lot of incredible people, a lot of stress, and a lot of enjoyment. I try to take every day as it comes and just focus on making work and developing my skills and knowledge. It’s hard when you’re not always motivated to work, but I’ve learned to push through and keep focused and excited about what I’m doing next.

Can you give us some insight into your creative process and where you draw inspiration from?

Everyday for me is a little different. But my days are torn between throwing, uni, work and all the other bits and bobs you do with a small business. Plus drinking a lot of coffee and eating a lot of food. I love cooking, it relaxes me and I love a challenge of making something different and delicious.

What are you...

...reading?

I’m stuck in a uni headspace, so at the moment a whole bunch of essays and articles about Colonisation and Art. I’ve just read Anthony Byrt’s This Model World which discusses some really interesting New Zealand Contemporary artists and their practises.

...listening to?

I’m always listening to ABC radio, I have a big crush on Jon Faine. 

...watching?

I refuse to watch anything that doesn’t have dragons and white walkers in it.

Can you tell us the first thing that pops into your mind when we mention the word …

Breakfast: toast

Weekends: a myth

People: people needing people

Pause: that amazing crazy radio in Bananas and Pyjamas from the 90s

Sound: little boom speaker next to me

Smell: pasta

Place: forest

Texture: rough

Ritual: toothbrush

Colour: blue

What’s one thing you can’t live without at the moment?

Embarrassingly 4G on my phone…I’ve got to get a new phone asap

Any advice or words of wisdom for other makers out there?

Go see and make as much art as you can and talk to people about what they love doing and why.

Photos by Rob Corica and James Shaw.

Follow Lemons Ceramics on Instagram. View Lemons Ceramics range at Guild.