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Maker of the Month | Lauren MacDonald from Working Cloth

The intricate and old-world craft of quilting represents everything we love about the art of making - it encourages the maker (and viewer) to slow down and appreciate every hand-stitch. Lauren MacDonald has a gentle love for the history and culture of textiles and this is richly represented in her quilting practice Working Cloth. Her stitched creations are imbued with time and patience, and her colour palettes are subtle and calming. We are pretty much in love with everything she makes.

We interview Lauren to find out more about her practice...

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

I am a quilt maker and designer and am currently based in Sydney. I am Canadian, and have spent the last 5 years living and working in London before moving to Australia this past March. I make, study and teach all things textiles. I have experimented with wholesaling and retailing my work, however prefer to work on commission. I enjoy working with a client to ensure I am making something they will love forever, or working on a self indulgent project in which I don’t have to worry about a piece’s commercial end.

When and how did you first get started in textiles?

I started sewing when I was 15 or 16 - and just made really naff hoodies for all of my friends and family with flannelette pockets. I continued sewing through my teens and ended up transferring out of a bioscience degree to study Human Ecology - I focused on material culture studies and textile science. I moved to London for an internship in fashion after my degree.

Can you describe those early days?

I was working as a studio manager and then as a production coordinator for different fashion labels in London. I learned an amazing amount from the designers and pattern makers I worked under - from admin and management skills, to practical sewing and construction techniques, to conceptual design and colour choice. I didn’t have time for a formal design practice of my own at the time. It was a few years of intense learning.

What has the journey been like since those early days?

I never expected to be doing Working Cloth. I quit working in fashion last year - which up until that point had been a huge part of my identity. I was visiting Australia with my partner at the time and felt really lost, confused and unsure what to do next. Working Cloth began from me trying to address some of those feelings.  I wanted to focus on the cultural and historical aspects which I had always loved about textiles and fashion, and to use a process I felt ethically comfortable with and could maintain long term.  Working Cloth has gone through many manifestations but ultimately it has given me a platform to work on projects which I love.

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

I usually start by mood boarding and then sketching. I have many files devoted to a particular texture or colour - a mood I would like to capture. I also have a load of vintage quilting books that I use as references for patterns and techniques. Sometimes I’ll find a textile I love and feel the need to include it and I just sort of go from there.

What does a typical day look like for you?

I am a bit of a night owl at the moment and end up sleeping until 8 or 9.  I’ll make a coffee and a bit of toast and do a bit of reading, then get ready to work.  I live in a one bedroom apartment and my studio is my lounge room. I have a few collaborative projects on the go at the moment, volunteer work, and another job, so Working Cloth functions as a restorative practice. I focus on it a few hours each day and keep up a consistent pace. I try to go for a walk or a swim everyday - it clears my head and helps me keep things in perspective. I find getting in the ocean is a pretty good cure-all for any extra stress or anxieties.

What are you…

reading? In Defense of Lost Causes by Slavoj Zizek

listening to? Ribbons by Lazy Day

watching? Cosmos - Carl Sagan’s 1980 mini series. I’ve already rewatched the 2015 ones with Neil deGrasse Tyson earlier this year and thought I should get into the original.

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

Breakfast: Coffee

Weekends: Beach                      

People: Places 

Pause: Stop                 

Sound: Music   

Smell: Lavender           

Place: Home                

Texture: Satin         

Ritual: Swim          

Colour: Green   

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

The numerous friends and family members constantly being called and sound boarded off of and who are very patient with me.

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

Document your process. It doesn’t have to be public or structured, and it doesn’t come naturally to me, but it is an incredible feeling looking back at where you’ve come from and how your practice has grown.

We are really excited about your upcoming workshop at Guild, can you tell us a bit about it?

I am running a quilted coin pocket workshop. It’s my second workshop at the Guild and I am very excited to be back. We’ll be making up little zip pockets using the fundamentals of Hitomezashi (one stitch) sashiko - a method of visible mending and embroidery that dates back to the Edo period.

Any other projects or news you want to share?

Yes! I have an exhibition coming up next month for part of the inaugural Sydney Craft Week. It’s at blank_space gallery in Surry Hills from October 7-13. It’s a multimedia exhibition featuring a soundscape by the incredibly talented Alyx Dennison. I am also working on a project called Electrocraft, with Laura Walsh of Sydney Makerspace Bobbin and Ink.  The idea is to introduce basic scientific concepts in a very simple craft project. For our first workshop we’re doing some circuitry in the form of light up LED cards and badges. The aesthetic is a bit 70’s sci fi - it’s very different than Working Cloth and a wonderful challenge in its own way.

You can follow Lauren on Instagram.

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Maker of the Month – Claire Lehmann

Claire Lehmann is a graphic artist and ceramicist who studied art history and multimedia and is now exploring the industrial design of ceramics. She is influenced by architecture, sci-fi and 1970s interior design. Her work reflects her interests in shape, texture, process and weight.

We are looking forward to the reveal of Claire’s most recent work in a joint exhibition with Georgie Moyes entitled 573° this month at Guild of Objects from November 17–19.

Please come help us celebrate the launch of Claire and Georgie’s exhibition at a special preview on Thursday November 17 from 5–8pm.

Can you please tell us a little about yourself and your craft?

I’m 38, I live in Northcote and I alternate between ceramics and freelance work as a graphic artist/retoucher. I’m in my last month of studying a Diploma of Ceramics at Holmesglen Tafe. I previously studied a Bachelor of Art History and then Multimedia. I’ve always made art, but cut back when I started working in design. So after 13 years in front of a computer I’m finally circling back around – older, slightly wiser and definitely better at Photoshop. I have a studio in North Melbourne and have been making ceramics for six years. My focus was initially on tableware, but now my focus is shifting towards lighting and hopefully more sculptural, non-functional ceramics.

When and how did you first get interested in ceramics?

One of my sisters asked me to do a short course with her at Carlton Arts Centre. I turned up and within six months I’d moved to part-time work so I could spend the rest of my time making ceramics. It was a convergence of my love of homewares, using my hands and a challenge.

Can you describe the early days of setting up your business?

Initially, it was all about repetition and learning from lots and lots of mistakes. I’d take orders and figure things out as I went. I’d stick to shapes and colours I knew I could manage and I was definitely being risk-averse. Studying ceramics has been great because I’ve tried things I wouldn’t have attempted otherwise and that’s definitely opened up my practice and my interests. I named my business Sunday Ceramics after Sunday Reed who is a personal hero (and was a mega babe). I think my interest in opacity, weight, structure and material tolerance ties in with my love of design. In another life, I would have studied industrial design but I think I’m glad I didn’t. I kind of enjoy approaching these areas with no knowledge and no set ideas. Things just happen organically. And when a shape doesn’t work, I problem solve – do I change the design or do I change the process? The problem solving keeps it interesting.

What does a typical day look like for you?

On pottery days I wake up, have a nice breakfast, do life admin and get to the studio around 10:30am. I like to have different projects going at the same time and I move between them. Usually there are chats and coffees with other studio people, some Radio National and history podcasts, and then suddenly it gets dark and it’s pens down, the day is over. I guess I go into the zone for 5–6 hours and when I come back hopefully some nice ceramics have been made.

Where/what do you draw inspiration from?

I’m interested in shape and texture and I draw inspiration from architecture, art and design. I also love collecting interior design books from the 1970s and 80s.

If you could do anything tomorrow what would you do?

I’d go to the beach and read a book and try to forget about my to-do list.

If you could teach your kids one thing, what would it be?

I try to teach my nieces and nephews to be kind and to have fun.

What are you reading at the moment?

Longform. Always. When I’m on holiday I read books, but in the meantime it’s all about longform journalism.

If we rummaged through your grocery bag, what would we find?

The usual stuff – vegetables, cheese, but also maybe a screwdriver or some random pottery tools.

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

Breakfast: slow scramble
Weekends: studio time
People: smiles with friends
Pause: never
Sound: rain
Smell: my lover’s hair
Place: my garden
Texture: hands
Ritual: ceramics
Color: white

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

The supportive and creative people around me.

What are your words of wisdom?

Life wisdom: Be kind. Try to listen. Trust that it’s all going in the right direction. Ceramic-specific wisdom: Even if things fail, put them in the bin, learn and move on. Aka let it go.

573° Exhibition Open Hours:

Launch Night | Thursday November 17 5–8pm

Open Friday November 18 and Saturday November 19 from 10am to 5pm. 


Find Claire on Instagram and online.

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Maker of the Month – Georgie Moyes

Georgie Moyes is a Melbourne-based ceramicist, utilising hand-building techniques and the wheel to make pieces inspired by the natural world. Harmony and balance are at the forefront of her work as she makes larger pieces which challenge ideas of function and purpose.

We are so excited to be showing Georgie’s work in a joint exhibition with Claire Lehmann entitled 573° this month at Guild of Objects from November 17–19.

Please come help us celebrate the launch of Georgie and Claire’s exhibition at a special preview on Thursday November 17 from 5–8pm.


Can you please tell us a little about yourself and your craft?

I live in Coburg, which isn’t too far from my studio in North Melbourne where I practise ceramics. I feel lucky to say that I spent my earlier years growing up in Warrandyte on a large property with farmland and creeks nearby. I always spent a lot of time outdoors in the garden searching for blue tongues and absorbing as much of my mum’s knowledge about plants as I could! After finishing high school, I started studying psychology but realised it wasn’t for me and decided to take some time out to travel. When I came back I did some short courses in dressmaking and sewing, and I then started taking ceramics classes at Carlton Arts Centre and my interest in clay just kept evolving. Now I am finishing my Diploma of Ceramics at Holmesglen Tafe.  

When and how did you first get interested in ceramics? 

I guess it’s really been embedded in me and something I’ve appreciated for a long time. My mum and my uncle have such an eye for one-off pieces and beautiful antiques. When I visit my mum’s house now, I spend ages looking through all of her knick knacks and the precious things she’s collected over the years – a lot of which are ceramics! My uncle has always given me the most incredible gifts. Everything has always felt like a treasure from another land! So I’ve always had a great appreciation for ceramics and handmade things. My gran also used to make ceramics at Potters Cottage in Warrandyte and she still has a number of the beautiful pieces she made with glazes she formulated herself. So naturally my mother enrolled me in weekend ceramic classes around the age of 11.

Can you describe the early days of setting up your business?

I initially started taking throwing classes at Carlton Arts Centre. I loved these classes, because I was just happy to be making something with my hands. I wasn’t doing it for an outcome, it was just to play and be immersed in something new. Though I soon realised ceramics can’t just be a casual affair, it demands attention and perseverance. I became obsessed with the process, and how much you really have to nurture your work if you want it to make it. It was all a lesson in patience and practising non-attachment. I was going 3-4 times a week, but I wanted more. I needed to know more about hand-building and glazes, which lead me look into Holmesglen. At the moment I’m trying less to focus on the outcome – whether a piece will be functional, where I imagine it to be placed or how it fits into the world, and instead to just feel it out and be open to things changing along the way. Since the start of the year, I’ve been lucky enough to gain a studio space with other potters and shared equipment, which has been amazing! It’s so good to be surrounded by people who are using the same medium but in so many varied ways.

What does a typical day look like for you? 

At the moment I can’t go a day without yoga, and I can’t go a day without time in my garden. These two things are crucial to my productivity and joy. Usually I’m up and in the garden by 8am and at the studio by 10am – coffee in hand and listening to PBS Radio. I’ll usually sit around on Instagram for a while and then go over what I did the day before, and plan what to do for the day. I’m currently building a lot of larger vessels. Usually around 3pm, Claire (my studio wife) and I have a brie and cheddar break, then we’ll get a second wind for a few more hours or it’s time to head home. After a day at the studio I head to yoga, and then it’s home to slay all the snails and slugs in the veggie garden.

Where/what do you draw inspiration from?

Mainly island life, tropical living, tropical plants, tropical animals, tropical beauties, tropical feelings. My happiness is heavily synced with how much time I spend around nature, so I draw a lot of inspiration from the natural world and living within our means alongside nature. I love to look back in time at how ancient cultures used ceramics in ritual and offerings.

The value and worth placed upon objects and belongings inspires me to make. I love how simple things like a stone or seed can resonate with me so much, so I try to make things with this in mind, that everything is special. But there are a number of artists who really inspire me – Maria Gazzard is one with her beautiful forms, as well as paintings by Paul Gauguin. Also the ceramic works of Salvatore Fiume – so dreamy! And the forms of Ancient Grecian urns and all the treasures from the Aegean Sea.

If you could do anything tomorrow what would you do?

As disgusting as it sounds, I’d probably elope to an island in the Caribbean with my boyfriend. 

If you could teach your kids one thing, what would it be?

How to grow food!

What are you reading at the moment?

Island by Aldous Huxley, and my god it’s good!

If we rummaged through your grocery bag, what would we find?

Bonsoy, Derry-O organic brie, liquorice, sweet potato (ALWAYS), tahini, dates and vermicelli.

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

Breakfast: coffeeee!
Weekends: garden
People: rather not
Pause: breathe
Sound: rain
Smell: rice
Place: bed
Texture: sand
Ritual: ceramic
Colour: green  

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


What are your words of wisdom?

Trust that every little thing that happens (good or bad) is leading you to where you want to be. 

573° Exhibition Open Hours:

Launch Night | Thursday November 17 from 5–8pm

Open Friday November 18 and Saturday November 19 from 10am to 5pm.


Find Georgie on Instagram.

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Maker of the Month – Kim Russell

We’ve been big fans of Kim Russell’s work for a long time. Brooke and Chela shared a studio with Kim many moons ago. We enjoyed sharing a space with such an intuitive and whimsical creative soul - truly an artist who dances to her own beat. Kim began her creative practice making small, limited-editions of jewellery, but has since moved on to clay, making one-of-a-kind sculptures which ooze personality, movement and spirituality.

We are so excited to be showing Kim's exhibition of new works entitled 'Masks' this month at Guild of Objects from 22-30 July 2016.

Please come help us celebrate the launch of Kim's exhibition at a special preview on Thursday 21 July from 5pm - 8pm.

We recently interviewed Kim about her work , her practice and her perspective on life and creativity.

Can you please tell us a little about yourself and your craft?

I designed and made jewellery which I loved but I'm influenced by materials so working in a studio with ceramicists led me to creating with clay.  I make small sculptures and feel like I'm on my own little exploration of surrendering and letting it unfold.  I'd love to make large sculptures one day but have no idea how to go about that so for now it's fun playing with form and shapes on a small scale.  My craft goes hand in hand with many of my spiritual practices.  I love the spontaneity and immediacy of clay.

Do you have design philosophies that guide your practice? 

Get out of my head and into my body and let the creativity flow.

What does your studio look like? 

I have an alter with candles, rocks, crystals, palo santo and other trinkets, but besides that it's pretty bare. I don't like too much visual stimulation when I'm making.  Being surrounded by trees is all I need.

Where do you draw inspiration from?

From stimulating conversations...

The other day I was walking through the forest and came across a guy watching a lyre bird.  We started chatting.  He composed music and I said I made sculptures.  We spoke about nature, creativity and the ways of the Universe then thanked each other and continued in our opposite directions, both knowing that we had crossed paths for that moment to creatively inspire one another.  I live for those synchronisations.

What does your perfect day feel like?

It doesn't matter what order but it would include.....meditation/dancing/yoga/walk in nature/eating healthy meals/snacking on sweet treats/cups of tea/connecting with friends/making lots of sculptures while contemplating life's mysteries.

Who's work do you admire?

It changes all the time but at the moment it's Jean Miro and John Byrne.  Oh, and Bjork and Patti Smith, they are constant inspirations.

If you could do anything tomorrow what would you do?

Fly to the magical lands of Peru.

If you could teach your kids one thing, what would it be? 

I would probably want to nurture their curious and free nature and hope they would never lose it.

What are you reading at the moment?

Mysteries of the dark moon by Demeter George

If we rummaged through your grocery bag, what would we find?

Vegetables, chocolate, tea, nuts, Danish sweets.

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



People...mix bag






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

Living in the forest

What are your words of wisdom?

Tap into your own unique gifts and don't follow the crowd.  It doesn't matter if your work isn't always popular.  Evolution and growth of your own practice feeds your soul.


Exhibition Open Hours:

Launch Night | Thursday 21 July 5pm - 8pm.
10am - 4pm on the following days in July
Friday 22  / Saturday 23 (closed Sun/Mon/Tues)
Wednesday 27 / Thursday 28 / Friday 29 / Saturday 30


Find Kim on Instagram, her website, and the Guild shop

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