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Guild Map Launch // Social Snaps

So you may have heard we collaborated with local illustrator Ashley Ronning on a map – specifically the Guild Of Objects' Guild to North Melbourne! Naturally, we had a little soiree to celebrate. Thanks so much to everyone who came along – here's some piccies of your faces. 


Photos by Linsey Rendell. 

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Maker of the Month – Ashley Ronning

For our first Maker of the Month for 2016, we introduce you to illustrator and zine maker extraordinaire Ashley Ronning. From her studio in Brunswick, Ashley sketches plants, ponders the cosmos, and explores anxiety with illustration. Her risograph creations are often dark and twisty, but also colourful and comical. She's also the maker behind our very own Guide to North Melbourne map! You can now pick up a copy in store, before taking it out for a test run in our wonderful neighbourhood.

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

I live in a quiet corner of Brunswick in a 1950s-built, 1970s-renovated house with some good friends. I work in my studio just a short bike ride away from home, where I make my illustrations, zines and other projects. I grew up in Canberra and don’t go back to visit often enough! It was a great place to be as a kid, but I needed a change when I was old enough to flee the nest.

How did you first get started in illustration?

I was planning to stay in Canberra for university to study politics, but realised that it was absolutely not for me. Shillington College in Melbourne had the perfect graphic design course, and it wasn’t until after Shillington that I realised illustration was a possibility as a career! As for zines, I first saw them at small bookshops in Canberra and zine queen Vanessa Berry came to town to put on a zine workshop. She had me hooked!


What has the journey been like since those early days?

I felt a huge change when I met other illustrators and makers in Melbourne. It’s so amazing to have a go-to-gang for advice and support. I suppose my practice made a huge leap last year when I switched to full time. It has its stressful moments, but I wouldn’t change it for anything. 

Can you give us some insight into your creative process?

I get ideas from exhibitions, books, music or conversations, and often sketch out some ideas until I fall in love with something that I want to make into a drawing, print or zine. When I’m ready to begin the final piece, I make a rough sketch, refine it a little, and then ink over the top. If I’m risographing it, I’ll usually just draw the line work and then add layers of colour in photoshop, before churning it through the riso.

What does a typical day look like for you?

I usually wake up, sneak around the room in the dark so I don’t wake up the boyf, feed Fritz the cat, have some toast, hop on my bike to the studio, put on a pot of tea and fire up the computer. If I’m not feeling very inspired, I’ll organise online orders or answer emails, then I’ll usually do drawing in the middle of the day, and then risograph printing at the end of the day if I have printing to do. I do so many different projects so every day is different. Afterwards I’ll either head home to hang out with Fritz or go to an exhibition or gig.

What do you draw inspiration from? 

For over a year now I’ve been really inspired by space – I find it endlessly fascinating. I’ve also drawn a lot of inspiration from my trip to Japan last year, friends’ art, exhibitions, sci-fi books and films, and nature.

What are you reading at the moment? 

Men Like Gods by H.G. Wells. 

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

Pasta, pesto, zooper doopers, bread, broccoli, pumpkin. 

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

Weekends ... Halloumi for breakfast
People ... Sometimes
Pause ... Record player
Sound ... B-52s
Smell ... Tea
Place ... Tokyo
Texture ... Corduroy
Ritual ... Risograph
Colour ... Rainbow 


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


What are your words of wisdom?

Worry less about what others think and just keep making what you love! Eventually everyone else will realise you rule.


Find Ashley on Instagram, Twitterher website, and the Guild shop

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Maker of the Month – Alison Frith

Our Maker of the Month for November is Alison Frith and we are absolutely thrilled to be exhibiting her beautiful work for the next 10 days at Guild.

Alison is an emerging artist in the field of ceramics and this week she is exhibiting her stunning hand-thrown pieces alongside fellow artist Jessica Rae at their exhibition called 'Two' which opens tomorrow night right here at Guild. Alison is meticulous in her approach to making ceramics, and this is clearly evident in her strong and sophisticated body of work. 

We are completely besotted by her crater glazes which will be on display in all of their glory at her exhibition. If you are a glaze geek (like us!) you really have to check these out.

You are invited to join us on opening night this Thursday November 19, 6–8pm for drinks and nibbles.

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

I grew up just outside of Daylesford and moved to the city at 18 to study a Bachelor of Arts at the University of Melbourne. I have always lived north of the river and have called Brunswick home for the past six or so years. My studio is just a short bike ride away in North Melbourne and I am about to finish (hooray!) a Diploma of Ceramics at Holmesglen. I create work that is predominantly wheel based with clean lines and simple finishes. My recent work explores unconventional surface techniques to highlight the medium of clay, often subverting the object’s utilitarian function.

When and how did you first get started in ceramics? 

I think I was going through a quarter life crisis, of sorts. I had deferred my Masters of Communication at RMIT and was at a bit of a loose end. So for Christmas my parents got me an eight-week beginner course at the Carlton Arts Centre. This is where I met Julian and my love affair with clay began – hold the Ghost cracks.

Can you describe those early days?

There was definitely a spark. Working with clay had ignited something in me. The tactile nature of the medium and the immediacy of throwing on the wheel was both challenging and satisfying. I was hooked, and soon I was going back two or three nights a week, on Saturdays and even faking the odd ‘sickie’ to glaze my work so it could be fired by the weekend. After a couple years of casual night classes I went travelling and saw a reconstruction of Lucy Rie’s studio at the V&A Museum in London. I think I held onto this experience more than I realised at the time because when I came home I cleaned out our outdoor laundry, bought an old Jumping Jack pottery wheel (it was louder than our washing machine) and enrolled in NEIS. My main line of thought was I got this. After a long cold winter, a few markets and the odd commission I realised I didn’t really know anything about ceramics.

What has the journey been like since those early days? 

Since enrolling in the Diploma of Ceramics at Holmesglen, I’ve started to hone my skills on the wheel, develop my own glazes and learn how to fire a gas kiln. I was lucky enough to be the recipient of the Trudie Alfred Bequest, which enabled me to purchase a new Shimpo wheel, a stack of batts for throwing and glaze ingredients for my studio.

Above all, school has taught me to loosen up and try new things – certain tasks force you to go in directions you never thought you would and to get out of your comfort zone. This is how I first started playing with crater glazes. While advice from the teachers can steer you in the right direction, I have learned most from observing my peers. Witnessing other students’ successes and failures gives far greater knowledge and insight into the creative practice than any institution can.

 Can you give us some insight into your creative process? 

I work with stoneware clays and make most of my work on the wheel. I think you’re either a hand-builder or a thrower and I’m definitely the latter. I like the immediacy the wheel brings and how it teaches you to be disciplined with speed, water and touch. I always throw on batts so as to not warp or disrupt the shape of my thrown piece when taking it off the wheel. I do have a tendency to chat (my favourite form of procrastination), but if I’m lucky (usually when no one else is in the studio) I’ll get into a throwing rhythm and the day will be over before I know it. I do a lot of glaze testing on different clay bodies and try to be pretty thorough with my documentation – some days this is better than others. Due to the simplicity of my thrown forms, I like to draw on unconventional surface treatments, including crater glazes and sprig tessellations.

What does a typical day look like for you? 

There are three ‘typical’ days in my routine at the moment. I’m either at the studio throwing on the wheel, turning pieces and loading/unloading the kiln. Or I’m at school testing and glazing all bisqueware I bring in from my studio. Or I’m at Anchor Ceramics, where I work part-time making planters. It has pretty much been these three studios on rotation for the past year. It can be a challenge working across so many different spaces as you really need to plan ahead due to the time dependent nature of clay, but I’m beginning to find a balance and learning (usually the hard way) not to take risks with letting work dry too quickly!

Do you have making philosophies that guide your practice?

For me ceramics is all about skill and technique. It’s 90% blood, sweat and tears and 10% creativity. I don’t find that inspiration comes like a bolt of lightning, but if I’m disciplined to keep going into the studio I’m occasionally rewarded with a small victory. It’s usually just enough to prevent you from giving up, to keep testing that glaze or trying for a certain form. I once had a stack of bottles glazed and ready for final assessment fall off a shelf and smash into a million pieces, which is when my teacher told me you need to have a lion’s heart to be a ceramicist – and I reckon she’s probably right. Just when you think you’ve got everything under control the clay teaches you something new. Possibly because there are so many more failures than successes with ceramics, I think it’s the failures that actually steer our creative direction.

What do you draw inspiration from?

Despite growing up in the country, it’s the urban landscape that I’m drawn to. My work is quite controlled and minimal, incorporating clean lines and hard angles. Even my crater glazes are highly prescriptive with countless hours of methodical testing, despite their organic aesthetic. I admire the utilitarian styles of Danish potters including Gertrud Vasegaard and Inger Rokkjaer. I like the simplicity of their forms … quiet and understated.

Can you name another maker that you admire, whose field might be different to your own, but you find their work or methods inspiring?

My housemates. We’re an eclectic bunch of do-ers. My boyfriend is a musician so he views and interprets things in a completely different way to me, which is really interesting (and occasionally frustrating, but usually interesting). The others span the creative fields of fashion, fine art and curatorship. With five of us all working in different mediums, there’s always something on the boil.

It’s nice to be surrounded by people who just keep chipping away at things. It can be tough going to keep a creative practice afloat. There is usually a string of part-time jobs and a truckload of self-doubt. It’s a hard balance to achieve and doesn’t always work, but it’s encouraging when you’ve got good company along the way.

Find Alison on Instagram, her website, and the Guild shop.


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Maker of the Month – Brooke Thorn

For our next Maker of the Month, we introduce you to another of our founding potters Brooke Thorn

Brooke makes beautiful functional tableware design to be used every day and passed down through the generations. She recently started her own little family (welcome to the world tiny Arthur!), so you won't see her face in store as much at the moment, but rest assured she worked tirelessly in the lead up to make sure there would be plenty of her dreamy works lining the shelves.

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

I grew up in the Barossa Valley in South Australia and studied Interior Design in Adelaide at UniSA. I’ve always loved drawing, painting and making things, so design seemed like a natural progression. My first introduction to ceramics was visiting an uncle who worked from a shared artist studio in Hobart – I was in awe of the big kiln he used and how scary it looked. That experience has always stuck in my mind.  

When and how did you first get started in ceramics?

I worked for ten years as an interior designer in Melbourne, mostly on high-end residential projects, as well as hospitality and retail. As interior design wages are pretty dismal, I also worked on the weekends in a furniture store that supported Australian designers. This is where I came across the work of Gregory Bonasera and Sophie Moran and fell in love with contemporary Australian ceramics. After ten years as a designer I was getting really bored with just being on the computer all of the time and so I enrolled in a night ceramics course as a hobby and creative outlet. Over two years I learned skills and process and finally got to the point of being able to make stuff that looked somewhat close to what I actually wanted them to look like.  

What has the journey been like since those early days?

Having a design background I always had a really clear vision of what I wanted to make. Initially I was just making ceramics for myself with no intention of selling it, but friends became interested in my work and it grew from there. It took me a year to develop my range and launch my brand, and then once I had interest from shops I finally decided to make a go of it full-time. This was a big leap for me but I was fortunate enough to have come across Elm Place Studios where there was a collective studio of potters with a range of experience levels. I found this a nurturing and inspiring place to be and everyone helped with advice and encouragement. 

What does a typical day look like for you?

At the moment I’m on maternity leave with my two-month-old son, but before that I was at the studio about six days a week. I liked to start early as the studio is usually quiet then and I can get a few solid hours in before other people roll on in. I love being in a shared studio I find being around other people to be a good motivation for me and I would get incredibly lonely if I worked solo. But I also like to have a few quiet hours here and there to find my focusWhen I’m not at the studio I love pottering around at home – I’ve always got a craft project or two on the go and a big ‘to-do’ list of home improvements. My favorite place in Melbourne for relaxation and inspiration is Heide Gallery. It has the most amazing energy there and I always feel invigorated after a visit.  

Can you give us some insight into your creative process?

I start the process by sketching my ideas using pencils and watercolours. Then I go into the prototyping phase where I test out the forms in three dimensions by wheel-throwing them or hand building. This is to iron-out any technical issues – especially important if the shape is to be made into a mould. The prototyping process takes time, but it is worth it to get a strongly resolved product in the end. 

I use wheel-throwing techniques to make my larger pieces and plaster mould-making for my smaller pieces. They are two very different ways of making ceramics and I enjoy the diversity. I’m largely self-taught with mould making – YouTube is a wonderful thing! The process of creating and casting moulds really keeps me on my toes as it is such a technical way of making ceramics. As a contrast to that, wheel-throwing is like learning an instrument and you have to build up the skill and co-ordination over time. You have to be relaxed and in a little bit of a zen-state for everything to work out on the wheel – the more impatient and stressed you are the worse the results! 

Do you have design philosophies that guide your practice?

I aim for my pieces to go beyond a trend. The shapes are designed to be aesthetically strong and functional. I like the idea of them being used and loved and handed down in the family to the next generation – I think of them as future heirlooms and people can add more pieces to their own collections over time. 

Where do you draw inspiration from?

I’m mostly inspired by the visual arts. Sculpture, graphic design and illustration really float my boat, as well as the modernist design movement generally. The Biennale of Sydney always blows my mind when I visit and I got a little giddy when I visited LACMA last year in Los Angeles. If I had my time again I would love to have studied fine arts. My favorites at the moment are the sculptural work of Emily Floyd and the illustrations of Nigel Peake. As predictable as it is, I am also in awe whenever I see work from Del Katherine Barton.  

Can you name another maker that you admire, whose craft might be different to your own, but you find their work or methods inspiring?

I have always admired the work and working methods of jeweller and sculptor Kim Russell. She used to work from a studio space at Elm Place and her intuitive and highly creative way of working was always an inspiration to me. It is almost the complete opposite of my creative process, but I always aim to put a little bit of her free spirit energy into how I work, even if it is just a small sprinkle. 

Find Brooke on Facebook, Instagram, her website, and the Guild shop

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Maker of the Month - Chela Edmunds from Takeawei

For our very first Maker of the Month, we'd like to introduce you to one of our founding ladies! Chela Edmunds is the talent behind Melbourne-based ceramics label Takeawei (pronounced take away). Her works meld organic shapes (and the occasional sculptured boob) with earthy textures and splashes of colour to form fun, functional, hand-crafted pieces.

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

I come from a very creative and caring family who have always encouraged my artistic endeavours. I feel very lucky to have that support. I was born on the Sunshine Coast; my parents had a little house that they built at Chenreizig Institute, a Buddhist centre west of Noosa. We were in the middle of the bush, with no electricity and collected water from the dam. My sisters and I grew up very free range, exploring and making things from found objects – billy carts, treehouses, bows and arrows. I think this instilled in me resourcefulness, an appreciation for being creative with what you have.

I have lived up and down the east coast of Australia – city and country; I love both. After working as a textile designer in New York City for a few years, I moved back to Melbourne. I'm just about to move from Brunswick East to Torquay. I will still have my main ceramics studio in North Melbourne but get to spend more time in the ocean!

I studied textile design at RMIT, worked in that field for a few years and then picked up ceramics as a hobby and fell in love. All training aside, I think being an artist is in the way you see and appreciate the small things, and then practice, practice, practice ... whatever craft it is you choose to express those ideas.  

When and how did you first get started in ceramics? 

I made my mum an incense holder when I was at school. My adult career started about 2012 when I took up night classes at Choplet in New York. It was a way to unwind from working in an office environment. This was around the same time I took up surfing again and I hate to think how different life would be without these two passions. My Instagram has been my visual diary since I started and it's fun to look back and see how my work has evolved. 


Can you describe those early days?

I was tired of sitting at a computer all day and wanted something far from the office. I wanted to create with my hands and get dirty, and just have that feeling of getting back to nature! Clay was so immediate, three-dimensional and allowed me to make functional pieces that I could also decorate using skills I had learned in my textile design work. 

What has the journey been like since those early days?  

Clay is still so exciting to me even after three years of being in the studio nearly every day. I'm inspired by learning new techniques and skills and trying out different equipment to see where it takes my practice. Initially, I started Takeawei on the NEIS program. It allowed me to focus my energy on the creative side of the business, while building it to a point where it could sustain itself financially. It has not been easy, but I would do it all again in a heartbeat. I like the diversity that comes with running my own creative business. I make for wholesale, retail, cafes and restaurants, and still do the occasional textile design for fashion. I am excited to be doing more exhibition work and sharing my skills through teaching Clay Social classes at Guild of Objects. 


Can you give us some insight into your creative process? 

I mainly use high-fired stoneware, thrown on the wheel and finished with hand-building techniques – adding handles, handpainting with glazes and carving into the clay surface to decorate. I like to create useful, decorative wares that can be appreciated as works of art, but are not afraid of the dishwasher. 

My favourite materials are Keane Ceramics clays (they make beautiful clays that are always a great consistency) and a Shino glaze that was gifted to me by a fellow potter (I'm going to be using this in my next collection). I've just returned from NYC with some new tools, including a clay extruder. It makes tubes of clay and I’ll be using it to explore woven clay sculptural forms. 

Where do you draw inspiration from? 

Absolutely everything. Once you start looking you can't stop and it becomes the way you look at everything. I have found inspiration in the ocean, the moon, eggs, boobs, even the colour of my jeans right now (they're a pretty cool blue). 

Can you name another maker that you admire, whose practice might be different to your own, but you find their work or methods inspiring?

I'm biased, I love every designer at Guild of Objects and so many more, but that's why we put this guild together. Currently on my mind are: Jessilla Rogers, her work is a colour explosion that brightens my breakfast table every morning; and Seb Brown, I wear his silver jewellery every day and it makes me feel dressed up and fabulous. 

What are you working on right now? 

I'm teaching 'Clay Social' classes at Guild which has been really fun, most people haven't touched clay before but everyone walks out with a couple of masterpieces at the end of the night. While I was in New York recently I picked up a clay extruder, essentially its a big tube that attaches to the wall and pushes large lumps of clay through small shapes. I'm nerding out and will be using it for many of my new pieces like the 3 piece oil burner.

3-Piece Oil Burner $75 I had a couple of friends requesting some sort of incense burner/ oil burner for a while. I like the high iron speckle with the white glaze. 


 Big Mug in Landscape Glaze $65 I love painting these glazes on freely and seeing how they combine to create miniature landscapes.

Takeawei is currently showing as part of the 1-OK CLUB exhibition at NGV Design Store, running August 6 to September 13, and was recently a finalist in the inaugural Victorian Craft Award.

Find Chela on Facebook, Instagram, her website and the Guild Shop.

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