We’re back with another Stone Studio Member highlight. One of our favourite things about our Studio is the incredible community of talented, creative, supportive and inspiring potters we get to call family. In honour of our family, we’re shining a spotlight on one of our Hand Building members. Meet Jana
Jana has only been a member of the Miami studio since the beginning of 2023 but her passion, personality and talent made her a member that we couldn’t wait to get the spotlight on. We sat down to discuss Jana’s journey with pottery, Stone Studio and where that journey is headed.
Q: How long have you been a Stone Studio member?
A: From early January this year. I'm still superfresh to Australia, only arriving here in December from Belgium. I actually found out about Stone Studio while I was still living in Belgium, thanks Google! One of the key conditions of moving here was that I could find a cool place where I could continue doing ceramics and well... mission accomplished I would say.
Q: Can you share a little about how you were first introduced to pottery?
A: I think it started 6 years ago, give or take. I was working a lot, experiencing quite a lot of stress and wanted to do something that would clear my mind.
I don't remember exactly how I got into ceramics, but I might have been influenced by my grandfather being a passionate hobby-ceramist & sculptor and seeing his pots and sculptures in our house. I didn't think much of it when I was a child and now I'm completely in awe of them, funny how things can change. So I enrolled in an evening art school, and it actually appeared to be the same one he was enrolled in many years before. I found this out when the teacher saw my last name. Ever since I first touched clay I was completely hooked, a feeling I'm sure he felt too.
Q: Why do you practise the art of pottery? And what does it mean to you?
A: It sure has meant a lot to me in the last six years, on and off in frequency because my job sometimes took over. I would say the last 3 years clay has been on my mind daily and my passion for it has continued to grow and grow. I quit my corporate job in November last year, moved out here, took a part-time job recently and now I'm actually dreaming of finally carving out the time to follow my passion (or obsession) for ceramics. Let's see where it goes this year, it's scary but oh so exciting.
Q: Do you practise Hand Building or Wheel Throwing? + What is your favourite thing to make?
A: I prefer hand building over wheel throwing, though I can really admire the technique of the wheel. I like the blank canvas that ceramics, especially hand building, provides. The possibilities are endless, which can be daunting, but also really fun to experiment with.
I prefer working intuitively with clay, and trying to step away from functional pieces, more towards sculptural creations. I have found that sometimes things can look good in my head, but if I start 100% intuitively, that can turn out very different in reality. So I'm going to push myself this year to find a balance between go-with-the-flow and having an end result in mind, planning more in advance in regards to form, how I plan to get there, the clay I will work with, the glaze or even the engobe I want to use, etc.
Q: How has pottery impacted you life and your self-confidence?
A: It has been a bit of a rollercoaster... It's a great feeling to find something I'm so passionate about. In a way, pottery gives me purpose and I'm really sure that this passion is for life.
On the other hand, I do believe that ceramics is a difficult art and progress is at times very slow. Many things can turn out quite different to what you plan as there are a lot of variables impacting the end result. 'Failures' are common and sometimes can be hard to deal with. I also noticed that making a piece is a very personal process. You put a lot of yourself in it. When you make a presentation for work and you get some feedback on it, that doesn't affect as much as when you put a piece you just worked on, originating from your own imagination, out there on the table for yourself and possibly for others to see. I find it difficult to form an opinion on my own work (or even talking about it as 'work' or 'sculpture') and I think when people give feedback on it, it can touch you more profoundly because it is so personal.
Q: What is your favourite thing about Stone Studio and being a member with us?
A: I'm still quite new, but I do already like the vibe here - very welcoming, very easy-going, healthy balance of doing your own thing but also having a cosy chat on the lovely Monday members-evenings. Plus the space, wow, such a lovely space and great natural light.
Q: Where can we go to see your work?
A: That's gonna be one of the challenges of 2023: having the guts/confidence to put some of my work out there, even if it's far from 'perfect'. I've done it here and there in an IG story over the last years on my personal IG account, but this year I'm going to make a public one, even if it only has 1 piece on it. 2023 is the year!