The Hibi Farm Pottery Studio has grown out of a larger pursuit of my family and friends to live the good life in Heidelberg West.
After completing a PhD in sociology some years ago, I found fulfilment in using my hands through sculpture: using metal, especially copper, and life sculpture. After flirting with sculpture, I was won over to the simplicity and practicality of pottery, of making objects that people use every day, of my art becoming part of their daily life.
“making objects that people use every day … my art becoming part of their daily life”
This happened one day, having clay and a disused homemade pottery wheel lying around. I decided to attempt to make pottery and, after much trial and error, taught myself this delightful craft. From there, I bought kilns, invested in equipment, converted part of our work shed into a studio space, and began to make functional ceramics such as cups, mugs, bowls, plates, vases, teapots and jugs – just like we had grown and eaten our own fruit and veggies, bread, beer, cheese and preserves.
Now I make pots for a living. I craft custom pieces for restaurants, cafes, gifts and the home. All my pots are made in small batches ranging from one-off items to full sets. Each item is one of a kind. This is not a factory, but rather a craft of love and randomness resulting in pots with character.
“This is not a factory, but rather a craft of love and randomness resulting in pots with character.”
The Hibi Farm is a micro suburban farm: backyard garden beds and a goat and chook yard instead of grass and concrete, and a front yard full of fruit trees instead of ornamentals. We eat a lot from our garden, and we also have our own honey, milk, eggs, yoghurt and cheese. We make beer, bread, chocolate and preserves too. Our farm has won awards for sustainable living and gardening. But this is a non-commercial lifestyle: it is all just a part of living a good life, and any excess produce is shared locally with friends and family. Family and friends have moved to the area, taking down fences, with shared ideas of sustainable living through vegetable gardens, community involvement and, for about half of us, taking turns milking our dairy goats on various days. We call this community ‘the hood’.
“turning meaningful art into a craft business. I’m a backyard artisan.”
The pottery studio is my way of making a living by following similar ethics of local, sustainable, craft production. It is a way of turning meaningful art into a craft business. I’m a backyard artisan.