There are pleasant surprises, too. Happy accidents, when something turns out even better than you imagined, are always a wonderful surprise. The only problem is remembering exactly what you did to produce a specific effect!” Susan laughs.
Drawing inspiration from her home’s surrounding coastline, Susan prefers hand-building techniques such as pinching and working with rolled-out slabs, as free-form touches lend themselves to organic, distinctly handmade shapes. “Compared to using a wheel, it’s a slower, more meditative process,” she says. “But with minimal tools involved, I feel I end up with pieces which are all me.”
Texture and contrast are defining features of Susan’s diverse ceramic range, which is made from gritty stoneware and terracotta clays and finished with various surface treatments. Handcrafted plates, serving bowls and teacups in her ‘Rustic Speckle’ collection pair earthy tones with delicate coloured patterns and glazes. Meanwhile, tapas plates and cups in her ‘Geo Floral’ range are decorated with Japanese tissue transfer and selectively glazed to highlight textural differences between glaze and raw clay.
Susan’s work has broad appeal. Her stalls in Brisbane at the Queensland Gallery of Modern Art market and The Finders Keepers market sell out, while her Etsy store keeps her continually busy with orders streaming in from around the world. She admits the popularity of her pieces is gratifying, and a little overwhelming, but is keen to keep her artisanal business small and manageable. “Every facet of the process has my heart and soul in it, which is something I love and find incredibly satisfying,” says Susan. “It’s all-consuming, yet I wouldn’t want it any other way.”
The only downside, it appears, is that it doesn’t leave much time to produce pieces for her own home. “My husband Richard often eyes off orders and asks why we don’t have any of my tableware for ourselves,” she admits. “I tell him, ‘One day… one day!’”