in the studio with eloise rankine (elph ceramics)
elph ceramics are made by Sydney-based ceramic artist Eloise Rankine. Working from the elph ceramics studio, which is hidden behind elph store, each piece is unique and handmade on the pottery wheel. Fired to stoneware with a thick white satin glaze, elph ceramics are designed for everyday use.
How do you describe yourself?
I am a ceramic artist, shopkeeper and teacher.
Why/how did you start making pots?
I started making pots in 2011 in the first year of studying a Bachelor of Fine Arts at National Art School in Sydney. I distinctly remember being terrible at hand-building and wheel throwing but became totally enthralled by the process. I loved how ceramics branches between functional and sculptural. This means that I can use clay to investigate conceptual ideas but also to drink coffee!
Describe your process
My process is primarily using the pottery wheel, however, I do some hand-building when making tiny houses! I use a Shimpo whisper quiet wheel to throw use a white stoneware clay. I glaze my pots in a glaze that I mix myself from powders.
What is your favourite pot and why?
My favourite pot is always changing! I have a few special ones made by my friends that I always adore – a baby blue blossom jar made by my friend (and mentor) Joe Purtle, beer glasses by Paige Phillips and a porcelain coffee cup by Holly Macdonald that I usually use for wine! It's so wonderful to be able to use.
What is something surprising about making pots?
The pottery wheel is a lot harder than it looks on Instagram – firstly there are so many more steps than are shown! There's kneading the clay (called wedging), throwing (the forming on the wheel), turning (or trimming – getting rid of the excess clay on the wheel), drying, glazing, firing and polishing. This isn't even to mention reclaiming clay or even how heavy a bag of clay is to lift! Each pot has a lot of work put into it and things can go wrong in every one of the steps.
Visit our elph ceramics studio and have a go yourself on either of our open studios. Find out more and book in here.