The hum of the wheel and the cool scent of clay is what strikes you first when you walk through the ceramic studio doors. As I wait, ceramicist Anna Kaineder remains focused on finishing the bowl cupped in her hands as, she says, if you lose concentration it tends to be harder to create the ideal form.
As she finishes she looks to the student sitting beside her. The sentiment is echoed as they look unhappily at their newest creation. With a mixture of grace and earthiness, her gentle guiding seems to soothe their nerves as they begin to restart the wheel slowly allowing their wiggly clay to emerge as a pot. Itâ€™s a wobbly start, but as she reminds them not everything on the wheel will emerge as you like. Itâ€™s all about practice.
When Anna creates itâ€™s an approach that mingles community with solidarity.
Some days she works alongside students, others she does in the quiet of the studio when itâ€™s easier to concentrate. But with a burgeoning business that is beginning to spread, Anna says she enjoys the days working with students and fellow lovers of ceramics as it helps challenge her thought processes on how to create works and approach her practice in ceramics.
â€œIâ€™ve found that because none of the students have had any formal training in ceramics theyâ€™re not hindered by what tradition says does and doesnâ€™t work. So, as the teacher Iâ€™ll say â€˜oh no you really shouldnâ€™t do it like thatâ€™ then the student will say â€˜well Iâ€™m going to do it like that anyway and see how it goesâ€™ and then we find that it does actually work. So for me, working with them in new ways of creating, you get all these endless surprises and possibilities.â€
Exploring the possibilities of clay and using the tools at hand seems to be what Anna does best, and with the class finished for the evening and the tables cleared of tools, clay and paint it seems a long way from what began as a wish and a prayer.
A love affair beginning in 2008, Anna says the discovery was one of attempting to broaden her horizons and upskillÂ her teaching degree.
â€œI started fine arts at TAFE hoping to change my teaching degree and one of the options in Fine Arts was ceramics and I really, really loved it so I swapped from fine arts to ceramics. When I moved to Coonamble I was reluctant to give up the practice and I managed to grab hold of the Coonamble High School Art teacher Catherine and say â€˜can we start something?â€™ and it gathered momentum from there.”
Based in far western NSW, the small town of Coonamble rallied behind the idea of a ceramics group and a future ceramics studio which meant a whole new realm of possibilities for Anna and fellow enthusiasts.
â€œI think it gathered such momentum because everybody said â€˜yes letâ€™s do itâ€™ and then it just seemed to get bigger and bolder.â€
Now teaching up to three classes, the love affair has not waned and the pursuit to create objects of beauty, functionality, and uniquely of poetry, still capture Anna.
â€œI see my practice as a creative pursuit with functional items. I hope that the pieces I make are beautiful and have anÂ artistic quality in them. I like that everyday objects can be really beautiful and gorgeous. This is the concept that Tahra and I are working on. That beauty can be found in functional wear.â€
Working with poet and writer Tahra Baulch, Anna says the creation of their works for their business terralucaÂ stem from the merging of poetry and functionality both in a literal and inspirational sense.
â€œWith terraluca, we have a way of building our body of work through a conversation between the two of us. Her words have a way of helping me create an object in my head. She often sends me words and pieces of poetry and I read them and I think â€˜I know exactly what kind of pot I want to put that on and what series Iâ€™d like to create.â€
With words and a contrasting landscape to inspire her, time living in the country has allowed Anna the time and motivation to further develop her artistic practice.
â€œThe joys of living in the country donâ€™t make it hard for me to be an artist. I love being out here. I love the peace and the simplicity of life. Iâ€™ve loved the community support for me personally and more so for the studio. I couldnâ€™t find that anywhere else. If anything itâ€™s made it easier to start my own business and live and work as an artist. I would never be able to do that in the city.â€
A sentiment echoed by many artists struggling with the price of city living, Anna says the proâ€™s and affordability of living and working in the country both as an artist and as a teacher far outweigh the distance.
â€œItâ€™s hard with the distance factor in reaching beyond Coonamble but that is a little bit alleviated by online and social media. But on the flip side, local businesses and galleries do see more of your work as youâ€™re not competing with a lot of artists for exposure and they learn quickly about you and want to work with you. So in that regard I have a bit more freedom to create a profile in the country than in the city.”
â€œBeing out here has allowed me to really grow as an artist and to grow a small business so I think on a whole itâ€™s a highly positive experience being an artist in the country.â€
As we finish up and dust off the last of the clay she imparts a piece of wisdom for the budding artist in the country, or anywhere for that matter.
â€œJust do it. Enjoy it. Be confident in what youâ€™re making and love what youâ€™re making and donâ€™t feel like you have to make a product to suit other people. So have your idea and have your values and feel confident with that and the rest will follow.â€
To view the terraluca website visitÂ http://terraluca.com