Here at Smudge HQ, we spend an awful lot of time talking about specialty coffee. We normally obsess about what goes in the cup, rather than the cup itself, but Anna Cuttriss’ marbled creations will make your morning brew that bit better.
This busy lady works full time in climate change policy, and also moonlights as a bush firefighter. If you’re lucky enough to be invited for dinner, Anna is also an impressive home cook. Her newfound hobby in ceramics was a natural diversion, as she always had creative interests, but needed something new to feed her artistic side. We sat down with Anna to discuss her practice.
Why did you venture into ceramic making?
I’ve always loved beautiful crockery and functional ceramics and started learning 18 months ago. During my first class, I knew it was something I had to continue; it’s so meditative and really feeds my creative side.
Where is your studio and how often do you manage to get there?
The studio I use is located at Northcote Pottery Supplies. Given that I work full-time, I can only use the studio on Saturdays, so I can only make around 30 pieces each month.
Who taught you your craft?
I completed a six-week wheel-throwing course at Northcote Pottery Supplies under the instruction of Claire Johnson. The kindness and willingness to share knowledge from others in the space has been invaluable to me, as well as a sheer determination to improve and perfect my technique.
What inspires your colour scheme and marbled aesthetic?
Although it may sound cliché, growing up by the ocean in Inverloch has probably been the reason I’m drawn to the classic blues and oceanic tones. Blue and white is such a classic colour palette in ceramics, and marbling is a technique that has been used for many years, particularly in Turkish ceramics. I’m trialling the use of pinks and greys at the moment. These are proving a little more temperamental than blues though!
How long does one piece take to produce?
Each piece takes around five to six weeks to make, so it’s quite a lengthy process. This starts with throwing the wet clay on the wheel, then allowing it to dry before trimming it. After more drying, it’s fired to 1000°C, then sanded and glazed, before going into the final stoneware fire, at around 1300°C. The high firing temperature means that it’s safe for use with food and liquids and will survive the dishwasher and microwave.
Your brand development has been impressive in a short space of time – how do you use social media to market your products?
This has happened relatively organically, mostly through regular posting at similar times of the day and engaging with others on Instagram. It’s about remembering that it’s a person with a story behind the profile, and I love thinking about how to style a post when I take a new piece out of the kiln.
You can find Anna’s ceramics at Ways and Means Café on Little Lonsdale Street or Ingrain Designs on Wellington Street in Collingwood.
Words by Allyse Wafer