Words, photos and podcast production by Jenni Mazaraki
Linda is a ceramic artist working in her studio in the north east of Melbourne. She describes the importance of having her own creative space and making the time to work on her artwork.
There is a sense of calm in Linda Detoma’s Claydreamers studio in Eltham. With wall to wall shelves filled with ceramic artworks, the organised studio is colourful and cosy. The room is divided in half by the long central table which fills up with activity during her weekly classes for adults and children. Glazes in large plastic buckets sit hidden under the table, waiting to adorn bisqued clay objects before final firing in the kiln.
Linda describes the process of working on the potter’s wheel as calming. Linda said,
“It’s funny, it does centre me, makes me calmer, gives me more patience for everything and everyone around me.”
Starting her ceramics practice by setting up a wheel in the downstairs section of her house, Linda soon realised the limitations of working in a space that was not specifically designed or well suited to a dusty, messy art practice. Her current studio was slowly built using recycled timbers and sits at the back of her house at the end of a winding gravel path.
“Good to have your own space, really important,” said Linda.
Having her own creative space allows Linda to create her own artworks but also to run classes. Describing the calming effect that working with clay has on people who attend her classes, Linda likens the effect to mindfulness practice. Linda said,
“People say nothing else goes through their mind when they’re working with the clay.”
The treed environment contributes to this sense of calm. The parents of children who attend her classes have told her how quiet and calm the children are afterwards. “I say well it’s not really me, it’s the clay, but really the clay settles people,” Linda said.
Linda loves teaching and sharing her skills with others. She said that she has just the right balance between teaching and dedicating her time to her own work, always making time for her art practice.
Linda’s studio has evolved over the years to become the inviting space that welcomes students of all ages and skill levels. Linda’s approach is flexible. She is able to meet the skills of her students wherever they may be. In one moment she will be demonstrating how to trim a wheel thrown pot to one student, and in the next moment, she will be helping another student to learn the basics of hand building a hollow object.
Starting her ceramics practice when her children were very young, Linda took every opportunity to create her wheel thrown objects whenever her children napped. Linda said,
“I think that was my sanity…it was my time.”
25 years later, Linda exhibits her work locally and nationally as well as running classes and organising group tours to see ceramics in Japan.
The times when Linda has been unable to have the time to create her artwork have frustrated her, knowing that she feels much better when she is able to create. Despite some occasional frustrations, the process of creating an artwork from concept to final completion brings Linda a great sense of joy and satisfaction, “It can be massive failure or feel like Christmas.”
For further information please contact Claydreamers on 9439 8057. http://www.claydreamers.com.au