Sunday, 19 May 2013

profile - kim wallace ceramicist.

ceramic artist and Udessi founder kim wallace
It seems I'm in awe of everyone I profile on this blog, but it's just my good fortune that I get to meet and interview so many inspiring, creative people. Kim Wallace is one such lovely lady who I met earlier this year while writing a piece for the April issue of Country Style magazine. Working from her studio nestled amongst the trees in the Sunshine Coast hinterland, Kim creates the most beautiful lace embossed ceramic pieces and also runs her online gallery/homewares store Udessi which supports and showcases an array of work by Australian creatives. For Kim who grew up in Holland, a back backing holiday to Australia more than a decade ago was a life changing experience, as not only did she meet and fall in love with her husband, she was also seduced by the beauty of the Australian landscape and the work of local artisans and knew she'd found a new home. We're very happy she decided to stay! Do yourself a favour and devote some time browsing through Kim's beautiful website.

How would you describe yourself?
Passionate, creative, mum, determined, compassionate.

What led you down your current path?

My professional background is in graphic design (which I love) however after nearly ten years in the industry, working almost exclusively via computer, I found myself missing the process of creating something by hand. As a result and with the support of my husband, I made the decision in 2008 to leave my job as senior designer at a boutique design studio and before long found myself elbow-deep in mud and happier than ever. I haven’t looked back since!

What do you love most about what you do?
I love being able to create beautiful and functional objects that people (hopefully) cherish for years to come. There’s something very special about handmade that no mass-produced item can ever replace. A lot of love goes into each piece and customers that buy my work really see and appreciate this. It’s a lovely feeling to create a beautiful object by hand from what’s essentially a big bag of mud to start with!

But what I love most is that it allows me to spend time with my family whilst being able to step away from being a mum at times to be creative and run my business. A perfect life balance in my opinion!

Where do you feel most inspired?
My studio and natural surroundings here are forever inspiring to me. Starting of in the corner of my garage at our townhouse in Brisbane, my new studio overlooking the rainforest and Sunshine Coast with the whipbird’s call in the background is quite the change! I love being up there, as I work away many creatures come to visit such as gorgeous black cockatoos and kookaburras. I love breathing the fresh air flowing through both sides of the studio and loving spending time up there means more creative juices flowing as well!

Who do you admire?
Any creatives that are running a successful handmade business ~ or anyone following their dreams and doing what they love for that matter. I find it so inspiring and motivating to hear or read other people’s stories, on how they started and how they made their little businesses work. We all face the same challenges and it is encouraging to know that if others can do it, so can you! All these little handmade businesses are what makes Australia unique and an amazing place to live. How boring would it be if we only had the big chain stores to shop at!

kim's collaborative pieces with illustrator renee treml
What challenges have you had to overcome?
Running your own business from home whilst raising a little one (with another on the way!) is certainly tricky at the best of times. It’s a juggle of time and you find yourself always wanting to have more hours in the day to spend to spend with your family as well as working on your business. I have had to recognize that to grow and move forward, I can’t do it all myself anymore. Not without sacrificing valuable time with my little one, which I am not willing to do as they grow up way too fast as it is already. This lead to the decision to employ a studio person to help with glazing, packing and other studio jobs ~ the best decision yet! It means I am able to fullfil more orders, attend more events such as the big designer markets around Australia and also frees up time for me to focus on new products and collaborations. 

What's been a 'pinch yourself' moment?
When I get a feature in a magazine (such as the recent feature in Australian Country Style) it’s definitely a pinch myself moment. When one of Australia’s top photographers is sent to my humble studio to photograph my studio and my work, I am so grateful that these big publications love and support my work. This kind of support for handmade is what makes our little businesses not only survive in the tough retail environment, but also thrive.

What do you find distinctive about Australian design?

Australian design is very organic to me ~ often inspired by the beautiful and diverse countryside we are so lucky to have.

What are your top creative resources?
I love browsing Instagram and following the work of other creatives, getting sneak peeks in their studios and seeing what they are working on. So many inspiring people on there!
The Design Files is one of my favourite design blogs and great for keeping up to date with the latest trends. I’m addicted to home magazines and of course the ceramics journals!

What is your idea of happiness?

A well-balanced, sustainable life ~ my family is the most important thing to me and I love being able to spend time with them whilst also having time to just be ‘me’ and creating my ceramics. 

What's next?
I’m super excited to be working on amazing collaborations with two Australian illustrative artists. One will be available very soon and incorporates the stunning, detailed work of RenĂ©e Treml featuring the native Hop Hop wren. It’s a gorgeous collection of bowls, mugs, cups & plates and I cannot wait to release them online soon! We’ll also be showcasing these at the upcoming Sydney Finders Keepers markets on the 31st May / 1st June.

kim's collaborative pieces with illustrator renee treml
When the weekend rolls around what do you love to:
Go to the beach, beautiful Noosa river or any of the other gorgeous spots that the Sunshine Coast has to offer with the whole family. A good meal with friends tops it off nicely!

Read – The new Country Style ‘Made with Love’ craft book.
Watch- Grand Designs, fantasising about one day building our dream home.
Cook- A wholefood family meal preferably with homegrown veggies
Create- Arts and crafts with my little girl.
Listen to- Anything that doesn’t involve Elmo!
Dream about- Sustaining this balanced life we managed to build with our growing family!
Look forward to- Our new baby due this October.