Emma Lang - Olive Ceramics

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When did you first decide to make art a focus in your life? 

When I got back from living overseas I really struggled with  trying to get back into a normal life, i.e working, renting..  the normal day to day stuff. I really needed an outlet. I had been  following a fellow ceramic artist on Instagram and thought, that  looks amazing, I want to give it a go. That was almost 4 years ago  now! It took me about 3 years before I thought my work was at a quality where I could actually sell it!

You got married last year - Congratulations!!! You just had your son, Leo, only 8 weeks ago. How do you think these life changes will impact your work? Maybe new inspiration? 

Thank you, very exciting times! Motherhood was definitely a life changing moment for me. Harder in so many ways then I had anticipated but so much more rewarding in so many other ways!  I’m not too sure at this stage what I will draw inspiration from, my  little man takes up most of my time. I definitely can’t wait to get  back into the studio.

Tell us about the style of ceramics you do and where did the name Olive Ceramics come from? 

My style has changed a bit over the years, but I mainly sell functional tableware. A lot of my tableware is slab rolled and put into a mould, where as my mugs and tumblers are wheel thrown. I have been so lucky to have a wonderful teacher in the past year who is an amazing thrower and has taught me so much! I’m really enjoying throwing larger amounts of clay and making vases and larger vessels. 

The name "Olive ceramics" came about because I love the name Olive. If I had a daughter I always wanted her name to be Olive.  Now I think I would have to reconsider that If I was to have a girl! 

You have lived on Tamborine Mountain since early childhood,  how do you think that has contributed to your creative side? 

I love Tamborine so much. It’s such a magical place. I feel so lucky to have grown up here! There are so many wonderful creative people  up here to draw inspiration from. My first job was "Marks and Gardner Gallery" a beautiful space where they would showcase amazing artists, whilst stocking the most beautiful books. I definitely think living up here has been a huge creative inspiration for me. 

We are so lucky to have so many beautiful organic growers on Tamborine, I thoroughly enjoy going to the green shed, getting  an abundance of organic fruit and veg, coming home and cooking  up a big vegetarian storm! I like to have quite neutral coloured tableware ­— off whites and speckled mattes are my favourite! If I  had big colourful plates I think it would take away the beauty of  the beautiful homegrown produce!

You are 24, and have also done some modelling is that right? Are  you interested in this still or have you changed your focus a little. 

I love the creative freedom modelling can give. I also just love  playing dress up and getting my make up and hair done! 

It’s not something I would persue on a professional scale however,  I found it to be highly competitive but sometimes a little negative.  My focus has definitely shifted since wanting to start a family, and  I am so enjoying this new chapter. 

Well, we are glad you found  ceramics. Is there anyone else creative in your family? 

My beautiful mum was a leadlight artist and created the most beautiful pieces in the home we grew up in. She no longer practises but I can  still appreciate what she did. 

What are you dreams and aspirations for Olive Ceramics? 

For Anthony and I, we would love to buy a big block of land in the Northern Rivers, set ourselves up a and be totally self-sufficient. I would love to run my own pottery workshops. Even just a space where other creatives can come and enjoy the space, not narrowing it down to  just potters. Anyone looking for  a place to just create. 

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What do you think it is about ceramics and potting that  people love? 

It’s just so organic and fun! It dosen’t really matter what you make because its always going to be beautiful! From the beginning you can create really anything you want from hand building. Then, if you want to delve a little deeper you can jump on the wheel and learn that (it’s taken me four years to finally feel comfortable). It definitely requires a lot patience and a lot of recycled clay! 

Is there anywhere you know of that people can learn to do this? Is this something you would want to help others explore? 

Yes! I’ve already summoned my husband (who’s also a builder) to build me my own studio, big  enough to hold workshops! 

There are studios on the Gold Coast, which are fully equipped with everything you need to learn the art of ceramics, with wonderful teachers to help along the way! 

I hear that your husband and you are building a tiny house in Bangalow. How exciting! Will you be running an account on Instagram for this so people can follow your progress?

I am going to attach a blog piece to my current ceramic website where people can read all about living a sustainable lifestyle, as well as what it like to have a family and be living in a tiny home. The pros and cons of living totally "off-grid". We won’t be connected to mains power at all, so it should be a very exciting learning curve for all of us. 

I like to have quite  neutral coloured  tableware ­— off whites  and speckled mattes are my favourite! If I had big colourful plates I think it would take away the  beauty of the beautiful homegrown produce!

If people wish to purchase your ceramics can they pre-order pieces or do you just make as you go?

Ceramics are a hard one for  people to pre-order, the nature  of ceramics are very delicate and  often I can make ten dinner plates and only five make it through the  kiln process. 

I generally make a whole lot of  pieces up, get my dear friend Sabine (@_housefrau) to photograph them, put them on my Instagram with a shop update date then go from there! I won’t have another update until early next year as I would like  to get a nice stock pile together before then.

Olive Ceramics Instagram @oliveceramics_ www.oliveceramics.bigcartel.com