Q+A with Finders keepers

The lovely ladies at Finders Keepers recently got in touch for a quick q+a about me and my work and posted it to their blog. You can follow this link to find it https://www.thefinderskeepers.com/blog/2020/08/five-questions-with-lousiemstudio/, or read below.

WHO IS BEHIND LOUISEMSTUDIO AND HOW DID IT BEGIN?

I’m Louise and I’m the owner/designer/maker/everything at LouiseM studio. I started making ceramics professionally about 8 years ago and the business began as a place for me to go on my ceramic journey and make the sort of pieces that I wanted in my own home. 

After high school, I decided to go to uni and do a design degree. I didn’t really know exactly what I wanted to get out of it, but I thought the course looked interesting. I’d never done ceramics in a serious way before and took the elective on a whim, then I totally and unexpectedly fell in love. I think I was really fortunate to be going through that course, in the right place and the right time, I had some really wonderful tutors who introduced me to ceramics in ways I’d never considered before, and it opened the way for me to practice as I do today.

WHAT IMPACT HAS 2020 HAD ON YOUR BUSINESS AND HOW HAVE YOU CHANGED DIRECTION? 

The way that I earn a living has always been quite up and down, with unexpected things coming along and changing the flow all the time, but even so this is shaping up to be a very different year for me professionally. 

Previously I’d say most of my cashflow came from hauling myself and my ceramic wares out to markets, alongside teaching ceramics classes through a local community college, so when the pandemic hit us here in Australia I was at first distraught. Then I pulled myself together and was totally ready for this to be an opportunity for me to reset and make more time for new designs. What actually happened was that online sales picked up from all those wonderful people that had seen me at the markets over the years, and a small ongoing commission that I’d been producing for quite a few years took off, leaving me spending more time in the studio, making more than ever before and feeling exceptionally grateful.

WHAT INFLUENCES YOUR WORK AND SPARKS YOUR CREATIVITY?

I’ve never had a problem with my creativity, it’s always flown freely. Inspiration and what drives my work and my process usually comes from experimentation with technique. I’ve developed so many works that started from just playing around in the studio and there are so many more things I’d love to have more time to explore. What’s been really important to me has been having the space to test things out and to make mistakes and follow my interest.

My work has certainly developed over the years, but a big driver behind most pieces that do go through the design and development phase and then on to manufacturing is that I want it to be something so lovely that it’s beyond style. Something that gets loved, appreciated and used, and not put aside in a year because the trend has moved on. As a maker of pieces that have the potential to last thousands of years I’m acutely aware of my responsibility to not just add to the world’s collection of ‘stuff’. Even though I make things according to my own whims and interests, I do have to temper that with what is useful and fit for purpose, and I would say that’s where my design training shines through.

WHAT ARE YOU LOVING AT THE MOMENT AND WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON?

So many things. This has certainly been a good period to practice gratitude for all the good things in life; partner, friends, family, gardening, music, books, tea, eating well. On a personal level I’ve enjoyed making more effort to keep in contact with loved ones, and seeing everyone have a little more time for each other. I have always been an avid reader, I even worked in a bookshop for a number of years. My top picks from the last 6 months would have to be Dark Emu, Sapiens and A Dream About Lightning Bugs.

I have been kept quite busy lately making butter keepers for Pepe Saya Cultured Butter, on top of custom orders for people and replenishing stock levels. When I have the chance to do anything else I have been slowly developing a new range of tablewares, on top of tweaks to existing products.

CAN YOU SHARE YOUR WORK FROM HOME TIPS?

The bulk of my work is not done from home. I am fortunate enough to have my own little studio space not too far from where I live, and going in to get some work done has always been easy. What I do have at home is a little office/photography set-up, and this is probably the aspect of my business that I have the most trouble getting on top of. 

My number one top tip for getting work done at home is to treat it like a job that you go to. You go in, you set yourself up, you get the work done, you don’t get distracted by non-work things, and then when it’s all done or you reach a certain time, you get to stop. It doesn’t always work for me, but it’s been my most effective self-management strategy by far.

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