Sweet & Girly Ceramics
by Mindy Cook
Louise Simonette makes porcelain jewellery and other pretty things from her home studio in Perth. Some of these ‘other pretty things’ include brooches, pendants, earrings, rings and window hangers. She also dabbles with cast bowls, wind chimes, little house ornaments and her favourite – the vintage milk bottle (the type given to school children every morning back in the 1950’s) made from a real bottle found at her Nanna’s house.
Her love affair with clay was founded back in high school art class, however family pressure led her into a science degree! It wasn’t until she became a mum of two beautiful children that she felt the familiar creative itch, desperate to be scratched.
Louise recalls, “I found my way to a local glass group where I learnt to leadlight and fuse glass. Ceramics was always calling but with two kids I couldn’t give it the attention it required. Eventually time permitted me to commit myself to the clay. I did many short courses with artists but I’m mostly self-taught.”
“I am quite an avid market stall owner but over the last year I realised I also had to enter the computer age and this changed the way I work. I now have to find time to sit down at the computer and see to that side of my business. In the past, I could devote full days purely to creating and making.”
Louise hopes one day she will find herself sculpting large pieces but at the moment she enjoys making smaller things. She explains, “I use slab technique and cast moulds which I make myself. I decorate them with mostly floral decals and tissue transfers, with a little bit of gold lustre for bling! I like to leave texture exposed and natural. It holds light in a way that no glaze can. My designs are not necessarily perfect, but more sweet and girly”.
Louise converted her old garage into her home studio. “Our dogs keep me company when I work and I can keep track of our busy family life whilst staying close to the clay.” She is the proud owner of two kilns, with another larger one in the pipeline, and a Slabroller – an essential tool which she uses a lot to take the physical strain out of rolling the clay by hand. “But I am most proud of the creeper which grows outside the entrance of my studio. I am not much of a gardener so the fact that it has actually grown is very exciting for me! And as soon as the lemon tree shoots up it will complete my outlook.”
Louise’s goodies are stocked in Kindrawares, Marrar NSW; Gingerspice in Qld; Bower Cafe, Taree NSW; Webbs Gallery, NSW and Lumeah Gallery in Adventure Bay, Tasmania.