Welcome to The Mess Makers Series, where we take an intimate look inside the lives of Aussie creators, inspirers and side hustlers.

Vol.1 Kirsten Perry

Vol.1 Kirsten Perry

Welcome to the first of our Mess Makers Series, where we take an intimate look inside the lives of local artists and artisans.
2020 has been a trying year for all of us but it has also been a year of self reflection, growth and for the lucky few, an opportunity for creativity to flourish.
So why not celebrate and support those who have taken this year and moulded it into an expression of their deepest selves.

Our first Mess Maker is a Melbourne based ceramicist who has transformed her garage into a studio along with her sidekick, Fünf.
Hi Kirsten! This series is called The Mess Makers. What is it that you make?
I make functional and sculptural ceramics, predominately slip cast. My work is highly textural.

You have said that your work exaggerates imperfection, has your work always translated this?
When you are first learning a craft, perfection is the goal. Perfecting skills enables you to make the piece you had in mind. For me, I have never been interested in surfaces or forms that a machine could replicate, as it loses the mark of the maker making it cold and impersonal. I exaggerate some aspect of my handwork to make them crude and imperfect. It connects the viewer to the person making it. 
The viewers somehow understand a real person made this and feel a connection.
How does your home reflect your personality?
I think everyone’s home is an expression of their personality, unless of course you’re too busy to put much time and thought into it. I also think if people had an unlimited budget their homes may look quite different, but I also think a home can be really well decorated on a budget.
I have artwork everywhere in my home, many from local makers and artists. I have my ceramics everywhere as rejects or favourite pieces. Many of it is in high rotation, especially on my sideboard as I get to view works in progress, prototypes or new work. I like to look at a piece for a few days or weeks to see how I really feel about it or consider any changes I would like to make. I’m doing this more and more and taking more time to consider my work than what I previously would. I have mostly vintage furniture with a highlight of natural materials and textures. Wood, leather, sheepskin, cotton, plants and ceramic. 
Tactility is important to me.
How have you traversed 2020? What have you lost, gained and learned?
I’ve been a bit up and down but making the most of my day job hours being cut down to two days a week in the last two months. I’ve used the extra time in the studio but also focusing on my mental health by upping up my exercise, yoga and a daily mediation practice. I feel less stressed about trying to fit in time for ceramics. But like everyone else I miss my family and friends and visiting galleries.

Where do you draw your creativity from and how do you form your ideas into art?
One idea will usually lead to another but to get into a creative flow I need to be in a good head
space. As I mentioned before, it usually involves some exercise, meditation and walks in nature with my dog. Many of my best ideas come when I am not in the studio, like at work where I can quickly sketch an idea down. My inspiration comes from nature and visiting galleries and viewing art online.
What are your favourite pieces in your home?
I love the pieces I have collected from overseas travel as it reminds me of some special memories. The wooden cactus is from an antique store in Lima, Peru by a local artist. I did a ceramic residency in Peru in 2018.
Most years I like to buy a painting by a local painter as a treat to myself from my tax return. Supporting local artists is important to me.

Do you have any upcoming exhibitions or projects?
I have just dropped some work for a group show at Craft Victoria for November. I am also working on some pieces for a new space for Michael Reid Clay in Sydney in December.

What's your favourite thing about Scrub Daddy?
Their softness is great on my ceramic cups plus they remove stains! The old ones are great for cleaning up the mess in my studio too.

And lastly, do you have a favourite recipe you can share with us?
My fav recipe is this canelé one.
I use these pans.
I ordered a lot of Chase’s food from SLOW Food catering during lockdown. 
He is in Melbournes north and does great frozen vege and a lot of gluten free options.
Head over to Kirsten's website to check out all the incredible pieces she has created, and the upcoming exhibitions she will be involved in.
Also jump onto Instagram and give Kirsten a follow @kirstenpp

Stay tuned for our next Mess Maker!


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Don't forget to check out our other Mess Makers features: