For a young Kim Haughie, her sandpit was the ‘magical place of ephemeral creation’ that started it all.
The potter admits that playing under a big old apple tree in the sand isn’t really that far removed from her days now spent making pots! “I am always happiest in the act of making,” she tells. “The inquiry of an idea into form is so very immediate with clay; it is a very direct, sensory dialogue.”
Having studied a Diploma of Ceramics at Ballarat’s Federation University, much of this ceramicist’s present work is inspired by the distinctive environment and seasons of her hometown. Her work is very much an embodiment of the region, bringing the “outside world in” and reflecting the natural essence of Ballarat and surrounds.
“My home studio is a beautiful intimate space to create in, with its large eastern window frontage looking out to the adjoining bushland,” describes Kim. Collections of gum leaves, feathers, rocks, and seasonal blooms adorn the space, which is located in Springmount, just 20 minutes outside of Ballarat. “I have complete access to so many environments here: forests, big open landscapes of the area and magnificent skies, through which huge flocks of black cockatoos often fly – I always stop my work and rush out to see them.”
“I have complete access to so many environments here: forests, big open landscapes of the area and magnificent skies, through which huge flocks of black cockatoos often fly – I always stop my work and rush out to see them” – Kim Haughie, Kim Haughie Ceramics
With Ballarat known for its rich goldrush history and earthly treasures, it’s clear as to why Kim’s creations are equally pronounced with an “earthy flavour” – championing the natural, organic nature of raw clay blends, from the coarse and stoney to those flecked with river rock and quarts. The potter’s pieces also find their individual flare through her etching technique, whereby oxides are rubbed into the marks. “It’s messy and time intensive, but I love the result,” she says. This sentiment is echoed by the many locals that purchase her pieces, and contemporaries that are drawn to her practice. The key to it all, according to Kim? “Touch the void, charter the unknown, and lead with your instinct!”