There is a point, hopefully, in every urban dweller’s life, a life that is perpetually inundated with an unprecedented number of retail choices, at which buying mass-produced schlock and its mind-numbing homogeneity is simply not good enough. Take crockery, for example. A human being – essentially sane, creative, curious and unique - can only notice the same tea cup or coffee mug across the familiar spaces of home, office, school, café, restaurant, friend’s home, parents’ home and/or department store showroom before asking oneself, “Is that all there is?” Fortunately, the answer to that question is a resounding, “NO!” We have Carla Dinnage to thank for that. Thank you, Carla.

Beginning in 1994, Carla studied Fine Art Ceramics at RMIT for 3 years. She then packed her bags and commenced a journey that took her around the world, from New Mexico and Mexico - in North America - to the Middle East and Europe. Not surprisingly, she was greatly inspired and influenced by the indigenous cultures along her unbeaten path. Once Carla returned to Melbourne, she took a major punt to forage forth into the world of small business, starting a simple home studio in which she now designs, creates and sells her line of one-of-a-kind ceramics. Acting as sole designer and creator, Carla employs a variety of ceramic techniques, primarily hand building. She utilises a stoneware-earthenware blend of clay, culminating in a decorative process dominated by hand painting with underglazes. The kiln-ready pieces are then glaze-fired to 1200 degrees. What do these ceramic pieces of art look like? They may surprise you.

Think hand-rolled decorative wall-hanging crosses, cows’ skulls, bowls and hamsa – a Middle Eastern/North African palm-shaped amulet that is commonly used in jewellery and other home and public décor. Specifically, perusing Carla’s range of one-off creations will open your eyes to a Black and Gold Cow Skull, a Pink and Gold Cow Skull, a Pink Love Cross, a Pink Mermaid Cross, a pink jug with gold luster, a Palm Tile and a large Love Bowl, to name but a few. Furthermore, each and every piece is individual and hand-painted to enhance its own inherent qualities. In other words, each piece is unique. In more other words, the chance of gleaning any one of these creations on the mantelpiece above Grandma’s and Grandpa’s hearth…is slim, to say the least.

Amazingly, a simple fascination with and passion for clay and art have driven Carla Dinnage to become a much-respected and sought-after ceramicist. Both rustic and refined, her pieces reflect her journey – as a student, an artist, a traveller, a citizen and a free spirit. She is an Australian at heart who embodies the strength of the global community, an artist who seeks to pay homage to the world and its myriad of beautiful influences while making available ceramics as a form of affordable art – jaw-droppingly affordable, to be precise. Pay Carla a visit online and realise what it means to choose the path less travelled:

Ceramics as a form of affordable art

There’s a global story behind each of her home-grown Australian wares

Lifestyle & Design

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