To celebrate Melbourne Design Week, we are proud to showcase the work of local ceramicist and lighting designer Claire Lehmann with a stunning window display at our ELK Little Collins store.
We delved into the mind of this inspiring creative to learn about her journey as an artist, inspirations and favourite ELK pieces.
Your background is in Art History and Multimedia, can you tell us about your journey from this medium to ceramic art and industrial design?
I've made things since I was little, my Dad and Grandpa both had amazing sheds and my Grandpa used to make wood sculptures, so as a kid I used to spend hours making and inventing.
Whilst studying art history, I realised that I wanted to make art instead of writing about it, so I branched out again. After much learning, I now work as a graphic artist in advertising, so I have always been around creativity but now I’m glad that I’ve found a medium that I connect with - one that offers endless problem solving, experimentation and learning.
It’s been a full circle back to art and I’m glad I did it this way. I think I’ve picked up some tips from all the other things I’ve done.
Where do you draw inspiration from in your hometown of Melbourne?
I love Melbourne and have always loved the art scene. It's hard to not be inspired by so many friends making beautiful work across many mediums; design, metalwork, architecture, jewellery and of course, ceramics.
I’m lucky to know people to call upon if I need help in any material, and it’s inspirational to be able to look at so much good work outside of your realm.
As an artist, what are three things you cannot live without?
An art studio – I have a pretty big space in North Melbourne where I can experiment and make large scale works at all hours of the day.
A kiln – after 7 or so years of making ceramics I finally got in a kiln. I realised you need to invest in yourself and I’m glad I did.
Time – It’s hard to make time for your work and yourself, sometimes when you’ve made time for creative pursuits you then need to then step back from that and have a think. As an artist, you have to have a bit of nerve when experiments go pear-shaped and you have to remember that things take time.
What is your favourite piece from the ELK KIN collection?
I have to say the Tabletti Earrings, I love circular looping shapes so love their design aesthetic, they remind me of some of the shapes of my work.
Why is it important for you to collaborate with like-minded local businesses and brands?
It’s so important, I’ve always felt supported by other small businesses and some of the smallest businesses have always been buyers of my work. It’s great to feel encouragement and work with other peoples’ commissions and designs.
Your creations are crafted from fragile, translucent bone china and porcelain. Tell us about the creation you are doing for Melbourne Design Week at our ELK Little Collins Street Store?
For the ELK Little Collins shop window, I’ve made a light comprised of two separate shapes made of bone china, the shapes are a similar length, one is black and opaque, one is translucent and light. The shapes hang together, and one casts light onto the other, which absorbs it, the aim is as always, to explore the interplay of shape and light.
I love Bone China because of all the porcelains it emits the cleanest light, it is quite hard to work with because it has very low plasticity. Having said that, I love how it is so delicate and fine but once fired is the strongest of porcelains.
Claire Lehmann's ELK window installation as part of Melbourne Design Week will be on show from Thursday 14th April until Sunday 24th of March 2019.
Our opening hours for the Little Collins shop are as follows:
Monday to Thursday 10 am – 6 pm
Friday 10 am – 7 pm
Saturday 10 am – 5 pm
Sunday 11 am – 4 pm
We look forward to seeing you in store to see this stunning art installation bring our retail space to life.
To discover more of Claire Lehmann's work, click here.