The first Studio Space for 2017 features RARA Studio, a Melbourne-based ceramic practice. Up until recently RARA Studio was a collaboration between Aliça Bryson-Haynes and Ria Green, but Ria has recently stepped aside to focus on her own art practice. The work features hand-built porcelain functional ware, such as mugs, bowls, plates and spoons, along with decorative and jewellery pieces. Organic forms, pastel colours and geometric patterns are a common theme.
Aliça's studio is a sun-filled room in her home in Melbourne's inner north and she shares her workspace with three adorable studio mates - Jack Russell Teti and cats Claudia and Sybil. Aliça had moved into the house just two weeks before my visit but was all set up, with no unpacked boxes in sight. In fact, the house looked so great I just had to include some pictures of it too.
As a child, Aliça and her family moved around Australia and as an adult she's spent time living overseas, in the UK, France and Indonesia. She's been back in Melbourne for six years, the longest she's spent in one one place.
Aliça's background is in painting and she completed a BA degree with honours in fine art in London, before returning to Melbourne to complete her Masters in Fine Art. She comes from a creative family and has a collection of treasured ceramic pieces created by her mother, grandmother and uncle. Aliça even learnt some ceramic skills from her mother, who practiced pottery when Aliça and her three brothers were children.
RARA STUDIO: Q&A
I know you've recently moved. How long have you been in your current workspace and where did you work from previously? I’ve been in the new place around two weeks but it feels like longer! I’ve been spending a lot of time nesting, which makes it feel like home. I used to live and work in Fairfield, in a cute old Californian bungalow in a north-facing studio out the back of the house. It was actually quite similar in feel to the current studio.
Do you prefer working alone or with/near others? I think my ideal is a bit of both. I really love collaborating and having someone to chat with and bounce ideas off and create things you couldn’t do by yourself. But I also love the freedom and quiet of working alone. Well, I’m never really alone, as the pets love spending time in the studio, keeping me company!
How many hours a week do you spend in your space? At the moment a lot – most days I’m in here working or popping to the post office or to Northcote Pottery to drop off or pick up something. I’ve been working on some custom orders, some new pieces for stockists and thinking about the year ahead.
What's your favourite thing about the space? I love the big north facing windows – the light is so lovely and as they are nice and low, the pets get a great view too! Lots of pink nana roses out the front to look at. I like the floorboards – we took up an old carpet when we moved in and were happy to find the boards in good condition. I’m also pretty excited about the new shelves that my partner helped me build! They are made of hardwood boards that I salvaged from a house that was being renovated in Fairfield and some old bricks leftover from an exhibition last year.
How, if at all, has your workspace (this or previous) influenced the way you work? I think having a workspace at home definitely has an influence on the way that I work or don’t work! I have to be pretty disciplined, so I don’t get distracted and decide to do some gardening or go back to bed, haha. But I really love working from home – it’s very relaxing, convenient and can be very productive. I can work as long as I want to, pop out to make tea or go for a walk with Teti to get some fresh air.
What does your dream space look like? I think my dream space would have a similar feel but be bigger, with heaps of wooden shelving and more plants! You can never have too many shelves or plants.
What inspires your work? There are lots of things that inspire me - nature, historical objects and a wide range of artists - particularly painters. I’ve always loved painting, especially the simplicity of minimalism and the softness and colour pallet of impressionism. A lot of it, especially the making of clay shapes, comes very naturally and I let my hands take the lead.
RARA STUDIO: LINKS
And don't forget to follow Studio Space on Instagram: @studiospace_ #hellostudiospace