Stefanie Ferguson @Niefeceramics
We flag off our series on ceramist and artisans with Stefanie who is a talented hand-builder ceramicist from Sydney, Australia. Her handmade pieces are inspired by microbiology and geological formations of coastal and bush landscapes. Due to this, you will often see a little part of Australian’s landscape and culture in her planters. This influence and also her playful mix of glaze and colour defines a unique style in her planters and ceramics.
In the interview below, we have a chat with her to understand more about her inspirations, designs and of course, not forgetting, her favourite plant.
How did you get started in ceramics? Tell us your story.
I first got into ceramics when I was 16. I took a work placement at a local pottery studio. I went on to study sculpture at University and upon graduating from art school I got a job in the art world and I stopped doing my own art. One day whilst having lunch with a colleague, they told me I should try doing clay again. I decided to enrol into night classes and after a few months I set up my own studio at home and after a year I decided to set up my own brand and ever since then I have been making pieces.
Where do you draw your inspiration from?
I get my inspirations from Australian coral reefs and bushlands.
What would you think best describes the style of your work?
My style is a mixture of cute, illustrative and coastal designs.
What has been your highlight over the last year?
Finding my style evolved over the last year and becoming an Plant Folks artist were big highlights as well as pursuing sculptural pieces that have been well-received really made the year shine for me.
What is your process of creating one of your planters? What is the most difficult part?
I use ‘pinch and slab’ methods. It requires making a slab and once it’s hard enough, I cut and make the forms. The hardest part is the joining of the pieces and keeping the form so that it doesn’t leak.
Which materials fascinate you the most?
The Raku process is an area of ceramics which I find so interesting.
(Raku generally refers to a type of low-firing process that was inspired by traditional Japanese raku firing.)
Bottlebrushes plant pictures courtesy of wiki.
What is your favourite plant?
Tell us about the planter you will like to create for it?
In my garden, I love our jellybean succulents but in my local park, I love seeing the Bottlebrushes, they attract so much wildlife. I would love to create coral planters for the succulents and play, it could be an interesting mixture of forms.
Which planter from your collections is your personal favourite ?
My favourite planter was for my first Etsy sale. The shape was tall and narrow and the glaze came out beautiful.
What does quality mean to you?
To me, quality means craftsmanship and a piece that will stand the test of time.
Tell us about a Plant Folk.
I love learning about the plants on Plant Folks so I regard myself as one but I would say my husband is a Plant Folk in a way, he has over 110 plants and volunteers as a gardener in our community. He constantly looks out for Monsteras and is studying their names.
Some of Stefanie’s gems featured here in our gallery.
Ceramic planters featured here are available on our web shop.