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MUD Report | Melanie Sharpham's Studio Visit

Updated: May 29

By Lynn Carlin

On a lovely autumn April afternoon eleven keen participants and three MUD committee members attended Melanie Sharpham's studio in Kensington for our regular MUD (make understand and demonstrate) events.

Mel’s ceramic journey began in Nelson NZ whilst on holiday when she attended a throwing demonstration. Immediately upon returning home she enrolled in a throwing class run by Bev Gallop. Bev's instruction in throwing and hand building methods are still an inspiration to Melanie today. Other ceramic artists, who inspired her are Jocelyn Gregson, design and drawing lecturer, Bela Kotai, third year TAFE lecturer, and Angela Mellor, her slip casting mentor. 

 

Although initially not inspired with slip casting Mel recognised the method suited the organic shapes she was interested in for homewares and market placement.


Her MUD demonstration and talk covered the business development and naming of Eucalypt Homewares, stemming from a FORM program in the early 2000’s. The work she designed 17 years ago formed the seed of Melanie’s business today. The anniversary of Eucalypt Homewares was on May 4th sharing the star wars day!  



Melanie has developed a successful ceramic art business based mainly on slip casting methods and her unique organic shapes. The decorative transfers and techniques are her own designs of state and national floral emblems, plus recognisable Aussie flora.

 

Melanie’s business started slowly allowing her four children time to grow. A move to Melbourne for family reasons was a steep learning curve, though a huge amount of business knowledge and acumen was acquired. A return to Perth during Covid was a difficult decision that has worked out very well, with business taking off. Downsizing the business footprint has been more successful, allowing more time for her family and teaching, which Melanie loves.  



In the demonstration we covered mold development and making. She shared sources for types of slip being used, and handy hints on sieving using a nylon brush which is much kinder to expensive sieves. She covered the use of recycled slip for coloured casting - everything is recycled! The demonstration included how to drain molds on an angle to avoid a ‘bump’ in the base of a bowl and trimming methods with slightly blunt blades making things easier. Melanie also so very generously gave each of us a small bowl to decorate with one of her unique transfers. Mel fired them for us to take home. Big thanks for the hands-on fun. 

 

Melanie’s relaxed approach to her art and business was inspiring, based on her skill, knowledge and a deep understanding of artistic and practical expertise. Her friendly open style set a lovely atmosphere for us all. We came away learning such a lot, plus had fun, rounded off with delicious nibbles a refreshing drink and a lively chat. And our own little bowl, Wow!

 

Melanie has her first solo exhibition coming up in August which she is very excited about it, little nervous too. Her new love of botanical etchings will be incorporated  in new work in this exhibition. 

THAT’S EXCITING. CAAWA will keep you posted on the final details.

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