Mud Dept: local handcrafted ceramics celebrating slow life

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Lea Durie has been involved in a long love affair with ceramics, drawn to the intimacy, connection to the earth and storytelling abilities of this ancient craft.

Léa recently launched her online business, mud department, and expanded her studio into a permanent location in Braidwood, where she creates breathtaking vessels. Fostering a love of the “slow life”, his work is a refreshing change of pace.

Lea has always had a natural affinity for creating and crafting with her hands. Intoxicated by the process of transformation, her first introduction to ceramics dates back to her childhood, where a little turtle cultivated a great love.

“I’ve always been a maker, but I had that experience as a kid, and we moved to Melbourne for a short time, and the school I went to had a ceramics workshop.

“And I have to do this little turtle, and she was fired and came back. And it was just amazing, and I fell in love with clay. And that’s something I’ve always wanted to go back to,” she said.

It’s a passion that has continued to darken her life, as she remains captivated by the tactile nature, fluidity and mutability of clay. Now owner of a thriving business, Mud Dept. is intimately Lea.

With delicate folds and an earth-bound color palette, his breathtaking vessels tell a story of place and nature, a longstanding motif in his pieces.

“I’ve always been drawn to good modernist design and clean lines, but I also like to bring that earthy quality and twist it so it retains heat and creates an invitation to use.”

“But I’m also interested in exploring how we use land and how we and the impact that land use might have on the environment, so it’s really trying to tell that story. And so, in making my pieces, I really try to make them out of the ground using a lot of texture in the process.

As you scroll through her website, this beautiful tale comes to life effortlessly in black and mist-striped pots, lichen forest bowls, delicately crafted mugs and richly layered vases ready to hold native flowers. wild.

She is not afraid to experiment with dimension, texture and subtle (but perfectly adapted) colors brought to light by the alchemy of natural materials. And while Lea is undeniably a master of her craft, she always strives to enhance her creative touch and play with design elements from around the world.

“I find inspiration by perfecting my art and honing my skills, and just working to improve myself and creating works that I can be truly proud of.

“I get a lot of inspiration from other manufacturers and other designers, and different styles in different places, like I love Scandinavian design. And I think that influences a lot of my work. But I also love very much the Japanese approach.

You can’t help but be captivated by Lea’s fascinating storytelling ability. Each vase is an invitation to pause, reflect and breathe deeply.

“I want to bring together a story of place and this story of creating things that come from a place. Create a moment of slowing down, becoming aware, and living a more intentional life.

As Lea reflects on her long love affair with ceramics, she is excited to begin bringing people into her world. On October 1 and 2, she has an open studio, something she hopes to continue in the future.

And while Mud Dept. continues to grow and expand, Lea is excited to reach a wider audience, with the hope that one day she too can ignite the burning flame that is this magical craft.

“Teaching is something that interests me and I plan to do some workshops. I love to learn and am always doing workshops myself and learning new things. And I think once people get their hands on clay, they’ll love it. I would like to be the person who allows this addiction,” says Lea.

There may be a little turtle that lives in all of us.

The essential

What: Mud Dept. Handmade ceramics
When: Lea’s open studio, 10-4 Saturday and Sunday October 1, 2
Where: 63 Monkittee Street Braidwood

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