Posted on July 3, 2015
She’s the mother of an incredibly beautiful and tactile handmade dinnerware range, the aptly termed “Functionality” collection. She rules with a firm but fair hand and affectionately bestows her creations with names such as the Sir Mix-a-lot bowl, the Plattertastic and the Lady Baker. It was with equal parts of excitement and awe that we joined Patricia Fernandes in her home studio for a workshop with a bang. (And when I mean a bang, I mean a bloody good meal. Oh and heaps of belly laughs.)
Patricia’s work brings together a distinctly modern aesthetic of strong simple shapes with an ingenious way of using antique Indian printing blocks. Clean smooth ceramic meets its unexpected match with patterns that once graced rich saris.
Determined not to be just pretty faces, the hardworking pieces are also ovenproof and nonstick meaning that they go from kitchen to dining table without even breaking a sweat. Now that’s my kinda dinner party.
I love to cook. So the “Functionality” range was really born out of a selfish love project! I wanted to create high quality handmade products that looked damn pretty whilst also being able to withstand the rigours of everyday use. I want every meal to be a special experience whether you’re eating by yourself or having a meal with loved ones. Often you don’t realise that a special moment is occurring until it’s passed and for that reason I want to make every meal occasion special.
How have you seen your business growing over the last few years and where do you see it going in the future?
The label has been growing quite organically over the last couple of years. I’m heartened to see so many people recognising the beauty of and converting back to handmade tableware and using my wares to create their very own food memories. As for where I see it going in the future, well a girl can plan but it all depends on the Fates right?
How long does it take to make a piece from your Functionality range like the Punch Drunk Pitcher? Talk us through the process.
Working with clay makes you learn a lot about patience and even more about yourself. It’s hard to put an exact time on how long it takes to make a ceramic piece – it depends on the season, the ambient temperature, as well how intricate the piece is. The Punch Drunk Pitchers are really involved! First the body and handle have to be cast separately and then attached ever so carefully. They then have to be babied and showered with TLC over the next couple of days as I watch for any cracks that form before finally firing them. It’s a labour of love!
Introduce us to your new kiln, you’ve just recently had an addition to the family! And what a catch he is!
Pedro, my new hunk-a-hunk-a-burning-love, has joined the family and couldn’t have arrived a moment sooner. He’s a dreamboat really -you know, the strong silent type who always accommodates your every whim, a complete pleasure to work with. The only thing that’d make him more perfect is if he gave back massages…Anywaaaay…He complements my first little kiln so well. Though quite tiny, this old faithful kiln is not to be trifled with! She works hard and will fit in quite a few pieces if you know how to treat her right.
What other workshops do you have in store?
My goodness, I love running the workshops! I get a huge kick out of sharing my knowledge and skills with other makers and budding enthusiasts. Coming up this year I have an assortment of workshops available in two and four hour formats where you get to work with clay and create beautiful pieces of your own to take home (after you leave them with me for a few weeks while they get fired and glazed). These have been designed to cater for a variety of people, whether you’re a time-poor professional who wants to stretch your creative wings or someone who wants to have a more languorous “Treat Yourself” kind of day. I get people who have never touched clay in their lives except for that time in Year 4 to a number of repeat offenders who just keep coming back for more. Oh and did I mention I looooove to cook? I guarantee you will get fed, and fed well! For more details, do hop on over to my website!
Your workshops are so unique in that they always include a time to “break bread” and eat together. Do you always feed your students?
My workshops are so much more than an impartation of skills, I see them as a way of nourishing your soul and connecting back to oneself. Clay is so tactile and just has a way of doing that when you really get into it. Nourishing the body and sharing a meal together is a delightful added bonus, and all of my meals are made with the utmost of love and consideration. I absolutely love researching yummy recipes and cooking for others (I’ll admit it, I’m a feeder!). So yes, it’s only natural that there’s always an element of food involved in my workshops! Mealtimes are such catalysts for connecting and coming together, I’ve observed people starting the day off as strangers and ending the day having found and made a new friend. Some people even end up signing up for more workshops together!
Describe the perfect day.
I’m not sure I want to define the perfect day for me. I’m trying to live in the moment as I’m a subjunctive type of person, so I’ll describe what would be a perfect hour for me right now: Going for a walk with Rumpei, my beloved Sharpei, to a place we’ve never been before either by ourselves or in the company of a loved one. It’s the simple things that make me happy.
Being a professed workshop junkie, I can honestly and wholeheartedly say that Patricia’s workshop is one of the best workshops I have ever been to. Her love for clay and her even greater love for people is simply contagious. The atmosphere is so relaxed and there are so many moments spent conversing over food or whilst creating that by the end of the day you really feel like you’ve had a great day out with friends.
There are a range of clay workshops to choose from to suit your timeframe and you can make a variety of useful creations from cheeseboards to small hanging planters. Do check them out, sign yourself up, and get Patricia to make you the potatoes. (Refer to photos above to commence drooling)
Posted on June 29, 2015
Posted on June 25, 2015
The last long weekend here in Perth called for a quick dose of red dirt and eucalyptus, and a moment of much needed self care. Time to shut that laptop and forget about the mountain of work emails, and just enjoy the zamia palms swish past my legs and watch the sunset tint the smoke-filled sky wondrous colours.
And better than that, time to spend with friends who think it’s a great idea to follow a sign that says “Goat Walk” and proceed to practically rock climb up the side of a hill, friends who agree that appropriate hiking food consists of chocolate and coffee, and friends who accept you as a complete package and help you remember that you’re kinda alright.
Thanks guys. I think you’re kinda alright too.
Posted on June 22, 2015
A beauty in person and a beauty at heart, what a pleasure it was to finally sit down and share toasties and tales with Penny, illustrator, animator and visual storyteller. What started as a yarn about travels and dream projects with a detour into daring stories about midnight crimes, finally descended into a lengthy discussion of the human condition and the pursuit of happiness. Light topics indeed. But so great to find an instant soulmate unafraid to share, explore and go deep.
This probably explains the inexplicable draw of Penny’s work – she’s not afraid to open her heart. Seemingly simple to behold at first, I find each illustration or animation beguiling in its ability to make you identify with the emotion it conveys, be it innocence, insecurity, connectedness, hopefulness or even simple revelry in home life bliss. Penny works and reworks each picture until each tilt of the head and the slightest hunch of the back is just right.
Between our conversational sojourns into philosophy and existentialism, we got to find out the gritty truth behind Penny Likes Paper…
A lot of your pictures depict children and wistful characters. Is there a story behind them?
Many of my characters recur, I have such a love and connection to them, they’re like my babies! There’s Poppy, Toby and of course my nameless “vulnerable girl”. But in all honesty, they’re not exactly self-portraits but they do represent and express different parts of me in their own ways. I often draw when I’m feeling a little blue and on the other hand am also a happy optimist so perhaps these aspects of me come through.
What is the favourite part of your illustrative work?
I love animation. It’s really what captivates and motivates me and is my absolute favourite thing to draw and put together. A lot of people have asked me why I don’t get into computer animation but the imperfection and individuality that comes with handmade animating is so beautiful in itself. It is hard work and can sometimes take ages because I have to make backgrounds (a little like sets for a movie), then I draw the characters over and over to make the movement look flowing, and after that each figure needs to be painstakingly cut out with a scalpel. Then I can start photographing and putting the images in order. But once it all starts coming together the payoff is totally worth it.
My guilty pleasure are my paste ups. It’s a swift and sneaky form of graffiti and the thrill of pasting up a sweet picture in the middle of the night is so much fun. I’ve done a few during my travels, so you will find Poppy and co traipsing around in places like Amsterdam, Copenhagen and all over Perth too, and now I’ve decided to do one in every city I go to. I think it’s a nice way of interacting with the places I visit – I take something away from every trip, so this way I’ll be leaving something behind as well. Kind of like a reverse souvenir. Or maybe it’s just an expression of a super primitive urge to go, “I WAS HERE” – haha! I prefer to think it’s the former!
One day in Copenhagen, I was keeping an eye out for good spots to paste up on, and when I saw a mural with big, slightly ominous-looking black birds I thought it would be sweet to do one with little Poppy interacting with them. First I wanted to have her being carried by one, but I thought that might look a bit sinister, haha…So I had her feeding them with a little bag of seeds instead. I didn’t know who the artists were (turns out it was a collaborative mural by two Danish artists), until one of them posted a photo of my piece on Instagram and somebody tagged me. I wasn’t sure how they’d react but they were super lovely about it and said they were going to try and keep her there when they went to do touch-ups. Gave me the warm fuzzies!
My latest project is a music video! It’s going to be two and a half minutes, the longest animation I’ve ever done. It’s been a real a labour of love and it is so close to being finished, I can’t wait until it’s released! After it’s finished I’m planning on getting stuck into more animated projects and submissions, as I’ve got so many ideas that have been bottling up whilst I’ve been occupied with this project!
I also recently had one of my illustrations letterpressed by Little Press, and I’m absolutely obsessed with the way it looks and feels! I may be tempted to do more runs in the near future…
Globetrotter or homebody?
I think I’m an equal amount of both! I’m always torn between the desire to lay down some roots and to just up and go. I’m the biggest homebody when I’m here but there hasn’t been a year since I was 19 that I haven’t gone abroad. Having said that, during my late teens and early 20s I followed every single impulse that took me away from home. I’ve got a much bigger appreciation for the comforts of home now than I did then, and I’m not quite as impulsive.
Hand drawn animations are such rare beauties these days and Penny sure makes gems. By the end of our time together, Penny had convinced us to pledge ourselves to a life of hard crime and join her on a paste up mission – and I can’t wait! Can’t wait for our sneaky midnight date and can’t wait to see what she does next.
Posted on May 18, 2015
Posted on May 13, 2015
Today’s offering, some photos from an all too rare occurrence – a house party. Friends new and old, an endless supply of spanakopita, marshmallows over a fire pit, all gathered around in my most favourite place on planet Earth – our home. Ours is a place filled with so much love and living that inviting others in is almost a selfish pleasure. Those who come in their own individual ways add to the warmth and deep devotion I feel for every nook and daddy-long-leg filled cranny of our house and every scraggly bush in our backyard.
Do come again soon.
Posted on April 16, 2015
If there’s one thing I’ve learnt in my not-very-extensive existence of 32 years, it’s that things generally don’t go as planned. I’m not saying that there is no plan, because most certainly with the eye of hindsight I can see that all things, the highest of highs and the deepest of heartaches, have brought me here. Past tragedies, although at times too too heavy to shoulder, have also been essential in shaping my heart and mind.
They say a problem shared is a problem halved. Thank you my dear friends for the ever appreciated kind words and heartfelt encouragement. In ways beyond my imagination, this here blog has led us into the paths of so many outstandingly awesome individuals and our lives have been enriched and invigorated, and our hearts expanded because of you.
Thank you all, you wonderful people!