SHOW OF HANDS
By founding Mud Australia in 1994, Shelley Simpson ( pictured above) pioneered the dishware industry’s return to its artisanal roots with her elegant minimal pottery. Here, she shares her philosophy.
Q WHAT DID THE DISHWARE MARKET LOOK LIKE WHEN YOU STARTED OUT?
Back in the early ’90s, tableware was highly decorative, physically heavy and visually busy. There was a real gap in the market for something handmade, simple and timeless. I wanted to allow the food to be the hero.
Q WHY IS HANDMADE SO IMPORTANT?
My entire business is based on handmade – I can’t imagine doing it any other way. Customers connect to the human touch in our products. The slight variations and irregularities possess warmth and character.
Q TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOUR PROCESS.
Each piece begins with clay imported from Limoges, France. Our team adds pigment developed and mixed in-house in slip form for colour depth. Next, they cast, hand fettle and trim each piece. Clear glaze is then applied to the interior, while the exterior maintains an eggshell finish after firing, a process by which we heat each piece to 1,230°C to vitrify it. From start to finish, each item takes 48 hours and goes through 10 pairs of hands.
Q WHAT’S YOUR GUIDING PHILOSOPHY?
Our focus is on creating a working environment and community we enjoy without getting distracted by what other companies are doing. We like to connect people with the process.
Q WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST ASPIRATION FOR MUD AUSTRALIA?
To build an enduring business that can outlast us.