“I love how the material changes from the raw state to the last firing, things can change quite considerably, and sometimes surprisingly,” says ceramicist Helen Hay of Kanimbla Clay. After graduating from university in Devon in the UK, she worked as a production jeweller for a company in the Cotswolds, before travelling around the world. In 2007 Helen arrived in the Blue Mountains. "I realised my work choices were very limited, and that was the giant kick up the butt to get going with my dream," she says. Two years later she created Kanimbla Clay. "I really love that you can turn mud into something durable that potentially lasts for years," Helen says.
Which five words best describe you? Happy, creative, foodie, tree-hugger, daydreamer.
How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? I’ve always known that I would be doing something creative, but it was moving out to the [Kanimbla] Valley and having the determination to get the business going that really drove me. I was given some really valuable advice from a good friend who runs a successful business herself, and that was to take a “slow and steady” approach.
What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? Patience; nothing ever happens straight away. I’ve learned to work hard and follow my own path.
What’s your proudest career achievement? My father was at the very first Finders Keepers I did, and I could see him watching all the customers at my stall, and he was just brimming with pride, and that was so important to me and made me feel very proud of what I had achieved and how far I had come.
What’s been your best decision? To move out of the city and up into the fresh air
What are you passionate about? Lots of things: clay, growing veggies, planting trees, where I live, my friends and family, the natural world around us, mountain bike riding, making bonfires in winter, cooking, Chai, good wine, good books, hiking and adventure.
Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? Beatrice Wood, an artist and studio potter who, when asked about the secret to her longevity said, “I owe it all to chocolate and young men”. Or Otis Redding, I’d love to have heard him sing live.
What dream do you still want to fulfil? To build my own woodfire kiln, and more travel.
What are you reading? The Light Between Oceans by M.L.Stedman.
images courtesy of helen hay