Katia Carletti always envisaged herself as an artist - but a different one to the one that emerged. Born and raised in Adelaide, she had been studying painting at art school but it was starting to frustrate her, and after returning home from the studio she would spend the rest of her day making things with clay, she says. “I found it so enjoyable, and it sustained my interest so much more readily, that soon the clay took over completely, and I haven’t looked back,” Katia says. “I am predominantly self-taught in ceramics, and make all my work with a pinched, hand-building technique, so there is always something new to experiment with and learn.” Her interest is in objects that get used every day. “There’s something very intimate about creating forms that are to be cupped in your hands and raised to your lips,” she says. “I love the feeling of pinching a piece of clay up into a shape that is both beautiful and functional, and knowing that when it is finished someone else will be able to welcome it into their lives to hold and use as part of their everyday practices.”
Which five words best describe you? Quiet, focused, homebody, baker, maker.
How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? When I went through art school I had this idea in my head that I was going to be a painter. It’s what I had always done, and so it seemed the most logical path to take. It wasn’t until my honours year, when I was making work about the every day as sacred, and the rituals associated with this idea, that I started to incorporate clay into my practice. From those initial experiments - simple hand-pinched forms bearing traces of the process used to create them, my ceramics practice grew. Soon I found I didn’t want to just make work about everyday rituals, I wanted to make things that could actually be used the quiet, sacred gestures of a normal day.
What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? To trust myself and allow my work to follow the path it is meant to lead. Also, to be open to new ideas and opportunities, even if they aren’t the ones I thought would present themselves.
What’s your proudest career achievement? I am constantly astounded that I get to spend each day making things I love.
What’s been your best decision? To put painting aside and focus on clay. There was a bit of an internal struggle for a while, as I figured out what I wanted, but I’m so glad I made the change.
Who inspires you? Creative people who are passionate about the things they make, and work hard to push themselves into new directions. At the moment I particularly love the paintings of Elizabeth Barnett and the ceramics of Bridget Bodenham. Both very talented and lovely ladies!
What are you passionate about? Coffee in nice handmade cups, indoor plant jungles, bunny cuddles.
Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? Perhaps Nick Drake? His music has stayed with me for a very long time, and makes me feel at home.
What dream do you still want to fulfill? I am constantly dreaming of a house in the countryside with a sunlit studio and my own kiln.