“Clay is such an amazing medium to work with,” say sisters Rebecca and Lauren Chua. “On some days it is unpredictable and temperamental, but most of the time the making process is incredibly therapeutic.” And it is why four years ago after starting a course in pottery they stuck with it, learnt some more, took a space in a shared studio, and have gone on to launch a ceramics business, ChuChu. The Sydney-based sisters have also exhibited as part of a group show at Claypool and had a range of their cups chosen as dining ware for Erskinville eatery The Copper Mill. While Rebecca, pictured left, graduated with a Bachelor degree in Engineering (focussing on sustainability) and commerce, Lauren studied a Bachelor of Design and is completing her Masters in Architecture. Together they continue to create for ChuChu. “Getting our hands amongst the clay, and creating something from nothing is just so satisfying,” they say.
Which five words best describe you? Two sisters who love clay.
How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? We enrolled in our first ceramics class four years ago for fun and to try something new. We have been mentored by some amazing ceramicists along the way and have said yes to every opportunity that has come by, so far. We are reaching a point where we can start talking about the possibility of solely making a living of our brand Chuchu, which is a pretty mind-blowing concept.
What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? Take risks and give everything a go – you never know what will happen!
What’s your proudest career achievement? There have been so many Chuchu moments that we are proud of, however, the one that we have gotten the most excited about recently is having our cups sipped from by Sydney breakfast-siders at our favourite local, The Copper Mill, Erskineville.
What’s been your best decision? As predictable as this is, coming together to form Chuchu has been our best - and most exciting - venture yet. People say to never mix family with business, but we beg to differ!
Who inspires you? Our biggest inspiration is most definitely the studio environment that we work in, a large converted warehouse in Sydney’s Erskineville. We are part of a collective of 50 or so makers called Claypool, including clay professionals, amateurs and hobbyists who come from all walks of life with a common - dare we say - obsession with ceramics. The open plan, shared studio space creates a wonderfully social, collaborative and, above all, inspiring environment to be a part of.
What are you passionate about? Chuchu has provided us with really cool and challenging opportunities with other locals, small businesses and creatives. We are extremely passionate about supporting small businesses and supporting local so we do our best to tailor our projects accordingly.
Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? We have huge respect for Grayson Perry – someone who has managed to put ceramics on the map in the art market. Maybe we need to start cross dressing to get noticed...
What dream do you still want to fulfil? Building our online presence and making Chuchu a household name.
What are you reading? Murakami’s Colorless Tzukuru Tazaki. The book is based in Japan, which is high on our hit list for our next “research trip”. And one of the characters gets whisked away to Finland to marry a potter and becomes one herself. Sounds pretty good to us.
images courtesy of chuchu