Emerging designer, Ebony Heidenreich, makes beautiful objects with purpose.
Introducing ceramicist Ebony Heidenreich
We came across local ceramicist Ebony Heidenreich at Bowerbird Design Market on the hunt for a new pair of earrings.
Wandering the packed hall, we noticed some of our friends engrossed in the wares at Ebony’s stall. Those particular friends are the kind that are always on it first. They know good design when they see it.
Twenty minutes later, we walked away from Ebony’s stall with a pair of black ceramic earrings and a new-found fascination with the designer.
Weeks later, we found ourselves in Ebony’s JamFactory studio.
A self-professed designer, Ebony shirks the title ‘ceramicist’ or ‘artist.’
“My first introduction to ceramics was in the arts. I consider myself – or did – a ceramic artist and I make exhibition work, really speculative stuff. And then I do the production side, which is your mundane, repetitive stuff.
“And then I came [to the JamFactory] and found design, which is marrying those two things together. Product design mainly,” she says.
Ebony studied Visual Arts at UniSA, and is now undertaking the associate program with JamFactory for which she is in her second year.
Her wares are varied in nature – at this point in her design, Ebony is making two distinctly different types of work.
The first, are her products, which are functional in nature, and fit very much within the vibe of the Jam.
“I do a lot of tableware. It’s not my ultimate passion, but it’s good entry as a ceramicist. We do lots of restaurant commissions. High end restaurants – it’s quite a nice harmony at the moment with serving-ware and beautiful food… That’s the main focus of the Jam, and I seem to fit into that groove.”
But, in working on earrings, she is pushing the boundaries of her trade.
“I love the idea of not being put in a box, being told ‘you’re a potter, you make tableware.’ I like to go from fashion to furniture to whatever.”
“Being an artist, it’s a constant discovery process – so you know, who and what you are as a person, as a maker, what gets you excited. I just started to be able to marry products that people use with ideas and influences and things that you think and mull over. Doing art and product together is what I would call design.”
And there, in the realm of design, Ebony is also crafting earrings, which are making their way into brick-and-mortars across Adelaide, Sydney, Melbourne, and, soon, at the annual professional contemporary design event, DENFAIR.
But, second to her sellable products, Ebony is also flexing her artistic muscle by working on a collection of art pieces developed from her waste materials.
“It’s a new process I’ve developed. This is actually all of the waste product from [my functional products], which is really cool. I love to be able to use everything.
It’s all a conglomeration of the offcuts basically of clay. That’s why it’s got all this marbled, gnarly looking stuff. I think I’m enjoying the way it can replicate stone.”
Ebony is using this collection as a way to experiment with new technology. Much of the work is cut with a water-jet cutter.
“It’s just fun to push boundaries. This has been laser cut with high pressure water. I’ve just been able to emulate stone out of clay.”
These objects will be shown in an upcoming exhibition at the old meat markets in Melbourne.
“This exhibition I just wanted to create new work for one and branch out a little bit from what I currently do. I’ve retained some of the shapes. Some of it’s functional, some of it is just beautiful objects.”
It’s being so adaptable to her creative whims that makes Ebony such an interesting emerging designer. Her ability to step outside the boxes that so often constrict a maker is what pushes her outside of her home town and toward success.