Australian Design: Anchor Ceramics
Accompanying mankind's history for thousands of years, ceramics-making has served well in an endless list of applications such as useful vessels, building materials, sculptural artworks and more. Due to its flexible and durable nature we still find new ways to form and use clay, ensuring this old and familiar material remains popular, whether on small or industrial applications. Anchor Ceramics is a Melbourne based studio with a relatively small range of products; yet their objects fascinate with characteristics that strongly distinguish Anchor Ceramics from other studios.
Anchor Ceramics has Bruce Rowe as founder and creative director, working with a multidisciplinary team who explore the creative possibilities offered by clay as a medium. The studio cooperatively produces the functional Anchor range, from intention, idea development, prototypes to the final product. Anchor Ceramics explores the dimensional possibilities of clay, making "ceramic objects that enrich the senses and quality of space. We consciously design and form the object to evolve with use. Our work is elemental and always connected to people and the earth."
Input from master craftspeople with skills in artisanal manufacturing, ancillary componentry, materials knowledge and the ceramics process, informs the ongoing development of the products. Established and emerging techniques and technologies are used to realise the objects. The Anchor studio considers this 'ideas to object' approach to be a true form of collaboration, connecting the imagination, designer and maker.
What elements define your studio?
"The Anchor studio is committed to clean and robust local design and artisanal manufacturing models. Made in Melbourne, the model provides employment opportunities for ceramic practitioners, educates and transfers skills and knowledge and supports a whole host of other local businesses with the same ideals for a connected and sustainable creative enterprise."
The handmade quality of your objects gives the final product a heritage feel, yet it fits perfectly in modern architecture. Do you design/create with heritage in mind or a contemporary result?
"Anchor’s ceramic surfaces are designed and developed within the studio in Melbourne, using a combination of traditional making and glazing techniques and contemporary design thinking. Our ceramics have refined textures and a distinct hand formed aesthetic offering a balance between hue, tone, transparency, form, durability and gloss level across the surface. "
How do you evolve such a traditional medium?
"Self-initiated projects along with commissioned works and surfaces keep the studio ethos evolving. From 2018 we now approach ceramic surfaces as artwork commissions, responding to feedback from the design and architecture industry seeking project specific solutions. This also enables the studio to fully explore ceramic surfaces that have an enhanced textural or three-dimensional quality. Commissions are applicable to a range of projects such as entries, walls, floors and furniture pieces in either interior or exterior environments."
The unique qualities of handmade pieces is further explored in their numbered limited series SCAPE. These are one-off ceramic forms sculpted by Bruce Rowe, a limited collection of 100 unique pieces. The ceramic pieces in each set can be removed from their box, arranged and re-arranged as desired. Each new arrangement creates an ever-expanding field of imagination. Each boxed set of geometric forms has been made using a diverse range of Australian clays and finished using glazes created specifically for the project. The intensive making process of sculpting, shaping, finishing and glazing each form results in a unique set that cannot be reproduced or repeated.