Ceramicist Naomi Taplin handmakes beautiful, minimalist, functional porcelain tableware. She’s part of a collection of local makers who’ve taken up residency in Darlo’s Foley Street. Originally from Queensland, Taplin first came to Sydney to study at COFA in Paddington – she later left to live overseas and returned once again to study design, majoring in ceramic and object design. “I’ve always loved ceramics – my mother was a potter,” she says.
Taplin has incorporated her mother’s pottery machines and working bench into her Darlinghurst store, which doubled up as a workshop space. She hosts workshops, such as the traditional Japanese art of kintsugi – repairing broken items with gold or silver where the visible repair celebrates the ‘scars’ of the the product and promotes reuse.
Most of her work is slip casting, though, in simple shapes with tonal varieties. “Slip casting is a different technique to throwing on the wheel. I use porcelain because it’s so strong and made to be durable, which is great for everyday use.” Taplin uses a wheel to create the casts, which are then filled with liquid porcelain. “I’m about the colour and the tonal varieties. Casting allows you to play with those tones.”
Casting also means she can work up to producing higher quantities for restaurants or clients; she’s custom-made tableware for Fred’s in Paddington, Lotus in Barangaroo, Regatta in Rose Bay and Abacus in Melbourne. But she also produces more sculptural ceramics, such as lighting bulbs – made in her Botany workspace.
“It’s grown from being tableware based,” she says. “Porcelain as a material has beautiful properties and one of them is translucency, which makes for a beautiful glow.”
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