Meet the maker: Tina Thorburn

Q+A Tina Thorburn

How did you discover your love of ceramics?

I stumbled into ceramics. I took it up as a hobby at the end of a hockey season for something to do on a Tuesday night. I had an inkling that I'd like it and take to it, as my father dabbled rather successfully in ceramics when he was my age. But I had no idea that I'd find a wonderful freeing practice or a career. The course ran for 8 weeks and the studio closed down over summer. I spent the summer itching to get back and the following year my priorities shifted and I was building my work hours around my studio time. Since then I poured my saving into my own studio and have made being a potter my full time job. Its crazy to think that 4 hours on a Tuesday night could turn into a full time, fulfilling job!

You’ve studied a lot of amazing things in your life, what have you learnt about finding your own career path?

I spent a lot of time at university in a variety of different disciplines and I tell people all the time that university did not prepare me for running my own creative business. It did expose me to lots of different ideas and people which no doubt shape my craft, and it allowed me to work through my own fears and insecurities on where I fit into the world. I tied so much of my value as a person to my intelligence and its been freeing to let that go and pursue a practice that allows me to use my brain in a very different way. Some of my professional friends say its brave to jump into a creative career, sometimes I think its downright stupid, but really its just going with the opportunities I've been given. For so long I was forcing myself to fit into a certain mould (9-5, Monday to Friday) and it really doesn't suit me and my previous studies have exposed me to enough fields that I can honestly say, hand on heart that I gave it a red hot go, and that right now, I am meant to be a potter.

Tell us a little about the pots you have made for us this month?

I love making plant pots. Its making a forever home for a plant friend. And that's what I've made for you this month. The clay is this rich smooth dark clay for California. Its smooth to throw and I have to stop myself from licking my fingers because it honestly looks like brownie mix. I have put a high gloss white glaze on the lip to create a bright contrast to the dark clay and the little feet on each planter give it a bit of lift and character. Each piece is made totally unique and they all have their own characters, I can't wait for them to meet their plant friends!

What’s the favourite plant in your garden right now?

Oh good question! It changes all the time. From where I sit I can see this awesome elephants foot that my Dad has been growing for years. The morning light is hitting it and it looks divine. In my studio I have a string of pearls that is metres long and hangs all the way to the floor. But at the moment I've put a baby zebra plant in a bit pot that I decided to keep (I never keep my own pots unless they have cracks!) and I've put it on the stairs so I see it every time I go anywhere I see it.
Check out more of Tina's beautiful work here.
Portrait of Tina photographed by Rebecca Chan

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