I often find myself nestled in the quirky haunts of Barrio Collective Coffee in Lonsdale Street on a Saturday morning, with my hands firmly wrapped around a heavenly cup of joe.
Yet only just a few weeks ago on my regular jaunt, did I look down to discover the spectacular ceramic plate that lay beneath my toast. The simple piece had all the intricacies of the finest tableware, but encapsulated a raw feel and earthy colour that could only be created by a true potter.
Richilde Flavell is the Canberra potter behind Girl Nomad Ceramics. Well-known for beautiful ceramic tableware found in local cafes and eateries including Mocan & Green Grout, Taco Taco, Kyo Coffee Project and Barrio, she has certainly made a splash on Canberra’s “hipster” scene.
“My forms are both relaxed and purposeful, with an honest and gentle quality. The pieces I make have exposed clay that is smooth to the touch and I layer my glazes creating washy patterns across the surface in tones of greys, blacks, blues and olives,” Flavell says.
“I wholesale my work to stores in Canberra and interstate, and have open studios from time to time, but what people may not know is that I also make ceramic basins, lights and tiles for people’s homes, as well as design objects for exhibition.”
Girl Nomad Ceramics pieces are delicate, neat and well-put-together, but Flavell admits that the process of a potter, and her workspace, is far from “neat”.
“I share a studio with ceramic artist Lia Tajcnar. Her side of the studio is clean and colourful with highly detailed objects. My end is bursting at the seams with stacks of clay and pots and giant buckets of glaze, test tiles and ideas teetering on high shelves, with ferns nestled in between,” Flavell says.
“It’s organised chaos; some days more organised, some days more chaos.
“Everything I make starts as a malleable ball of clay and is made slowly and conscientiously by hand, through the long process of making, glazing, firing and sanding.
“Maybe it’s an odd iron spot or a bump on the rim, or an unruly kiln firing that impacts the glaze and surface in a particular way that may endear one pot or another to me.”
After graduating from the Australian National University in 2015, Flavell dedicated all her energy to developing her business, and is now very much a key part of the Canberra design community.
“I have found there are so many support systems in Canberra, from the community of ceramics artists I met at ANU, to Craft ACT with its exhibitions program and the opportunities available through the DESIGN Canberra Festival and Canberra Potters Society,” she says.
Looking toward the future, Flavell is keen to start creating new and exciting pieces for her clients and fine-tuning her design skills.
“In 2019 I look forward to developing my skills and my practice slowly and surely, I love taking workshops and continuing to learn and I plan to take short professional development courses, because they’re fun and it’s always a great way to meet like-minded creative professionals,” she says.