A few years ago, statement earrings became a must-have in every jewellery collection and it looks like they’re sticking around for at least a few years to come. But sometimes it feels like you’re always reaching for the same go-to hoops or bold drop studs to complete the outfit.
Lucky for us, local South Australian designer, Ayesha Aggarwal, has tapped into this niche with a collection of handmade ceramic statement earrings alongside her vibrant pottery works in her self-titled label. A uniquely nature-influenced collection featuring shades of burnt orange, balsa and petrol green, Ayesha manages to capture shapes and palates that draw quintessentially South Australian motifs to the ears, as well as on plates, vases and brooches.
Ayesha, a proudly Indian-born Australian, balances working in the publishing industry with her creative exploits in pottery and ceramics. After trying pottery as a first timer, it seemed like everything began to click for the creative. “Once I had my first botanical vases in hand, I felt like I was on to something – people began showing interest in purchasing my work!” says Ayesha. “Every pot I make is unique. Because of the organic way I work, each piece has entirely shaped by my hands and no two are exactly alike.”
We caught up with Ayesha to learn more about her brand, her work and what her creative process is.
What made you launch your brand?
A few years ago I was wanting to get back in touch with my creative side and I decided to try my hand at pottery. It took me a year of night classes before I’d made something I was truly excited about and that was when I started experimenting with decorating the pots I was making. Having always dreamed of making a creative living, I decided to refine my work for sale. I spent the next year making pots…and started putting out feelers for stockists. Things just grew from there and I’ve since launched my online shop, had my first solo show and diversified into jewellery.
What would you say is the biggest source of inspiration for your collection?
It sounds trite but, nature. I’m always on the lookout for interesting, graphic plants. I’m particularly drawn to tropical plants and to Australian natives because of their bold and often strange shapes and colours. I was lucky enough to grow up in suburban Mumbai in a house that had a small backyard. It sounds silly, but it is so unusual for city homes to have an outdoor space and that was a real privilege. My mum was an avid gardener and filled the whole space with plants. She taught me to how to appreciate greenery and it’s something I carried with me in the back of my mind until I started decorating pots. Now, every time I leave the house, I’m noticing the shapes of leaves, the colours of flowers and the effect of the seasons throughout the year. It’s occurred to me recently that my design style also has some roots in textile design. I come from a huge extended family full of creative women, many of whom have dabbled in making and designing clothing. I grew up amidst conversations about colour, pattern and style and it’s woven into my life as instinct. I look at my Monstera Adansonii design and I can’t help but see Rajasthani block prints. My use of sgrafitto (a technique of carving into clay) really brings this out.
How would you describe your creative process behind each piece?
Organic. I’m not much of a planner so I pretty much play each piece by ear. After experimenting for a while, I’ve got a few go-to shapes that I produce. Often, even these shapes have a little variation dependent on what my hands do, but then I just follow my instincts and paint directly onto the clay. Each part of the design is placed as I go along and I balance the design out as I go. When a new design occurs to me, I usually test it straight onto a pot and I refine it on the next one. This keeps the creative process fresh for me and I like that it means that each piece I make is totally unique. My first brushstroke determines everything.
If you had to pick an Australian brand to collaborate with, who would it be and why?
Oh gosh, there are so many but I’m a huge fan of Julie White! I love that we both draw inspiration from nature but come at it in such different ways. I’m perpetually drawn to Julie’s designs and colour stories. I love how bold and fearless they are and I think they’d be so special on handmade pots.
Finally, summarise your label for us in one sentence…
Bright, graphic, one-of-a-kind handcrafted ceramics.
Photography & styling: Sharmonie Cockayne
Hair and Makeup: Georgia Edgar
Models: Swavis and Erin.