Pottery has been having a moment. In 2018, The Guardian reported on record auction prices and a boom in classes, Vogue called it “the new yoga” and earlier this year the BBC said social media was fuelling a pottery renaissance.
Ahead of the curve, about five years ago, Dani Komorek and Shane Connery met at a pottery class hosted by the Henley and Grange Arts Society. Neither knew much about pottery before the class, but it turned out they both loved it – and from that day, they became increasingly involved with Adelaide’s pottery community. Connery would go on to start ES Ceramics, and Komorek later joined him.
Fast forward to 2021, and the pair are standing in a Gouger Street shopfront (where Flight Centre used to be) in the middle of renovations. When Broadsheet visits, they’ve been working late into the night with the help of friends, including builder Adam Shanahan, to get their new ceramics studio ready for launch day. “We’re going to use this space to run classes, workshops, and do our own pottery, so it’ll be on display to the public,” says Komorek. “People can come in, they can buy a pot direct from us, and we can talk to them about the process. So the whole clay process is on display… it’ll be a fully functioning pottery studio in the heart of the city.”
The project is a result of a successful application to Renew Adelaide, which means the studio will only exist until it needs to make way for the Central Market’s redevelopment works. Before that happens, they’ll be given six months’ notice to vacate (which hasn’t happened yet). The shop will stock products from both ES Ceramics’ existing studio in Thebarton and those made on-site in the CBD, including their very popular reusable cups.
Classes will range from six-week courses to come-and-try nights, and there’ll be special experiences, too – like a wine and pottery evening. “Friday night here [at the market] is buzzing. We’ve got a few ideas about how we’re going to tie in with it, but we’ve sort of left Fridays open to trial a few things, to see what happens,” says Connery. “Like one of our friends wants to teach people how to do a cold press coffee, and we’ll do it at the shop, with our cups … he’ll do a little workshop.”
Most of the classes will be hosted by Komorek and Connery themselves, with a few local potters coming on board to help. Despite it being challenging to meet orders for ES Ceramics while also hosting classes, watching other people discover the world of pottery is something that motivates them both. “We end up at every class anyway,” admits Connery. “We love it. We get to share our passion with everybody else,” adds Komorek. “When people try pottery for the first time and get excited about it – to share that experience with them, is really rewarding.”
ES Ceramics is open now at 38 Gouger Street, Adelaide. Classes start this weekend.