Tucked away in an unassuming Northcote building is a new hub of art and creativity, all centred around ceramics.
Bisque Studios was founded by Kate Brouwer, inspired by a need to take control of her own work. The artist had been working out of her home, but finding a space where she could run her own kiln, with safe storage for the hazardous materials that go hand in hand with ceramics production, was a difficult feat. So Brouwer decided to create one herself.
Starting Bisque Studios wasn’t just about practicality, though. “A huge part of this space for me is community,” Brouwer says. “So being in a space with people with shared knowledge, shared interests, shared understanding.”
The workshop is now home to three other resident ceramicists – Tantri Mustika, Alana Casey and Grace Brown – and runs a program that gives studio and equipment access to emerging artists on a month-by-month basis.
Though it’s primarily a working space for artists, Bisque also offers public workshops. Choose from a six-week term, where you’ll learn how to throw, trim and then glaze your own ceramic work; one-off workshops on handbuilding, and decorative and carving techniques such as nerikomi, a style of Japanese marbling; or two-hour sessions, including one coming up in August where you’ll make your own free-form breakfast bowl and coffee mug.
Brouwer, who has also worked in disability support, also points to access as a priority. “There are a lot of [similar] schools around Melbourne, but none that specifically cater to [people with] disabilities,” she says. “We’re working towards creating a program that will start later in the year.” While plans are still being finalised, they include bringing onboard carers and Auslan interpreters.
To purchase works from individual artists you’ll need to make an appointment, or you can buy something at the occasional Bisque Studios open day, as well as events and exhibitions.
2/157 Beavers Road, Northcote
By appointment only
This article first appeared on Broadsheet on July 30, 2019. Some details may have changed since publication.