Mud Australia founder Shelley Simpson has been crafting colourful crockery by hand since 1994. What started as a studio project has evolved into an international operation employing around 90 people. Its range of porcelain tableware, cookware and home decor has a timeless, clean style with popping colour palettes to suit any room. But the Sydney-based outfit has recently found a way to use broken porcelain to create its first range of benchtop protectors, which come in a popular terrazzo design.
The tabletop trivets come in three colourways – “blues”, “neutrals” and the multi-coloured “mixed”. They’re backed with recycled PET felt and are each one-of-a-kind, made individually by Five Mile Radius in Brisbane. The smaller round trivet is $150, the medium is $220, and the largest is $320.
“Five Mile Radius combines rescued end-of-job concrete – saving it from landfill – with our broken porcelain to cast it into the three trivet shapes,” Simpson tells Broadsheet. “When the concrete sets, it’s cut back and polished to create a smooth finished surface.”
The zero-waste solution complements Mud’s sustainable production ethos. “Over the last eight years, we’ve seriously reviewed all our processes to minimise our environmental footprint. Our products avoid seasonality, we rarely discontinue a colour or profile, and [we] choose materials for their quality and longevity,” says Simpson. “Because everything is made in our own studio in Marrickville, or with trusted partners such as Five Mile Radius, we have 100 per cent visibility on waste. We’ve also pivoted from air to sea freight for large stock movements.”
All of Mud’s packaging is now paper-based and either compostable or recyclable, and studio activity is led by sustainable practices. The company is capturing rainwater for studio cleaning, using heat from its kiln to dry moulds and provide warmth, and it has solar panels contributing to the site’s power usage. Those complement a carbon-offset program, which means the overall business is now carbon-neutral.
Also released recently, Mud has worked with fashion designer Lee Mathews to create a set of Hive vases. They’re all asymmetrically shaped, inspired by a favourite dress. “I had the idea of using the Cocoon dress, with its off-centre sleeve, as a silhouette for a vase. The Hive vase ties in beautifully with our offerings.”
The vase comes in two sizes ($180–$320) and in five colours (citrus, London blue, mist, milk and blossom). It is available at Mud Australia online and in-store, as well as at select Lee Mathews stores and online.