“If you want a tit on your mug, please do not just stick it on. It will fly off in the kiln and no one wants tits flying around like that.”
That’s Bea Bellingham speaking to a class of eager mug-makers one Saturday afternoon during a Mug and Mimosa class at the new Clay Sydney studio in Enmore, which she co-owns with Hannah Barclay.
“Add on other naughty bits as you see fit.”
It’s been a busy year for Bellingham, who started Clay Sydney four years ago, and Barclay, who joined her in October 2019.
When Covid-19 hit, anyone who wasn’t attending to a sourdough starter seemed to develop an interest in ceramics. The wheel-throwing classes at Clay Sydney’s Marrickville studio were constantly booking out, and orders for its at-home clay kits kept growing. After all, what better way to relieve stress than getting your hands dirty and creating something beautiful? Enough people seemed to share this sentiment that Bellingham and Barclay decided to open a second – bigger – studio.
While the OG warehouse studio in Marrickville is wonderfully dark, grungy and clay-splattered, the newbie in Enmore is slick and filled with natural light. There are floating shelves displaying glossy ceramics with gold accents; high tables decorated with handmade vases holding dried eucalyptus leaves; and cute illustrations of vases, mugs and cups hanging on the walls to inspire students. As you enter, shelves packed with glazed beauties of all shapes and sizes are waiting to be picked up by their creators.
There are a couple of wheels reserved for people with “gym memberships” (ideal for hobbyists who might pop in a few times each week), but unlike at Marrickville, the focus at Enmore is hand-building. Classes include planter parties, wine-and-clay nights (BYO booze), and make-your-own reusable coffee cup classes. There are also classes for kids, and four-week courses for those who want to learn more skills. The Enmore studio alone goes through up to two tonnes of clay per month.
Also new is the Clay at Home concept, which sees the duo send clay kits Australia-wide for people to tackle at home, instructed by step-by-step videos. Clay Sydney has enlisted a bunch of “Pottery Pals” around the country, who glaze and fire at-home students’ creations (no, you can’t just chuck them in the oven).
At the front of the schmick studio (which has mini studios at the back, rented by more serious ceramicists on a three-monthly basis), there’s a sunlit cafe and retail store. There you’ll find beans by Loggerhead Coffee and sweet treats, such as brownies, from Annandale’s Cherry Moon General Store. You can also buy stunning, colourful ceramics created by local artists, and all the supplies you could ever need for hand-building at home.
Clay Sydney, Marrickville
37 Stanmore Road, Enmore
Mon, Wed & Thu 8am–3pm
Tue, Fri, Sat & Sun 8am–12pm