Sculptor Natalie Rosin’s Alexandria Home Is Filled With Ceramic Treasures
Welcome to The Makers. Each week, we’re celebrating innovators, artisans and crafters of all types, taking you on a private tour of their creative spaces. For this instalment, we head to inner city Sydney where ceramicist Natalie Rosin sculpts exquisite art from natural materials.
When it comes to her sculpture practice, Natalie Rosin’s ethos is simple: fuse architecture with art to create ceramics that are structural, intuitive and unique.
You can see it in her work, hand-sculpted clay pieces that bend and curve into interesting shapes. Like the three ceramic vases that Rosin has created exclusively in collaboration with Bed Threads, each of them moulded into their own feminine and classic silhouettes. And you can see it in her home in Alexandria in inner city Sydney, too. Rosin has only lived here for six months, but already she’s filled the architectural space with ceramic treasures, putting her own art on display. “I’d love more Australian art on our walls,” Rosin muses. “I don’t have much art to display at the moment apart from my own.”
Rosin and her partner Ben (and their two guinea pigs) were initially drawn to the home because of its gorgeous light. Big windows and floor-to-ceiling glass doors flood the space with sunshine, especially in the bedroom and the kitchen and lounge room. After six months of living in the house, Rosin says she’s still in the honeymoon phase. “We haven’t renovated at all,” she says. “Instead, we’re just enjoying getting to know the spaces and developing a really good idea of what we want in a home before making any changes.”
Shop the exclusive Natalie Rosin x Bed Threads ceramics range.
That light is important, as is making sure that the space feels uniquely theirs. Rosin achieves that by scouring furniture auctions and secondhand stores for vintage pieces that reflect the couple’s tastes and personalities. Like their “retro” television and the wooden printer’s shelf in the entryway, which originally belonged to Rosin’s mother and is still home to all her knick knacks – and a few of Rosin’s, too.
When it comes to nailing your own home decoration, Rosin’s advice is simple. “Fill your home with pieces you love rather than specifically because they are on trend,” the sculptor says. “‘Will I love this in five or ten years' time?’ is a question I often ask myself, and is hard to answer but worth thinking about.”
Shop the exclusive Natalie Rosin x Bed Threads ceramics range.
Hi Natalie! This series is called The Makers. What is it that you make?
Hello! I make ceramic forms, either sculptural, functional or both.
How does the act of “making” relate to your personality and who you are?
The way I make is similar to my personality; I like to be intuitive, experimental and hands on. However, the architecturally trained side of me aims to be precise and considered though at times I like to break away from this and be a bit spontaneous and test limits.
Tell us about your career journey to date. Did you always know you wanted to pursue this line of work?
Ten years ago I would never imagine being where I am today, it’s very interesting how life is sometimes so challenging to predict. I studied architecture at university and received a masters in 2014. During this time I also enrolled in as many art electives as I could: printmaking, sculpture, drawing and luckily ceramics. I started working with clay in this way from 2012, learning through university and then continuing with different night classes and workshops. I would say I am still learning and will never stop, there is always something new to discover.
Once graduating from university, I began practicing as a graduate architect, while still practicing ceramics every free moment I had, including joining a group studio called Claypool, selling my pieces and being part of exhibitions. After a few years of working at different architecture practices in Sydney, I experienced the challenge of juggling both and with ceramics being my passion I decided to pursue my art full time.
Shop Natalie's look with the exclusive Natalie Rosin x Bed Threads ceramics range.
Talk us through your creative process. Where do you start?
Often I will start with a simple pen and paper, sketching ideas from my mind onto the page. More recently I’ve found it interesting to rather sketch through sculpting, with the beginnings of new ideas formalised through a raw piece of clay, my hands and my thoughts. In terms of
where my ideas come from, often it’s guided by a combination of a client brief and my background in architecture. Most of my work is strongly influenced by architecture and design history.
What’s been the single most crucial tool or strategy you’ve used to grow your creative business?
When starting out, I made sure to be incredibly open minded; pretty much accepting any commission, exhibition or opportunity that came my way. From this, I gained a lot of valuable experience and learnt a lot.
What’s been the most challenging lesson learnt since you started your business?
Let it be known, being an artist or running a business has many challenges, no surprises there. I’m learning, and this is a general life skill too, to deal with each challenge in a more accepting way, acknowledging that life isn’t perfect, and that for instance sometimes the clay I need isn’t available right away. I’m learning that sometimes it is OK to run out of glaze at the last minute, to accept that when a kiln breaks down it isn’t the end of the world and when I’m behind on some emails, that is OK too. I’m learning not to lose focus on the bigger picture which is art, this can be applied to life in general too which is happiness.
Shop Natalie's look with our Hand Towel in Turmeric.
What’s been the best thing that’s happened to you since you started your business?
I can’t think of a single moment or event that has been the ‘best thing’ so far in my career. However, as time goes by, I’m really enjoying experiencing the growing appreciation, positivity and connections from others regarding my ceramic practice. I’ve enjoyed exhibiting at many galleries over the past few years, being a finalist for art awards and also partaking in an artist residency program overseas a few years ago.
Do you have a single piece of advice you’d give to your younger self/ someone looking to start their own business?
Don’t believe there is a strict path in life that you need to follow. A significant life decision can be both extremely hard to accept but also easy to follow knowing it’s the right choice for you.
Now, the home stuff. What was the thought process behind the way you’ve styled the interior?
I love modernism and mid-century furniture and luckily the house fits that style quite well. We used to live in a newly built apartment and cannot imagine any of our current furniture suiting it now. It has shown me that you must respond to your own tastes but in the context of what is around you.
What are your favourite pieces in the home?
My favourite pieces are things I’ve sourced second hand, like our mid-century sideboard that has a built-in record player. We also have a wooden tube TV on little legs which I love because it is so different to the TVs you find today. Back then a TV was designed to look like a piece of furniture with a wood finish. Another one of my favourite pieces is the ‘printers tray’ found at the entry of our home as soon as you open the front door. It is an antique wooden wall piece with tiny little shelves or compartments. It is my mums and is filled with little trinkets, treasures, knick-knacks and paddy-whacks she has collected over her life (and a few of mine too).
Which is your favourite room in the house?
I love our living room. It has different moods depending on the time of day or year and really makes you aware of the passage of time as the sun light soaks the room at different angles.
Do you have any projects coming up you want to talk about?
I have an exhibition on now at Saint Cloche gallery in Paddington, Sydney titled ‘CHROMATIC’. It is inspired by the colourful and surreal anomalies of the built world. Three strong influences for this exhibition include Spanish architect Ricardo Bofill, Swiss French architect Le Corbusier and Mexican architect Luis Barragan. The show runs from 14-25 October 2020.
Loved this home tour? See How Rowi Singh Made Her First Apartment Feel Like Home