Ella Bendrups has always been a creative person and after school studied a Bachelor of Communication Design and a Diploma of Interior Design and Decoration at RMIT. After this Ella made her way as a stylist assistant and this experience exposed her to many talented makers and inspired her to make pottery herself. Ella has always been interested in ceramics, but a fear of trying and failing at something new had kept her away. In late 2015 Ella enrolled in some classes at Guild of Objects and Northcote Pottery Supplies, where she was able to develop basic skills and the confidence to find her own personal style.
Ella decided to pursue ceramics more seriously at the beginning of Spring 2016. She had received such positive feedback and encouragement from prop and food stylists and others in the industry that she finally felt ready to put her work out there by launching an online store and selling at markets.
After making in a few different locations, Ella has recently moved into a new small studio at the back of her parents’ block. She prefers to work in solitude as she finds a calm and controlled environment really beneficial to the creative process. Ella’s favourite aspect of creating her pieces is the therapeutic nature of working with clay. In clay, she’s found a medium that both gives her a vehicle to express herself artistically and centres her.
Her practice solely involves hand-building, utilising a combination of pinching, faceting, slab building and kurinuki (carving out) techniques. Ella hopes that when viewers are looking at her pieces they can see and appreciate the traces of her process in the finished work.
Ella gravitated towards hand building in the beginning because of space and budget considerations, however she has stuck with this method as it affords greater opportunity to manipulate and experiment with pieces at various stages during their formation. She finds this kind of non-outcome oriented play can inspire future direction and helps to utilise a different facet of her creativity to more structured, research based work.
Being mostly self-taught, there have been many technical challenges along the way; however, the biggest challenge Ella has faced so far is more personal. Ella has overcome the anxiety that her work wasn’t worth pursuing in a larger scale. This change has been creatively freeing and has shored up Ella’s conviction in herself and her pieces.
The biggest lesson that Ella has learnt in working as a ceramicist is to let go of preconceived ideas of how a piece should turn out and surrender to the kiln. This has helped her to manage the heartbreak of firing disasters and to start to appreciate the potential benefit of unexpected results.
Ella seeks inspiration in nature first and foremost. Observing the sculptural qualities of rocks, sand and the earth weathered by time and the elements is akin to looking at a large-scale canvas.
Shop Ella's beautiful creations here.