Belinda in her backyard with her Kelpie
Belinda's backyard pod and hammock

Tell us what you do and describe a typical day in your life

I’m a visual artist and I work mainly in ceramics and painting. I usually get woken up with a coffee at about 6am then I head off for a dog walk with our Kelpie before another walk to the ceramics studio. The time I spend in the studio varies quite a lot, it’s a practical, but small space, so there’s really only room for things that are of use when physically making, so I don’t really hang out or work on anything else there.

If I have a deadline, on the other hand, I would spend maybe 8 or so hours making in there. Either way, I’m usually working on my creative endeavours for the bulk of the day, whatever form that may take. A typical day would end with a beer in the hammock, dinner, then whatever book or show we’re binge-watching. I don’t have much regard for weekends when it comes to my work, so unless there’s something on, every day is pretty similar (in a good way!).

 

Tell us about your home space, what makes a home feel good to you?

I live in a rented 1950’s California Bungalow style home with my partner and our dog in Preston, we’ve been here about a year and a half. We really love a lot of space and we want to be close to things like coffee, food, friends, and nature walks, but like a lot of renters in Melbourne our budget can only get so much. Our solution was this kind of Venn diagram of location/size/cost which we kept squeezing until we found this place, which is quite big, in a neighbourhood we adore; but it’s falling apart so it’s relatively cheap. It helps that our landlord is happy for us to make any basic changes we like. To me, a home feels good if it has character. This can apply to a minimal aesthetic, sure, but with our place that basically means wall to wall plants and art.

One of Belinda's paintings that hangs in her bedroom
I’d like to think every single item we own has some story, nostalgic connection, or a genuine love of the design behind it.

How long have you been working from your studio and what initially drew you to this space?

I have a studio/office at home for my painting and extended artwork storage, but my pottery studio is about a 10min bike ride across Preston. It’s a big warehouse with lots of other creative businesses working out of it, and my space is about 3x3m. Initially I was drawn to the space due to the proximity and price (like every other artist, I’m sure). I was also familiar with many of the tenants and had spent a bit of time there over the years which helped. Since moving in at the end of 2022 I have grown to absolutely love it there, my little slice of course, but the whole community too.

 

You create ceramics and paintings, things people collect, is there anything that you collect?

I’m certainly not adverse to collecting things, I wouldn’t say I consciously collect a certain thing. But now that I think about it, I do have a quite bit of art, and ceramics, and plants, and knick-knacks… Is it collecting if it just happened to you without you noticing?

 

Which designers do you admire?

When I try think of designers I admire I just end up listing amazing ceramic artists, I can’t help it. Ella Reweti, Claire Ellis, Ali Frith, Nicolette Johnson, Gertrud Vasegaard, Hans Coper, Pamela Sunday, the list goes on. I love the work of local design studio Coco Flip who are known for collaborating with artists and craftspeople to produce some genuinely unique furniture and lighting. If I had to choose a classic all-time design house I’d have to go with Eames, it seems too easy, but how could I not?! On a broader and more contemporary scale though, if I’m feeling like getting a bit of a kick from new design I’ll look to sites like Adorno, and Erria for inspiration.

 

What is your approach to decorating your home space?

For the most part, everything we own is second-hand, or handmade so there’s no real approach other than adding something if we like it. I’d like to think every single item we own has some story, nostalgic connection, or a genuine love of the design behind it. I do have a rule which applies across the board, clothes, art, furniture, everything; hypothetically, if I found the piece in an op-shop with no branding, would I buy it? It helps snap you out of the hypnosis caused by big names, and a reminder that if you wouldn’t bother to drag it home without knowing who made it then maybe you didn’t like it that much in the first place.

Collected items both vintage and made by friends
A mobile hangs in the entrance hallway

Favourite coffee table book?

We’re not really a coffee table book house, but recently I’ve been flicking through my copy of a Hans Coper Retrospective Catalogue,  it does end up spending more time off the bookshelf than on it.

 

What is your least favourite interiors trend?

It might come across as a bit saccharine, but I don’t really believe there is such a thing as a bad trend. Everybody has a different set of experiences that have led them to their current taste, and that’s what makes individual interiors interesting. BUT, where I think it can go very badly is where there is not a genuine connection between the item and the owner and they are just stabbing in the dark for a vague “look”. This is where the design rip off vampires make their money, and where the downward spiral of fast-homewares begins.

 

What is your most prized possession?

I’m honestly not sure I can answer this one, but it would be between a vintage plaster head which I don’t quite know the history of but it was one of the first decorative pieces I ever bought with real intention; a print by photographer Tamara Dean which she generously gave to me when we were visiting her family a few years ago; and two small oil paintings made at my old studio in Brunswick by artist Shaun Tan who was leasing a studio from me at the time of painting them, they are gorgeous and the most perfect mementos that never fail to evoke a truly wonderful time in my life.

 

How would you describe your design aesthetic?

Probably something like Thrift Store-Bohemian-Mid Century with a hint of Contemporary.

 

Are there any artists you’re loving at the moment?

Contemporary US painter Colleen Barry is someone that I cannot get enough of at the moment, her work is so luscious and jarring at the same time, I love it. I’ve already mentioned him a few times, but ceramicist Hans Coper is really ticking a lot of boxes for me inspiration wise. My all-time favourite artist would have to be Louise Bourgeois though, what an uncompromising powerhouse of art and design, reaching out across every medium in every direction for decade upon decade, wow.

A painting by Caitlin Aloisio-Shearer that hangs in Belinda's lounge room
A Hans Coper ceramic
Chair by Charles & Ray Eames with Saul Steinberg
I do have a rule which applies across the board, clothes, art, furniture, everything; hypothetically, if I found the piece in an op-shop with no branding, would I buy it? It helps snap you out of the hypnosis caused by big names.
A snapshot of the Hans Coper Retrospective Catalogue
Records on display in the lounge room

Short and Sweet Ones

House or apartment? House, or better yet Warehouse with combined studio and workshop.

Online or IRL Shopping? Online for important decisions, I love to research before I buy. And IRL for fun, second hand browsing, and gifts.

Paper notes or digital? Paper all the way.

New or Vintage? Vintage, but, you know, everything vintage was new at some point. If a new design is better, then new it is.

Night or morning? Morning.

Pattern or plain? Pattern, but kind of plain pattern if that makes sense?

See more of Belinda’s work over at BelindaWiltshire.com