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A conversation with Australian Ceramist ~ Katherine Mahoney

By Kym Cooper. Posted
Katherine Mahoney throwing

You would have recently noticed that we added a new local Sydney ceramist, Katherine Mahoney, into our Australian tea ware collection. Already her beautiful range of pourers and small tasting cups are proving popular with our customers.

I had first seen Katherine's work in early 2018 but I was very fortunate to be able to meet her in Brisbane at GOMA's Design markets at the end of last year. I was drawn to her wheel thrown pieces and found such aesthetically pleasing pieces for the tea table. You can see Katherine's full body of work in her stunning Instagram feed.

Katherine Mahoney portrait

When developing new shapes and sizes for the tea table it is always so refreshing when the artist is willing to understand its purpose. Katherine was so wonderful to work with we were thrilled by the final shape of the pourers (fair cup / pitcher) that are perfectly functional for eastern style brewing when using either a gaiwan or a small teapot for tea brewing. Take a look here at the new additions.

We really love being able to share more about our makers and we thank Katherine for her generous contribution to this weeks blog post as well as sharing her images for you to enjoy. So now is the time to make yourself a cup of tea and have a read of my interview with Katherine. Enjoy! 

1. How did your journey in ceramics commence?

I visited my brother while he was working at a local pottery and spied beautiful hand crafted pots stacked from floor to ceiling just asking to be touched. The sensuous throwing technique, the joy of mark making, hot kilns stacked with wonderful shapes all resonated with me and told me I had found what I wanted to do. I could visualise pieces being used to make a home unique, for celebrations and to enliven everyday living. I persuaded the owner to take me on as an apprentice and never looked back.

 Katherine Mahoney Cup 1

2. What brings you the greatest joy in the ceramic process?

Undoubtedly the ritual and rhythm of wheel throwing brings the greatest joy. Whether is be robust stoneware or fragile pure white porcelain the feel of well prepared clay forming under one’s touch is exquisite.

 Katherine Mahoney Gold Cup

3. When crafting pieces for use in the tea drinking setting what are your main considerations?

Firstly which type of tea am I crafting pieces for…? A delicate white tea, or a mug of “Builders” with milk and sugar, a highly floral infusion or an earthy Lapsong Souchong? I would attempt to produce a pieces that would offer a visual attraction - to be beautiful and welcoming in their own way - then to be a pleasant tactile experience. I would give consideration to the tea’s colour and aroma and the appropriate size of the vessels.

 Katherine Mahoney Pink tea setting

4. Do you have a favourite tea and how do you prepare it?

Oh I couldn’t name just one tea! I am a self confessed tea freak and have a cupboard full of all sorts of wonderful leaves. A pot of Gen Maicha is always a favourite, Earl Grey in the morning, fruit teas, especially with orange, chilled in the summer and hot in the winter. Special fragrant Mountain Tea like Ten Lu brewed to perfection and served in tiny cups is saved for special occasions with like minded friends. Never would I put milk in any tea!!

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