Shelby Sherrit Art
We love your designs - where is your inspiration drawn from?
I felt overwhelmed when I first started ceramics. It seemed like the world was my oyster and the clay had so much potential to be absolutely anything I wanted it to be. I decided to write down all the things I love and pick a theme. I always loved native flowers and animals growing up. I grew up in regional Victoria surrounded by towering gums and sweet animals. I started sketching out ideas around this and I kept coming back to Australian animals holding bouquets of natives. My work has grown from this and now includes anything floral, with sweet pastel pallets and designs that you would catch on your grandma's favourite tea towels.
What was your product development/ design process like?
My design process started out looking through what was already being done with the Australian native theme. I knew I loved it and wanted to make something with that inspiration but I wanted to make sure I didn't copy someone else and that it was a brand new idea and design. So the koala pots were born and then other animals followed. The design process of the pot itself takes a long time. I start by sketching out my ideas, doing variations of body shape, ear sizes, nose positions. I then throw the body shape on the wheel. Sometimes I do a couple of variations to play with to see how it feels. Once the piece is dry enough I add its appendages and begin to design. When I am finally happy with a design I turn it into a mould which means I can have a predictable, reliable shape to share with the world.
Tell us more about how your product is made. Where did you learn these skills and how did you get into ceramics?
I learnt ceramics mostly in my own time. However I did start by doing a semester at university as part of my Social Work degree. The semester was 10 weeks that taught me the basics of clay safety, packing a kiln, wheel throwing, hand building and glazing. From that initial knowledge I learnt the rest through playing, watching videos online, learning from other potters on social media. I felt like a lot of my learning came from making mistakes and learning how to fix them in future. The true calling of ceramics was from my Cancer diagnosis in 2016. I was really lost having to put my whole life on hold. I became so bored and clay happened to be my saviour and a way I could process everything I was going through.
What are some major milestones of your brand?
I have had a few that I am really proud of.
To start my business I did a kickstart funding campaign to purchase my own kiln. I was able to successfully raise the funds I needed to get this and to be able to buy my first pottery wheel too.
My first restock after the campaign sold out in 10 minutes and have continued to sell out in small batches. This is always such a huge milestone when each batch sells out.
My next milestone was moving the business to full time. It had long been a side hustle. I finally took the plunge to make it full time at the start of the year and it has been flourishing ever since.
I was even interviewed by ABC in my studio at the start of the year for a sweet little video featuring my work and my story which was really incredible.
I really love the little wins too. I love seeing a shout out, a new follower, a new stockist. It's always so incredible and I always feel so proud and happy that my little creations are reaching far and wide.