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STORIES

COMMON PEOPLE #10

Therese Petre, Stanwell Park NSW

The Thirroul based potter and creative, Therese Petre fondly known as Peacharoo is a humbled example of working for yourself and following your passion. After 20 years in the world of graphic design and art direction Therese has worked with some of Australia’s biggest brands and somewhere along the way has reconnected with her love for pottery. The growing desire for handmade products has allowed her creative nature to transition her passion for pottery from an inspiration fueled hobby to a new career.


Words by Rachel Abbott

Images by Anna Heyligers


STORIES

COMMON PEOPLE #10

Therese Petre, Stanwell Park NSW

The Thirroul based potter and creative, Therese Petre fondly known as Peacharoo is a humbled example of working for yourself and following your passion. After 20 years in the world of graphic design and art direction Therese has worked with some of Australia’s biggest brands and somewhere along the way has reconnected with her love for pottery. The growing desire for handmade products has allowed her creative nature to transition her passion for pottery from an inspiration fueled hobby to a new career.


Words by Rachel Abbott

Images by Anna Heyligers


Tell us a little bit about yourself and your journey into pottery.

I’m 40, I’m a Mum, wife and a creative. A few years ago I came to a crossroads where I needed some time to myself. After having children and a career in the design industry as a designer and art director for 20 years, I just needed to get my hands dirty again. As a kid I was good at art, that’s why I became a graphic designer – thinking it’s a job if you’re artistic. I had done pottery in school as well as through Tafe and uni, however never in the extent that I have been for the last two years. I thought I knew a lot about it, but then I had some master teachers and learn’t so much. I feel more creative now than I ever have.

You’ve had a successful and full career in the world of design and art direction, what did you learn along the way?

So much! There are definitely more ways than one to solve a problem and success is not just about being happy with the end result but actually having a happy client and a product that sells. To thrive, it’s important to be in a team where leisure and individual opinions are welcomed. Some of the best results happen when you’re team are happy rather than under stress. Creative people aren’t 9 to 5 like office workers; freedom is important as well as a sense of humour and great mentors. Work hard, work late, always do more and be real.

Tell us about the transition from full time work in the design field to pottery?

I’ve been in and out of freelance work since having kids. I went back to full-time work last year and missed the freedom of being a freelancer. I was getting more and more into pottery and joined the Illawarra Potters, where Beth Crawford taught me so much about throwing, building and if I really think about it, encouraged and helped me building my business to where it is. Some of my first big firings were done by Beth. She once spent the night in the studio to make sure it all went well. A true artist herself, she gives her knowledge freely to anyone interested enough. After meeting Lizzy from Wild Rumpus, I was invited to do my first workshop from home, which was nerve racking but so great for all the right reasons. The momentum was building. I’d go to a local store or cafe and the owners ask about ordering some of my pottery. As the popularity grew I started to say to my partner, maybe I can quit my job because this is working out financially. I could earn the same potting as designing, which is crazy! I have to get through so much clay, firing and hours making to do it but it’s possible and safe so that’s how I transitioned. The passion was also a big part of it.

 “Creative people aren’t 9 to 5 like office workers; freedom is important as well as a sense of humour and great mentors.”

 

 

SHOP PEACHAROO DIP GLAZE MUGS HERE

 “Creative people aren’t 9 to 5 like office workers; freedom is important as well as a sense of humour and great mentors.”

 

 

 

SHOP PEACHAROO DIP GLAZE MUGS HERE

Why have you decided to focus more on your ceramics?

I’m happier potting than when I am designing. There is momentum now for handmade. With the age of internet there’s nothing tangible anymore, so the fact that it’s trendy to have a handmade mug is working in my favour- kind of like a lucky coincidence. People are looking for handmade products and I happen to love making them. It feels right; I think you get worried when you’re young that you have to find a job that is stable and secure, and being a potter or commercial artist, you get told that only 5 percent make it so I had no choice but to go to uni and study graphic design to support myself. Now that I have the support of my partner as well as financial stability and design skills to fall back on it’s time to do something that really makes me feel great. Nothing really compares to pushing mud around in my hands and making something that I love.

How do you juggle family, a career and Peacharoo ceramics to find balance?

I have a lot of support from my partner, Beau. He gives me time and knows how much I struggled in the early years of being a parent to find time for myself so he encourages me to do it now. He’ll take the kids away for weekends or pick them up so I can do work in my studio, he’s been awesome. I literally have to schedule everything in and make it fit with my family, friends, fitness and wellbeing. I can’t be creative unless the rest of my life is sorted, like getting sleep and being a good mum. Everything affects each other so it all has to work together. It’s important to take care of my family and myself, so I’ve made adjustments to balance out my life. Pottery is sort of like an addiction to me so I have to be careful. It’s always about adjusting, if my family is okay first then everything else becomes easier.

What are your biggest sources of inspiration for creativity?

Oh inspiration comes from everywhere, it’s random. I come up with the best ideas when I’m daydreaming. Inspiration could be as simple as going for a walk and seeing the shape of a leaf or someone in a cafe or the colour of a juice, or a quirky stack of rainbow cups; it doesn’t just come from one thing it comes from everywhere. I think designers are absorbent by nature, all things visual and around us can affect us emotionally. That’s our job; we’re like a sponge, which can sometimes be a curse because you can’t switch it off. I could be in a cafe and my whole experience is ruined because I don’t like their mural. After doing a whole heap of commercial pottery the other day I felt like I deserved something for myself so I made this weird pot. The inspiration for that was feeling like I could reward myself because I’d worked so hard.

 “Inspiration could be as simple as going for a walk and seeing the shape of a leaf or someone in a cafe, the colour of a juice, or a quirky stack of rainbow cups; it doesn’t just come from one thing it comes from everywhere. I think designers are absorbent by nature, all things visual and around us can affect us emotionally. That’s our job; we’re like a sponge, which can sometimes be a curse because you can’t switch it off.”

 Inspiration could be as simple as going for a walk and seeing the shape of a leaf or someone in a cafe, the colour of a juice, or a quirky stack of rainbow cups; it doesn’t just come from one thing it comes from everywhere. I think designers are absorbent by nature, all things visual and around us can affect us emotionally. That’s our job; we’re like a sponge, which can sometimes be a curse because you can’t switch it off.
What do you find most enjoyable about pottery? Is there a satisfying and rewarding aspect to it?

Opening the kiln after the second firing, when you can see all the colours and how they turned out, is like a breathless physical rush. I look at the colours and I want to touch it but I can’t as it’s too hot (I’ve burnt myself a few times or cracked them because I’ve opened it too early) it’s like a drug.

What are you most excited about coming up in the future?

The unknown is exciting as well as potentially becoming a known artist. If I die tomorrow I’d be happy that I was almost there however I’d really like to be able to call myself an artist and have a show with people collecting my work (which I’m kind of in denial about). I’m looking forward to more making and more workshops. I get a buzz out of watching people in my workshops get the same rush when they see the end result, it’s rewarding to teach someone something that they are proud of.

Learn more about Therese here.


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