Tell us a bit about yourself and how you got to be doing what you’re doing?
I was born in Albury, NSW. I have two brothers. Up until I was 14 we lived and travelled in a caravan because mum and dad were fruit pickers. We went were the work was. I lost count of the number of primary schools we went to. Some we went to for a couple of weeks, some for a couple of years.
We finally settled in Darwin, in 1972. I met my husband, Murray, when I was 17, we got married at 19. It feels like we have had so many different chapters in our lives. We’ve had three kids, managed a caravan park, started an adventure tourism business, moved to a tiny aboriginal community east of Arnhem Land. At the community the three kids did School of the Air and I was their “teacher”. It was a very fulfilling but challenging time, living so remotely. I’ve always been a bookkeeper and helped to manage the various businesses we were part of.
After seven years we moved back to Darwin to a lovely block of land where we had a hobby farm, growing tropical flowers and Murray went back to his trade, creating a building company. After the kids had grown up and left home, we traded it all in and bought a caravan to travel around Australia. We ended up doing that for about ten years and finally settled back in Perth, to help with the grandkids. I go a job at an office doing bookkeeping but we couldn’t sit still for long. We went on a big overseas adventure, to Europe and Canada.
When we got back, Winterwares was just starting to get established and I didn’t want to go back to sitting in front of a computer all day. Sim needed a bookkeeper so I started helping her with that. Then it evolved into helping with making and now I’m here all the time. I didn’t know anything about ceramics before, I’ve learned it all here. I’m very happy with my decision to stay and be part of the studio.
It’s a huge lifestyle decision to permanently downsize from a house to a caravan, tell us about that.
We made the decision to travel around Australia in a caravan because we wanted to do it while we were still young and healthy enough to really enjoy it. Murray’s building company was really successful, it had grown to a point that it was getting too stressful and time-consuming to manage. After the three kids were all out of the house we wanted to start the next chapter. We kept our sentimental and personal items, some artwork that we have in storage and the rest we sold. Because I lived in a caravan when I was young it wasn’t a huge adjustment for me. I never had a lot growing up, I don’t need a lot of things.
What’s your role at Winterwares?
My role is studio manager, I manage the workflow of the studio, so everyone knows what they’re making every week. I oversee the orders that come in on the online store, inventory and bookkeeping. I do lots of making too, mainly plates and bowls.
What is a simple pleasure or daily ritual that brings you joy?
Going home after work in the afternoon, I sit down and take a moment to myself, I have a cup of tea in my stoneware mug and unwind.
Name three things you can’t live without.
We went from an 11 acre block to a caravan, so I’ve realised I can live without a lot of things. I don’t need much. I’m most happy when I’m with my husband and a cup of tea.
What’s your favourite Winterwares product?
I love the wabi-sabi bowl. I like it because looks beautiful in any setting and it’s a signature piece, it’s something you can pass down.