Wonder Woman // Minaal Lawn, Ceramic Artist

Yes! Journal

Wonder Woman // Minaal Lawn, Ceramic Artist

Radical yes Minaal Lawn CeramicsBy Kerryn Moscicki, founder and brand director. Photography by Kristin Wursthorn.

It’s been a long time since we presented a wonder woman story.

There’s all kinds of reasons for that. After more than 20 interviews, for me personally the format had felt a bit exhausted and in our pursuit of always improving what we do we and trying different things, we had put them to the side for a while. Truthfully - we were surprised how many of our customers told us they missed them and wanted to read more. So we wanted to re-visit the format with a story that is in some ways more personal and definitely very close to my heart.

Minaal Lawn is a wonder woman.

A Ceramic Artist and mother of three, Minaal and I have been friends for more than 20 years. To give that context, we shared our combined 19thand 20thbirthday’s together after we meet working at Kookai in 1998. We were united by a love of fashion and shared ambition for study – both of us completing Business Degree’s and working part-time at Kookai for fun. And it was really fun. We travelled to India together and I attended her brother’s incredible Indian wedding. And for the better part of a decade we did a lot of dancing in a lot of amazing places.

Cut to 20 years later, and Minaal now lives in the country with her partner and 3 children having completed a period of intensive study at the School of Clay and Art (SoCA) in Brunswick. Her work and practice revolves around intimately handmade, abstract sculptures that draw on her Indian – Australian heritage, background in fashion and love for ceramics.

Minaal has always had an easy grace and colourful style that remains allusively refined and informed by her Indian heritage. If she wasn’t so kind she would be intimidating in her put together and considered ways.

So after catching up in The Fitting Salon, we came up with a new adventure for working together, using our AW19 palettes as a spring board for a new series of works Minaal had been experimenting with. The colourful result is a series of matt glazed works – Minaal has dubbed ‘Nots’ – which she explains “explore the heavy iconisation of knots in Eastern ritual and draw upon my ancestral Persian folklore, wives tales and (childhood) superstition”.

On Saturday 2nd February we will be launching Minaal's ‘Not’ (2018) works with a dedicated window exhibit and the opportunity to buy the mesmerising works in-store. To celebrate the realisation of the project, we caught up with Min to find out more about her practice, her love of fashion and what being radical means to her...

Radical yes Minaal Lawn Ceramics

You recently moved the whole family from Brunswick to Daylesford. How has this decision affected your practice? Any change in inspiration or ideas you want to pursue. 

Yes, I have only just finished unpacking! It’s been a busy summer so far. With regard to my practice, I now have the space to have my own studio which is super exciting.  I have the time (and head space) to do more creative play and deepen my glaze development in different firing environments than I have been using previously.  I can also increase the scale of my forms. I am also just looking forward to take the things I have learned in a school / shared studio environment and really make them mine to allow for my own independent art practice.

Radical yes Minaal Lawn Ceramics

Tell us more about your initial decision to study ceramics? Can you share any learnings you have made about yourself through the practice?

I have always had an interest in ceramics and art but never had the time to purse in depth. When I was pregnant with my third child I felt the need to do something for myself (!) and did a short course.  There, I met a great teacher who ended up starting a fabulous art school around the corner from where I lived! I took that as a sign and have been studying there for the past 3 years, loving it. 

Learnings about myself - I was surprised to be relishing study so much! During my time at Uni studying was always something endured, not necessarily enjoyed for the sake of learning.  But throughout my art studies, I enjoyed every second, something I don’t see changing anytime soon.  I guess that comes with age too.

Radical yes Minaal Lawn Ceramics

Can you tell us about any times where you became 'stuck' - creatively, emotionally or physically? What didi you do to get past those feelings? 

Anytime I’m stuck creatively, I reach for a book. I find reading really unlocks the ideas.  I also try to think about why I’m doing what I am doing to get to the actual essence, once I see that clearly then the ideas feel truthful to me and I just follow that.

After 3 years of studying ceramics, what themes do you find yourself returning to most frequently? Is there a specific mood you are trying to conjure in your pieces or do the outcomes remain unknown until the work is completed? 

I recently had a very happy moment when I realised that my work is constantly returning to this space that I occupy between being Indian and Australian, being both and neither at the same time. It seems so obvious now, but it’s taken me a while to clarify this in my mind and in my work I can see this getting clearer and clearer.  The aesthetic of the work is somewhat controlled through the technical knowledge I’ve gained but there is always an element of surprise when you’re dealing with fire in the last stage of the making process!  But everything I make is of a certain style I think, because it comes from the things that resonate with me…

Radical yes Minaal Lawn Ceramics

We love the way you have styled our new vegan sandals collection for this shoot! Can you tell us more about your approach to dressing these days - do you capsule wardrobe / keep it minimal / kon mari method (one item out before one in)... What do you look for in a pair of 'investment' shoes?

My approach to dressing these days has become very pragmatic – but that doesn’t mean boring I hope! With 3 kids I need to be agile and comfortable, so fuss free, great fabrics and flat shoes are key. I always wear colour – a lot of it, very rarely black (intentionally – often challenging myself to avoid altogether) and like to wear things that are a little ridiculous too. But hey, who doesn’t?!  I also avoid wearing any outfit twice. Don’t get me wrong I’ll wear clothing items multiple times, but in differing combinations.  I can’t help it - just enjoy fashion too much.

Investment shoes must be somewhat practical, a great colour and go with enough in my wardrobe to justify the cost ;)

Radical yes Minaal Lawn Ceramics

Tell us more about the outfits you have picked for this shoot - any key pieces with great stories?

Broderie pants and white tee – pants are actually from an Indian Salwaar Kameez outfit my mum bought for herself in India, but I stole the pants from her…!  And the tee is from a shoebox-sized cafe in Tokyo, opposite the Japanese-only speaking barber my husband and 4 year old son were getting haircuts at…. You can imagine the story there.

Navy printed broderie dress – vintage store in Tokyo, I got about 7 mins of non-child time to shop and tried on a number of outfits in a tiny change room! Didn’t even look in the mirror to see the fit, but I knew it didn’t feel wrong so it should be fine! I tend to buy my clothes and actually go into stores when I’m overseas. In Australia I am pretty much online only. 

Camo shirt – from a fabulous store attached to a contemporary art gallery in Colombo Sri Lanka – a bonus 2 of my loves in 1!

Radical yes Minaal Lawn Ceramics

What does being radical mean to you?

Being receptive to what is around me and being true to myself.  I think when you just be who you are you’re effortlessly radical.

Instagram: @minaal_lawn_ceramics

Radical yes Minaal Lawn Ceramics

Radical yes Minaal Lawn Ceramics

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