All posts filed under: Profiles

Lauren Campbell | Potter

In a weathered, open-sided shed behind an old house in the middle of Clunes, Lauren Campbell is in her favourite place. A mud-strewn pottery wheel sits at one end, at the other are shelves laden with vessels in various states of undress. Finished mugs, bowls and platters glisten in the afternoon light, brightly coloured glazes dripping sea blues, lilacs and speckled creams over their earthy bodies. “Getting my hands dirty, sitting on the wheel, it’s just a place of calm,” says Lauren. Lauren discovered pottery about 5 years ago after being captivated by some beautiful ceramics while on a work experience placement with furniture designer, Mark Tuckey, in Sydney. “He had a big shop and had this ceramicist’s products in there and I fell in love with them”, she says.  Now in her second year of TAFE, studying the Advanced Diploma in Visual Arts, majoring in Ceramics, Lauren divides her time between classes, throwing clay on her wheel, teaching pottery workshops and taking care of the hidden necessities of being a self-employed businesswoman, under the …

Kylie Bridges | Artist and Collaborator

“We were all set up in Sydney,” says Kylie Bridges, shaking her head in slight disbelief at what she’s about to say. “I really didn’t think he’d walk away from it all, but he did and we’re here and we love it”, she says, referring to her husband, Mark, a self-employed bathroom renovator and musician, and their decision to move to Clunes 13 years ago. “I still actually go ‘wow, we really did it’, because we were in a really nice situation, in a little house, great friends, great street”, Kylie explains. A chance encounter between their son Josh, a toddler at the time, and a stranger’s playful dog on a Byron Bay beach changed their lives. The dog’s owner told them how he’d lived all over the world but had now settled in Clunes. “‘It was God’s country’, he said, and he told us to ‘do yourselves a favour and just go out into the hinterland while you’re up here’”, Kylie recounts. She never did learn his name. Now primarily a self-employed graphic designer, …

David Meldrum | Paediatrician

Paediatrician, David Meldrum, initially studied engineering at university, but left halfway through his degree. “I couldn’t stand it, quite frankly the maths was beyond me!” he exclaims, sitting in his office in Lismore Base Hospital. After a break working and travelling, David thought he’d give medicine a try, and hasn’t looked back. After finishing his medical degree in Melbourne, where he grew up, David took a year off to travel in Australia and overseas. He settled in Sydney when he returned, and there met his wife, Kim, who had also just been travelling the globe. It was 1996 and Kim had recently emigrated from England. The two met at a party and immediately hit it off, swapped suitcase stories, and it turned out they’d been to a lot of the same places, right down to both having stayed with the same family in the same yurt in a remote village in western China. David, Kim and their two boys, Ross, now 10, and Connor, almost 12, moved to Eureka in 2008 after David got a …

Micheal Connor | Woodworker, Luthier, Toolmaker

Micheal Connor doesn’t do things half-heartedly. “If you want to build a bit of furniture you want to make sure it’s going to be here in 100 years”, he says. A part-time woodworker, toolmaker and luthier, Micheal is fastidious about getting his designs right, spending time testing out his prototypes and making sure every component meets his high standards. Consequently, some of his projects have taken him a long time. “It’s the anti-Ikea furniture”, he says proudly. Micheal and his wife, Sue, live on 7.5 acres in Corndale, and their home boasts the fruits of Micheal’s carpentry skills. The dining tables, dining chairs, sofa, raised flowerbeds, pitched roof of the patio are all carefully designed and made. Even the outdoor chairs we are sitting in are thoughtfully crafted prototypes, made with hinged backrests which adjust to whether you are sitting straight up eating lunch or leaning back loosening your belt buckle afterwards.  I notice there are only two of this kind, though. “One of these days I’ll make some more”, he says, “but I’ve got …

Graeme and Jen Stockdale | The Stockpot Kitchen

A tall man with a wiry beard and a flat cap greets me in the kitchen of the Bangalow Bowling Club. It’s only 10.00am but already he’s got a huge pot of pork belly on the stove. This is Graeme Stockdale, one half of the brains behind catering and restaurant team, The Stockpot Kitchen. Graeme and his wife, Jen, started their catering company after Graeme lost his job as head chef at Liliana’s Café when it closed last year. “I’d never had a job pulled out from under me before”, Graeme says earnestly. It’s only a moment, though, before he’s smiling again, resolute about their decision to go it alone. “Even if it falls on its arse and ruins me at least I’ve tried it!” When they first started The Stockpot Kitchen, Graeme says the goal was that after one year it would be his full-time job. In serendipitous timing, in July this year Graeme and Jen took up permanent residence in the Bangalow Bowling Club, serving their hearty, home-style fare for dinner Tuesday to …

Peggy Young | Clunes

“There’s not a lot to tell about my family, I don’t think”, says Peggy, modestly. “Thanks very much!” replies Malcolm, her eldest surviving son. A sheepish smile emerges on Peggy’s face. “Well, there is a little bit to tell.” We are sitting in Margaret “Peggy” Young’s living room on a chilly winter day in Clunes, the reverse-cycle air-conditioner blasting welcome warm air over the three of us. “My great grandfather’s name was Hely,” Peggy begins. “His father, Frederick Augustus Hely, came out in 1823 to be principal superintendent of convicts.” The tale goes that Peggy’s great grandfather, Hovenden Hely, just an infant on the boat trip, became an explorer who accompanied Ludwig Leichhardt on his second expedition through Queensland. “They clashed. So Hovenden was in Leichhardt’s bad books. But Hovenden didn’t think much of Leichhardt either,” Peggy jokes. When Leichhardt set off for a third time in 1848 and vanished with his entire party somewhere west of the Darling Downs, Hovenden led the expedition to search for them. “So that’s my claim to fame.” Peggy …

Julie Casey | Milliner

The idea of leaving her career in banking had been floating around in Julie Casey’s head for some time. More time with her only son, Ben, and a change of direction were top of her list. Looking for something to do from home, Julie began testing the waters with a few millinery courses in Melbourne, the epicentre of the trade in Australia. She had begun to enjoy her new creative outlet, but it was a family accident eight years ago that finally forced her hand and cemented her decision. Aged seven and a half, Ben’s right foot got run over by the family’s ride on mower. It had to be amputated, and a prosthetic limb put in its place. Julie took three months’ leave to care for Ben and her mind was made up. “I said, ‘yep, that’s it.’ I wanted to be at home. It’s only a short time that your kids are with you, and I’ve only got one.” Growing up in Byron Bay, Julie and her husband, Paul, met at high school …

John Stewart and Leonie Lane | Creatives

When government arts funding was slashed and courses cut from TAFE campuses two years ago, ceramicist John Stewart went back to his first love. At the time he was head teacher of Creative Industries at Lismore TAFE, and he left a long and successful teaching career to get back to his workshop outside Clunes. John discovered ceramics as a teenager, teaching himself the techniques from books. When he chose it for his Higher School Certificate his teachers were surprisingly supportive. “Everyone was so relieved because I was a dreadful painter!” he says. John and his father made his first pottery wheel, and with books and practice, John honed his skills at ‘throwing’ (working clay on a potter’s wheel). “They say it takes seven years to get good at throwing”, he says, but these days his work uses other techniques, and throwing is more of a love. John’s partner, Leonie Lane, also recently left a teaching career to pursue her own art full time. Until January this year, Leonie taught Digital Art and Design at Southern …

Emily and Andrea Bonotto a.k.a. Il Carretto

Take 2 parts husband and wife, 1 part Naples sourdough starter and 1 part self-belief. Add 1 wood-fired oven on wheels, a warm Bexhill evening and 50 kids untethered. Combine gently with a flexible spoon and knead regularly for 3 years. Turn out onto a well-worn village hall and enjoy with friends. If you asked a 17-year-old Andrea Bonotto what he’d be doing today, he probably would have said ‘working in the restaurant at my parent’s ‘otel’. Growing up next door to their hotel in Vicenza, north-eastern Italy, working for the family business seemed certain until his father sold it and Andrea was left wondering what to do. Low paying warehouse jobs, a transcontinental pilgrimage and a teaching degree later, he is back doing what he knows. “It would have been a lot cheaper if I went straight there”, he concedes with a smile. After a breakup, a holiday to Brisbane in 2001 seemed a good escape. At a pub, Andrea met Emily Lockton, and in 2006 the couple moved back to Bexhill, Emily’s hometown, …

Katka Adams | Artist

When Katka Adams and her mother arrived in Australia as refugees they didn’t speak a word of English. It was 1969 and Katka was seven years old. Escaping the political repression of communism in Prague, Katka and her mother moved through several migrant hostels, including Bonegilla near Albury-Wodonga, before settling in Melbourne. “They just stuck me in a class of regular kids. I had to relearn my whole way of writing, and I didn’t understand what the words meant”, says Katka, in her now strong, easy Australian accent. The language barrier meant Katka spent a lot of time alone drawing, even as a young child, and developed a fondness for art that never wavered. Finishing high school in Sydney, Katka had her heart set on going to art school. “The career adviser said, ‘You’ve really got to look at your other options’, and I said, ‘what other options, there are no other options!’” It is now 20 years since Katka and her husband, Russell, bought their small settler’s cottage on the eastern edge of Clunes. …