Tanikas meaning on this earth feels immediately apparent once you’ve spent time with her. She’s an alchemist, she takes everything in this life and gives it meaning. You almost become addicted to watching her contemplate everything around her before she chooses to interact with it, excitedly wondering what she sees and what she’s going to do with it.

She lives in a soft, mysterious way. Her edges are sharp but graceful, constantly seeing, feeling, emanating some sense of quiet omniscience. Through her lens she finds the complexities and depths of life and transmutes them using clay. The result is almost a ceramic incarnation of herself. Her work doesn't shout at you, you almost have to search for it as it camouflages elusively within a scape. But once you find it you can’t tear yourself away, every moment spent with her work rewards you with new meaning, like rereading a poem again and again, finding new truths every time. They seem to pulse with a soft energy; devastatingly beautiful, peaceful, tender.

Whether any of this is intentional or whether it’s simply that an alternative would be impossible for her, when Tanika touches clay it bears the prints of her forever.

The ritualistic nature of ceramics implies that it couldn’t not be a meaningful channel for the consciousness, it’s very nature is to caress the earth, and transform it into another shape that serves man, be it aesthetically or functionally. The profound relationship between clay and ceramicist is so easy to overlook, especially today when it’s almost a flooded market. That’s why it’s so beautiful to hear how someone like Tanika perceives her relationship with her craft, and how she uses clay to translate her soul.

When asked to share with us something that distills her life's meaning, she told me ‘Om mani padme hum’,
which means  ‘The jewel is in the lotus’ in sanskrit.

What about your work keeps you curious?

The fact that 1kg of clay can have millions of different outcomes depending on who’s hands it’s in and what’s going through their mind in that moment. As well as the complex nature of glazing.

Do you think about how your craft is one of the oldest human inventions, does it feel primordial when you do it?

Sometimes I have to remind myself how long the art of pottery goes back. I remember wandering around the Nezu museum in Tokyo and looking at ceramics from as far back as the 4th century, I recall it really blowing my mind and trying to wrap my head around all those years between then and now. So yes, it does have a primordial feel when my hands are making and It feels nice to be a small link in an immensely long chain of pottery.

Does the rich history of ceramics influence your creative process or do you sink into your own world with less external influence and more focus on self-innovation?

Looking at the history of ceramics inspires me greatly but when it comes to me making there’s less external influence and more focus on letting the clay do the talking. At times I sit down with no idea of what I want to create and it somehow emerges. I remember the first time I made a side table, I had the idea in my head for a really long time and wanted to make one but I didn’t know what that looked like. One day I sat down at my bench and rolled out a big slab of clay and cut a shape. After a moment I thought to myself that it would make a nice top of a side table and then from there I let the clay guide me. That’s usually the process.

What do you think about when you’re working in the studio, is it meditative or meticulous for you?

It’s a very meditative process. If I’m in the flow I will at times emerge hours later feeling like all my thoughts were just clouds floating across me without making much impact.

Why do you think people fuck with you, what’s the magic?

I find it hard to answer questions like this but if I had to say something - I think it would have to be because I’m making work from my heart?

What’s the universe you’ve created through your ceramics, accidentally or otherwise?

Ceramics is a huge part of my life and it flows into every other avenue which makes up my universe. So, there’s no real disconnect.

Describe to me the feeling of your existence when you’re making ceramics, versus when you worked for someone else doing something not yours?

It just feels free. I have a really hard time associating ceramics with work, there’s no stress or pressure that surrounds it. I’m unsure if this helps me in some aspects of running a business but I guess in others it does.

Do you think arts matter, tell me why?

Absolutely I think it does. I think it’s so important for people to have an outlet to express themselves. And that comes in many shapes and sizes.

If the studio is your classroom, what has ceramics taught you about life or yourself?

It has taught me a lot. A big one would be to let go of all attachment to any particular outcome when firing work. Even though it’s tough to put into practice (especially when a side table you’ve been working on for 2 months cracks to a point of no repair). I try to carry that lesson over into everyday life.

How do you show yourself through your work, in your words?

The piece has to make sense in my mind and when it does and I feel it’s finished I can see myself in it.

You’ve been doing this for a while now, how have you seen the industry evolve over the last decade?

I have, I did my first 4-week hand building course when I was 18 in Melbourne. So, it’s been 10 years of frequently making. It’s only been since moving to Sydney in 2019 that I have been doing it more full time. I remember back to my first course I did and my friends not really getting why I wanted to do it and now I think it’s something that’s more understood and a lot of people are taking it up or want to do a class.

What inspires your style/work?

I think my biggest inspiration would have to be nature and architecture and all the forms that are in both worlds.


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KCP Collective respectfully acknowledges the Traditional Owners of Country throughout Australia and recognises their continuing connection to land, waters, and culture. We pay our respects to their Elders past, present and emerging. Always was, always will be.