I first met Annemieke Mulders of Studio Mulders when she responded to an email I sent to Perth area potters asking for assistance planning to visit as many clay spots as possible during my time in Perth, Western Australia. She was incredibly helpful with planning my journey and I was thrilled I got a chance to meet her and see her creative space while in Perth.
Getting to then share tea and conversation with her in her dreamy outdoor portion of her studio which can only be described as a "Perfect Pottery Lanai" was so nice! The sun was warm, but the spring breeze from the ocean still cool.
This extension of her indoor studio stores many of her molds and work surfaces all under well-lit cover to enjoy the breeze coming from the Indian Ocean toward her main working space. Where I live and work it is often too wet to work outside - and the mosquitoes love me - so I tend to be behind glass or screen adoring the natural world outside my studio. In Perth, the climate is relatively mild year-round and relatively dry for a large portion of the year facilitating a perfect combination of forces to allow for such a wonderful outdoor work space.
Anna in her dreamy outdoor well-lit workspace!
Pair of drinking vessels by Annemieke of Studio Mulders on her Perfect Pottery Lanai
Anna and I shared conversation about many topics including travel, the state of global politics (although we quickly found that topic too depressing to continue), life experiences, nature, animals, and work experiences. Similar to meeting other potters our conversation was easy - like friends who were getting back together after a time apart versus just meeting someone. She and I shared many interesting things in-common including our loves of both Science/Technology, Clay, and our furbaby dogs.
Prior to pursuing her current path with clay, Anna worked as a Experimental Physicist. Considering I changed majors from Physics to Environmental Science early in my college career, I did not feel I was equipped to quite talk Physics with her, but we both appreciated our individual scientific foundations. We found we are both driven to experiment and find solutions to problems which are now applied to clay instead of science.
Anna is a total global citizen having lived and grown-up in the Netherlands, we talked about places like Rotterdam and Delft (I love the Netherlands and dream about returning there one day on some more travel adventures!). She spent about ten years with sculptor Cor Dam in Delft before moving to Australia in 1999. She and her partner had also lived in the Northeastern part of Australia but found themselves desiring to return to Perth. Of the people I met in Perth, there is just something about the area that draws a particular type of person. Most were not from Perth originally and had found they were enamored by the natural beauty, remoteness, Indian Ocean climate, and personality to set down roots.
Anna works primarily in porcelain high-fire clays and has formulated glazes through experimentation fired in the clean air oxidation of the coast that evoke a similarity to the sparkling natural elements along the Turquoise Coastline north of Perth. The colors are vibrant and oceanic like the incredible spring floral blooms along the Western Australia coast mimicking the pristine turquoise waters and vibrant bottlebrush blooms along with hints of sparkling sea via gold lusters.
Stack of drinking vessels with customized glazes
- each an individual science experiment.
A lovely oceanic palette of colors displayed in Studio Mulders Functional Wares.
Anna also enjoys experimenting sculpturally. She starts with a mold of a perfect form and slowly deconstructs and reorganizes its shape through a process of controlled mold destruction and reconstruction to arrive at a series of cast forms that leave you wondering how they came to be. They appear both fragile, but balanced like clay-based yoga poses against the bright blue sky of the Perth atmosphere.
Sculptures with the bright blue Perth sky behind and lit by the warm sun in Fremantle, WA
(Image from artwalkfreo.com)
Sculptures on display in Anna's Studio in Western Australia
My journey throughout Australia and meeting the ceramists and clay enthusiasts in each city would not have been as special as it was without a visit to Anna's studio. I am grateful for her time and openness to invite me, a complete stranger from the USA, in for tea - a testament to warmth and openness of the clay community as a whole globally! Thank you Anna! I do hope our paths cross again in the future!
Visit Anna's website here to see more of her lovely work! And follow her on Instagram @StudioMulders