Tucked away down a little Brunswick alley, a potter we find extremely inspiring and beautiful toils away in her home studio from morning to night. Sophie Harle is the designer and maker of the pottery line Shiko. She throws tableware, cups, bowls, vases, plates, platters - pretty much anything that is useful. The vessels are quiet, simple, functional and humble. We’ve been slowly collecting her pieces for some time now, and we can tell you that they’re the first cups, bowls and plates we reach for in the cupboard. They’re the kind of wares that make morning cuppas feel richer, your oatmeal taste better and generally make meals 100% more aesthetically pleasing.
Sophie’s journey to full time throwing has been a bit of a long, round-about one. A love of making things with her hands and being a bit of a messy kid led her to study ceramics at VCA in the 90’s, before moving into Art Curatorship. After living in Japan for some time, she dropped back down to Australia and worked in PR and market research for a decade before gaining the independence and stability required to throw pots full time. About four years ago, the stars aligned and Sophie quit her humdrum job to spend long, beautiful days at her wheel in her studio home, and Shiko was born.
Each collection of vessels is produced in a small batch and celebrates the uniqueness and variation of handmade objects. Sophie makes each of her glazes by hand before firing in a gas kiln. The results are subtle variations in colour, shine and finish making each pot totally original and one of a kind. There is a real Japanese sensibility about her approach to form, soft surfaces and the gorgeous neutral palettes she employs in her pots. Shades of oatmeal and light speckles are occasionally interrupted by a soft pink, blue or teal or an elegant wooden lid and handle.
Sophie’s work can be found in Melbourne at Craft, Monk House Design and Mr Kitly, or on her online store.