Sajo Star Student February – Dianne Sevior and Taking Your Pottery to the Garden

This month I interviewed Dianne Sevior, whose fanciful creations always get a lot of attention and generate delight in the studio!

 How did you get started with ceramics?

It was two years ago, my son was growing bonsai plants at the time, and needed cheaper pots. He knew I loved the pottery wheel when I’d tried it at school as a child, so he gave me a voucher for pottery lessons, and I came here.

I gave the pottery wheel a go and I made a few round pots on the wheel, and then I started with the handbuilding. I started to make plenty of pots, and then realised I didn’t have room for them in the house! So that’s where the idea to make outdoor stuff came from.

Take me through a virtual tour of your garden.

Well there are big sculptures of my granddaughter and grandson under the big weeping cherries. There’s a dog, tortoises in a pond, a wombat, a worm, porcupines, a magpie… and I’ve got some chooks getting fired.

So you love adorning your garden with your creations?

I love spending time in the garden, it’s my thing. I do all the handyman stuff that I learned from my dad, I built a retaining wall in the garden. I also install the led lighting, do mosaicing, and tomorrow I’m doing a fused glass workshop.

How long does it take you to make one of your bigger pieces?

Usually 3-5 days, depending on how long it needs to get strong enough to continue to build on it. My studio is the kitchen table and the family room, so every day I’ll walk past it and think, oh, maybe a bit more detail here or there, so I tinker with it. And I also do a lot of pottery at night since I have restless sleep, so I’ll be doing pottery at 2, 3 am. I think about it when I go to bed.

 What is your favourite part of the process?

Just building the piece up and watching it turn into something!

And the least favorite?

The glazing never quite turns out the color or how I want it. Or it’ll end up patchy. I’m usually disappointed with the glazing. It’s hard to get consistent results.

Where do you find inspiration?

I like just searching on Google, and something will come up that makes me feel like, oh, I don’t mind doing that! I don’t mind doing weird looking things.

Tell me about your water fixtures.

Well, I did 3 revisions of the water lily water fountain until I got it right. I installed the fountain with the water pump myself. I may put some fish into it, once I see how quickly the water evaporates. I’ve been thinking of doing another one, but not sure of ideas yet. I was even thinking of getting yabbies to put inside!

I’m also thinking about doing a water bird like a flamingo, but it would be hard to get it to stand on one leg. I try to think about what the pros and cons are for making each piece, and the practicality of having it fired.

 I love Dianne’s outdoor sculptures, and was really inspired by how lovely it is to have your own creations peppering the garden. So many of us default to making homewares, so it’s so great to see the body of work that Dianne has produced. I love the sense of humour that many of her creations display, pottery doesn't have to be all that serious!

My key takeaways:

Infuse your creations with a sense of humour

Think about the place your creations may have in the garden, not just inside.

Find ideas online and then make them your own.

When going for bigger and more elaborate pieces, take into consideration the practical challenges of firing the pieces in the kiln, to avoid disappointment.