At the invitation of Judith Glover, a professor at RMIT Industrial Design course, Antonio Aricò lead a 3 month workshop designing and developing a handmade ceramic tableware collection.

His inspiration for the ‘Shell Collection’ came last summer in Calabria while he was swimming in the Ionic Sea. An idea that has been explored in the past with different designers and ceramic companies approaching the link between shells and ceramics, for example: the “Nautilus” collection developed in 1780s by Wedgwood.

The experience of running the workshop was surprisingly intense and charming. The young Australian Students were great in following all the processes from the sketches to the making of the moulds, the slip casting and the glazing.

“I am particularly thankful to Judith Glover, and to name a few: Hamish Maggs, Mechelle Shooter, Richard Greenacre, Mohamed Osman and Abderrahmane Nouamani, for this great experience”.

Antonio explains: “I wanted this collection to be a funny and graceful way to describe the Australian hidden beauties often connected to the idyllic idea of sea, lightness and exotic feelings. I wanted to use basic cultural stereotypes and create a surreal and dreamy imaginary around them”.

"Coming from the south of Italy, I also wanted to connect my origins and identity to something that is for me one of the greatest natural beauties: The SEA!". He adds: "Transforming organic and natural shapes into daily objects is an approach very much used in the past and is very characteristic of the European art and craft movement. The porcelain used in the white collection is “White Southern Ice”, an Australian made porcelain, while the clay used for the grey collection is “WSS porcelain” also from Australia. While each collection is embued with their own unique qualities, all have this main characteristic: a “lustre” pearlescent finishing typical of mother pearl and shells".

Slightly baroque, this interpretation brings a moody exploration of organic shapes and lustred finishes, with a strong connotation to something natural and luxurious at the same time. A collection to use and to display as your dear Grandmother used to do!

photos Johnny Sisavath