First published on 14 Dec 2011. Updated on 15 May 2012.
If you like dining out (and who doesn’t?) then chances are you’ve already handled, drank from, or eaten off Travis Jeffreys’ work. Through his company Pot Black Ceramics, the Melbourne-based ceramicist supplies handmade crockery including plates, bowls and cups to some of the city’s swankiest restaurants, including Movida, Anada and Gingerboy.
Jeffreys likes “playing with mud” as he calls it, and has studied pottery for some 20 years. After working as a Landscape Architect and Interior Designer, he got back into spinning the wheel after releasing he was “taking things out of the world, and wanted to put something back”. He received a commission a few years back to make crockery and art for the newly opened Movida, and now supplies restaurants across town, while his range is available to buy at Wilkins and Kent.
Working from his North Melbourne studio, Jeffreys exclusively uses Australian clays. Each piece of clay eventually becomes a bowl, plate or cup that is slightly different, imperfect and unique. The potter used to try and make every piece as uniform as possible, but now realises the small differences are what gives his work it character.
Jeffreys believes people are drawn to hand-made products because they capture a part of the maker. “There’s an energy or an essence that you’re sharing. It’s subtle, even subconscious, but I think we yearn for that. Through hand made products we can tap into that connection.”
So the next time you’re sitting down to a bowl of tapas, remember that the food isn’t necessarily the only piece of art on the table.