South-West Queensland creative Melanie McEvoy was drawn to pottery in her teens. This life obsession with clay and ceramics has led her to international acclaim for her ceramic creations and unique motif designs. In the sleepy rural town of Mitchell, Queensland, Mel thoughtfully creates, designs and sculpts with clay in her home studio. Her love of combining form and motif design resulted in the evolution of a unique hand painted ceramic series that caught the eye of international lifestyle brand Anthropologie.
A gentle soul who draws inspiration from the natural world around her, as well as her own spiritual connection to her Maori heritage, Mel says she still cannot believe that doing something you love can lead to international recognition. “When I first got the invitation email to collaborate with Anthropologie, my first reaction was ‘I’m out here in the middle of nowhere – why me?!’ I thought it was a scam,” reflected Mel. Many weeks later, Mel finally replied to the email after checking in with fellow ceramists in the United States who confirmed that, in fact, it was all legitimate.
Anthropologie, which retails a unique curated product offering, is driven by collaborations with artists all around the world. Mel worried at first that her designs “might get lost in translation”, with her usual creative process resulting in unique one-off pieces that may be handled up to 20 times by her own hands as studio potter. Once the collaboration began, however, Mel felt comfortable with the authenticity of the process. “I think when these things come your way you just have to say ‘yes’,” says Mel.
Mel created her own ceramic plates and cups featuring her handpainted designs in four colourways and shipped them off to the United States, happily toiling over the designs for over a month straight. “I loved the process, my creative mind took over and I worked solidly until I was happy,” she said. It was a surprise to Mel that her designs led to an additional line of wallpaper. Visit Anthropologie online and you will find Mel’s motif converted into a wall paper design under ‘Queensland Wallpaper – Artist Collaboration Mel McEvoy’, together with artistic collaborations from around the world.
The designs are inspired by Mel’s surrounding natural environment, with the final design for the cup and plate series featuring interpretations of local bottletree pods and native flora. Mel’s iconic and striking black and white designs also feature in the Anthropologie series, drawing on subliminal influences from Maori art and design.
Allowing room for creative process and the evolution of her style, Mel also continues to create her more rustic pieces, including trials with local clay and ceramic glazes from locally foraged river rocks. “I have come to learn that I might not ever have one defined style — I am constantly fascinated by shape, form and design in clay and that experimentation is part of my journey. I feel grateful to being doing what I love,” she said.
Connect with Mel on Instagram.