In Good Company with Melissa Lellouche

In Good Company with Melissa Lellouche

 

Welcome to our new journal series In Good Company. Today we take you into the world of the talented Melissa Lellouche, a Northern Rivers based ceramicist who handcrafts beautiful pieces - from everyday tableware and mugs, to platters and decorative vases from her home studio. At The Dharma Door we’ve always had an appreciation for natural materials and earthy textures, so when we first spotted Melissa’s work there was an instant affinity. We selected some of her pieces for our recent ‘Elevate Your Dining’ photoshoot and they accompanied our jute and palm leaf placemats and coasters perfectly.

Melissa’s signature style has evolved through the use of highly textured terracotta clay and a stunning colour palette that draws inspiration from nature. We’re particularly impressed by how she skilfully applies a matte white glaze that highlights the contrast with the earthy terracotta clay. Shades of white, greens and blues, deep bronze and  gold glazes also feature strongly across her body of work. We caught up with Melissa to discuss her creative practice and her tips for building your own ceramics collection to elevate your everyday dining experience. 

 

Before we talk about your ceramics, tell us a little bit about yourself?

I was born in Cannes in France and raised in Tel Aviv in Israel. I have always been a creative and actually worked as a florist for a while until I became a ceramicist. I migrated to Australia with my husband and settled in Byron Bay. 



Have you always worked with clay and ceramics, how did you become a ceramicist? 

I started working with clay around 15 years ago in Israel. I began as a casual worker at a home pottery studio which was owned by a beautiful woman named Michal Polak. She was so generous with her time and over the four years I worked with her we collaborated and created beautiful ceramics together. She mentored me and taught me everything she knew. When I migrated to Australia I had a break from ceramics and had my son. When it was time to get back to work, I knew I wanted to get back to clay and start my business. My studio is a lot like that home studio I worked at in Israel. Working on my ceramics allowed me to have a space that was mine to create in. It helped me to feel more at home and settled in Australia.


What is your favourite thing about working with clay?

My favourite thing really is to be able to create beauty and to bring my vision to life. I enjoy the flexibility of the beautiful materials. Everything I make is hand-built as I don't use moulds or work on a wheel. I enjoy that every piece I create is unique. The hand-building clay I use is highly textured and it is a necessary language I use throughout my work. It is a celebration of the beauty of imperfection.


Perfect layers are created in this table setting. Featured is the new Malu placemats in bone which is available now for pre-order. 

Where do you find your inspiration? 

Inspiration comes in many ways to me. From old classic shapes and design books, all the way to my mother-in-law's kitchen and my life in Israel. I love classic shapes and enjoy giving them my own interpretation in the pieces I create. I would call myself a true eclectic in what I love. In some ways I adore minimalism and simple forms or white and natural layered into ceramics. In other pieces I am inspired by the Mediterranean and the contrast of greens and blues against terracotta. This inspiration is also mirrored in my own home. Some spaces are minimal and white, others are rich and colourful with red rugs and eclectic layering. It feels like me. 



What are your tips for someone wanting to start a ceramics collection, where should they begin? 

This really depends so much on your passions. For people that love cooking and entertaining, starting with a collection of plates and serving pieces is a great start. It will elevate your plating and make your meal look fantastic. All foodies will know that great tableware can lift a table. For other clients starting with a gorgeous piece which enhances your interior is brilliant. A beautiful statement piece on a shelf or a vase will transform a space. I particularly love crafting vases which I know will look incredible with an arrangement of flowers from my years as a florist. It is mostly about going with your gut and choosing pieces which are joyous to use and to look at.


Our Palm Fibre Placemat and Coaster sets are the perfect base for Melissa's plates.

How should you begin a tableware collection?

My tips for creating a beautiful collection is usually start with a basic setting that would combine plates and bowls. This will allow you to add on to it over time with some extra serving dishes and mix and match pieces. Layer new and old ceramics for a truly eclectic table which is filled with things you love. 

Don't forget that when you buy beautiful ceramic plates and bowls they serve more than just a useful function, they are also beautiful to look at. Don't hide them away in drawers and cupboards but rather put them on display, on shelves or tables.  




Tell us a little about what makes your ceramics so unique?

I feel that what makes my work special is because it’s timeless. I would like to think that I create tableware pieces which transcend trends. I love the idea that they would look nice in 10 years from now. They will look even better with ageing!

 

What are your favourite pieces to make? 

I love making big statement pieces, and one off pieces that no two are alike. 

 

Melissa's ceramic pieces looks beautiful in our Sona Rectangle basket.

 

 To explore Melissa's range of ceramics, click here. 


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