We had the pleasure of catching up with Bonnie Hislop, a Queensland based creative, in her Brisbane studio for a smoothie and a chat on creativity. In our chat, Bonnie shared a bit about herself (she makes cats, but isn’t a ‘cat person’), her work (fun and functional ceramics), and her views on what makes a creative life (in her opinion, if you can plate up a beaut cheese board or cook up a tasty brekky, you’re already there).
The way I usually describe my work is ‘fun and functional ceramics.’ I hand build ceramic homewares and accessories, which I decorate with illustrative and colourful designs.
I’m usually listening to podcasts, or chain watching Netflix, or having a chat with one of my studio buds. It feels really great to be learning something or having a good giggle or in-depth convo whilst my hands are busy. The mind goes to some strange places otherwise, I’ve found.
I really thrive on routine. Getting up in the morning, doing my hair and a bit of makeup, putting on some earrings and some fun workwear helps me get in the right headspace to work. Having a great space to create in with awesome people also makes a huge difference. For years I was working out of my garage for long hours on my own, which is great but can get lonely after a while.
Generally I try to keep my eyes and mind open until something clicks. When I’m really stuck I like to re-center and remind myself of who I am and what my intention is, and the ideas tend to come rolling back in.
I definitely have two different modes, one for when I’m developing ideas and the other when I’m executing them. I do get a bit nervous in the times new ideas aren’t streaming in constantly, but I tend to try to float above that feeling and push past it though continuing to make and keeping an open mind. Eventually something new always pops into my head!
I’m not always creating with myself in mind as the recipient so not all of what I make is necessarily to my own personal taste. In saying that, I am quite conscious of making things that will be of use or treasured, so I really try to only put time and energy into things I know will have a successful outcome. Often my favourite piece at any given time will be the most recent one, so the short answer is yes!
I tell them I don’t believe them, and that everyone expresses creativity in different ways.
Mindset! Whenever people ask me what I do and I say I’m a ceramicist, most of the time they respond by telling me they’re not creative at all – usually that they can’t draw. So maybe they’re not thinking about their everyday activities, the games they invent with their kids, or how they’ve styled their hair, or plated a meal, as being creative. And I definitely would!
Find out more about Bonnie and view her work on her website.