Creative Process: This Ceramicist Insists There’s Creativity in Everything You Do

Jan 15, 2018

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Bonnie Hislop Cat Mug

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).

Could you explain your medium, and how you might answer the question when someone asks you, ‘What do you do?’

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.


What are you thinking about while you’re making?

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.


What gets you into your ‘creative zone’?

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.
test kitchen blog bonnie hislop on creativityBonnie Hislop Mas & Miek Studio Brisbane

What do you do when you’re stuck for an idea? How do you get reinspired?

Generally, I try to keep my eyes and mind open until something clicks. When I’m really stuck I like to re-centre and remind myself of who I am and what my intention is, and the ideas tend to come rolling back in.


Do you have periods of great creativity followed by less, or do your creative juices flow continuously?

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!


Do you always like the end result of your creative process?

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!


What do you say when someone says that they’re not ‘the creative type’?

I tell them I don’t believe them, and that everyone expresses creativity in different ways.


What is something you think would help people to incorporate more creativity into their life?

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.
Bonnie Hislop's Ceramic Studio in BrisbaneBonnie Hislop Brisbane Creative in studio

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