In a small studio down a Port Fairy side street, Leearna Moloney spends her days pottering away, literally.
The ceramics artist opened the doors of her studio at the beginning of the year for intimate classes to train others about the craft she simply adores.
Growing up in Warrnambool, Moloney spent several years living in and around Melbourne before making the move back to the south-west and settling in Port Fairy three years ago.
She first got behind the wheel nine years ago when she was pregnant with her daughter Kitty, and hasn't looked back.
"When I started I just loved it and I thought it was really beautiful," she said.
"Kitty's dad taught me everything and he has the most beautiful set up.
"I was always creative but I found painting really hard. Ceramics was immediate for me, it's a beautiful technique.
"I went and did heaps of courses because I wanted to learn everything I could."
Throughout her nine years exploring the artform, Moloney has been most inspired by Japanese ceramics and has learnt to let her creativity flow more freely when she gets behind the wheel.
"It was really the Japanese-style ceramics that interested me," she said. "I really wanted to be true to the craft and there's so many different ways to approach it.
"I really love and find motivation from the Japanese styles. I'm a perfectionist which is annoying and it's cut me off from some really cool ways to express myself. But now I try to let myself have more fun with different shapes."
Moloney took her skills to Federation University in Ballarat for a Graduate Diploma in Ceramics and she also completed further studies.
"I wanted to be comfortable in my knowledge of ceramics before I started holding classes and sharing the information," she said. "I learn by doing and I love teaching the same way.
"So far people have just loved being able to learn the art and are so proud of what they've been able to produce.
"I've been blown away by their reactions."
In starting her own business, Kit Ceramics, Moloney sells a variety of her creations at Bank Street and Co in Port Fairy.
"I was freaked out when I started my own small business," she explained. "Anyone can call themselves an artist and I thought, 'well I just make pots'.
"But pots have really been taking off in the past eight years. Fads come and go but they haven't really gone yet.
"Making is one part, but selling your art is entirely another. I tried to find my thing before I put my product out there and I make sure people are happy with what I'm doing."
She expanded her business to include Kit Classes at the beginning of 2021 after the coronavirus pandemic saw an increase in interest in the artform. In her Union Street studio, she provides two-wheels for a pair of participants at a time to learn how to create pots, vases, cups and jugs. "So many people say they're not creative because they can't draw perfectly but that's only one way of producing art," she said. "People think perfect is right whereas with ceramics, the basic process is throwing a pot but then you can make any shape you like.
"We're not after perfection here, perfect is boring.
"I find it so fascinating that I can see people's particular ways showing when they're throwing, I get to see their personality in a pot."
People think perfect is right whereas with ceramics, the basic process is throwing a pot but then you can make any shape you like. We're not after perfection here, perfect is boring.Leearna Moloney
Moloney said she hoped to expand her business one day into a larger space but for now, she enjoyed the tucked away studio and the people who stumbled upon her work and booked in for a class. "It's worked really well so far, it's so enjoyable and I'm enjoying myself as much as the participants," she laughed. "It's like a lot of other activities, there's definitely bonding and I get to know the people."
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can access our trusted content
Have you signed up to The Standard's daily newsletter and breaking news emails? You can register below and make sure you are up to date with everything that's happening in the south-west.