Behind their denims

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Emma Sear first caught the sight of Outland at our local barista. The elfin-featured, long-limbed Emma quickly agreed to model for us, but posing in front of the camera is not her chosen trade; pottery is her passion.

The 23-year-old, bride-to-be is a ceramicist with her online store, Olive Ceramics, opening last month, and she’s keeping busy filling back orders for her popular designs, such was the overwhelming response.

Emma’s foray into ceramics followed a stint living in Italy with her older brother where they built a bar on a beach to pay their way.

“That was amazing,” she says of the experience, though when she returned to Australia she felt unhinged after being on such a high. “I needed a creative outlet,” she says.  

She had been following Sydney ceramic artist Milly Dent on Instagram, began experimenting, and attended the Gold Coast Potter’s Association to get the training she needed to make her interest more of a tangible hobby. She still attends classes each Monday and supplements her income as a dental nurse.

Emma’s signature style is wheel thrown rather than slip cast, meaning no two objects of her creation are replicas; they each maintain a degree of individuality.


“Good things take time,” she says of the 4-6 weeks she takes to create, pack and deliver her ceramics, including made-to-order requests.

Emma’s goal in her work is to create sets – bowls, plates, mugs – with a theme, which might be a black glaze, and then to move on to the next according to what people respond to.

“I want to specialise in sets, and maintain quite a neutral, earthy tone.”

Emma also maintains a sideline interest in Australian native flowers, which she hopes to incorporate more into her creative work.

“I want to specialise in sets, and maintain quite a neutral, earthy tone.”

The photographer Sabine Bannard - who has photographed Emma at work for her website - has played a big role in promoting Emma’s work via Instagram and her personal networks, and she credits the encouraging group of women in her life, from her mum to best friend Rosie, with helping her to turn her passion into a business.

Her mother, a LED-light artist, is undoubtedly a style influence. Emma’s work uniform includes jeans or overalls, boots, a tee and an apron.

Emma’s partner, Anthony, is a builder. Her first love, they got together when she was still in high school, went apple picking in Switzerland after a brief relationship hiatus, and got engaged while camping in a Combie van.

Anthony has helped her get her business of the ground, taking care of packing, logistics and inventory, and building her website as well as building her home studio. “He’s a really wonderful man; I’m very lucky,” she says.

Emma wears Outland Denim Harriet jeans in Byron throughout. You can peruse and order Emma's work through her website Olive Ceramics.