Newcastle based, America born ceramicist
Creating one-of-a-kind pieces made with love, quirk and a whole lot of characterSee our handpicked guides to Newcastle
BY ALICIA POOLE
It may have just kicked off as a side hobby but for Newcastle local ceramicist Jen Lanz, Good Grief has become much more than that!
Born in the States, Jen moved to Australia over 11 years ago with her son and partner and has called Newcastle home ever since.
“At first moving to Australia was just such a culture shock and I couldn’t quite place it. There are so many similarities, but at the same time, it’s not quite the same. I didn’t not like it, but then it really grew on me and now I just love it.
“Now, when I return to the United States and I get on the plane and I start the trip back to Australia, it now feels like I’m coming home,” Jen told me.
Being full-time mum to her son in the younger years, once he started preschool, Jen had all of this spare time on her hands, but decided house work wasn’t exactly on the top of her to-do list.
“Initially, when my son was in preschool for 2-3 hours a day, I didn’t really have the time to work, and I didn’t really want to do just housework, so I thought I’d do a short art course.”
As it happens, that short art course got her into the world of ceramics and it’s all just managed to flow from there. From renting a pottery wheel at a local community studio, to purchasing her own wheel to then expanding into getting her very own kiln!
“I really look back and I’m genuinely unsure about how I did it. I would wake up early in the morning and do something in the studio. Then I would drop my son off and go to work all day and then try and make some more stuff at night. I was doing this for maybe around a year. I honestly look back and say, I don’t know how I did it.”
From there, this hobby of Jen’s slowly transformed into her now full-time career; creating stunning pieces of work and shooting them off around the country to new homes! Jen is still pinching herself on the daily, that she now has this booming small business that creates one-of-a-kind ceramics.
“I think that’s one of the things with artists and small business people is that there is just a certain type of person that decides; I’m going to do it. You don’t really think twice about it, but one day you just start doing it and you can’t look back.”
If you’re wondering where you can get your hands on some of these pieces, Jen has stockists across Melbourne, Sydney, and even up the East Coast. In Newcastle, get into High Swan Dive on King St and keep a look-out at Studio Melt for Good Grief but with a difference.
Jen’s also just kicked off her first round of small group workshops in her Mayfield studio, so if giving the pottery wheel a spin is on your bucket list, get your tickets for her upcoming workshops happening in August right here!