Current Issue #478

Es Ceramics moulds a new chapter in Thebarton

Shane Connery of Es Ceramics
Sia Duff
Shane Connery of Es Ceramics

As sustainability-minded consumers move away from single-use takeaway cups, Es Ceramics founder Shane Connery is busier than ever.

Shane Connery’s interest in pottery was sparked four years ago during a trip to Spain, where he encountered a local ceramic artist making pottery pieces from a shed down an alley. Intrigued by what he saw overseas, upon his return Connelly took up pottery classes in Henley Beach and hasn’t looked back since.

“I wanted to do pottery and I was doing a lot of it, practicing a lot and I very quickly wanted to change the hobby into a job because I had so many ideas,” Connery says. “I like creating, I like thinking about something that would be useful for a lot of people. I basically fell into it really, started doing markets and the demand happened so fast that I had to stop everything else.”

In 2017, Connery and co-founder Sophia Goldschmidt established Es Ceramics – named for the Spanish word for “it is” – from his Middleton lounge room. With only a throwing wheel at their disposal, Connery would make a series of lengthy back-and-forth trips between this home set up and the pottery school in Henley Beach to use its facilities to bisque and glaze-fire the keep cups in batches.

“We started selling to cafés basically straight away, Pipi in Middleton was our first café,” Connery says. “Maxwell’s in Aldinga was the next one and then from there we created an Instagram account and cafes started messaging us and that’s where it all sort of started.”

As demand for the cups grew, the pair launched a Kickstarter campaign in August last year where he successfully raised over $29,000 from local, interstate and international backers to fund a new studio in Thebarton. Now running the business on his own, Connery moved into the new space in September with additional equipment to ramp up production.

“The aim was so the pottery studio was all in one place,” Connery says. “This space is perfect for what I want and I really like the idea of being in Thebarton, this area seems to be my place, I love that it’s a bit grungy.”

Reusable cups by Es Ceramics
Sia Duff
Reusable cups by Es Ceramics

The keep cups are made using multiple types of clay and take three weeks to complete.

Each cup is measured to the millimetre and are made into two sizes, 8 ounces for regular and 12 ounces for large sized cups, which Connery now sells to a growing number of cafés and other hospitality venues throughout Adelaide regularly. Connery has eight designs for his cups as well as experimental styles, which are all made from natural minerals from copper carbonate and rutile to zinc and more.

“The cups for me mean getting to experiment with as many different glazes as I want to make,” Connery says. “I was really lucky getting all the glaze ingredients from somebody’s old stock, and I’ve just been playing around with that and finding recipes and testing them, seeing if they work, if they flux properly, seeing what colours I get and mixing that with something else that I’ve made.

Connery at work
Reusable cups by Es Ceramics
Sia Duff
The finished product

“It’s all just one big test after test, experimenting. I wasn’t so precious with my pottery, so I would test glazes on everything and now I’ve got a small catalogue of glazes that are completely unique.”

The new Thebarton studio is still in its early days, with more equipment, furnishings and finishing touches to be added to the space alongside tables and shelves handmade by Connery himself. One of Connery’s main goals for the space is to run weekly pottery classes for the public, which he hopes to have up and running early in the new year.

“I’ve had people asking me to do classes for the last couple of years, but I think this is a good space to do it because it’s a workplace, where real things are happening with pottery.

“I want to give people the same experience I had when I first started – it’s an exciting thing to do and people find it very rewarding. And it’s just fun.”

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Sia Duff
Es Ceramics is our December cover story
Anthony Dodd

Anthony Dodd

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