The Sweet Meadow


Bridget Bodenham's Studio

inspiration, living the sweet lifeAishe Besim
We are drawn to items that represent...slowness, that reflect the marks of the maker, and embody the individuality that comes from objects created by human hands.
— Amber Creswell Bell

I've been an admirer of Bridget Bodenham's work for a long time. I first saw her pieces at a Finders Keepers market in Melbourne. There was a huge crowd hovering around her stand and for good reason - her handmade pieces are works of art that have gained a cult following.

I recently visited Bridget's studio in Hepburn Springs to collect a some platters and cups for The Sweet Meadow. Her space is very inspiring - lots of natural light and beautiful scenery (Hepburn Springs is surrounded by the Wombat State Forest). 

There is something magic about visiting someone's space of creativity. I felt it when I first visited Kaye Poulton's studio in Mooroopna, and Jim's Garden at Cactus Country. I think we all need our own little space where we feel safe to explore our creativity. 

Photographer Kara Rosenlund describes Bridget as "the kind of person who actually makes you want to strive to be a better person yourself" and I can totally relate to this. She lives in a way that is harmonious with nature and her surroundings and reminded me to step back and live a little slower. 

Thank you Bridget!

Video - The Handmade

videoAishe Besim

Australian architect Richard Leplastrier, who has a strong appreciation of the Japanese aesthetic, once said that a house is not at its best when first occupied, but only attains its optimal beauty when it is used with love. 

As someone who is a perfectionist at my very core, it's interesting that I appreciate the imperfection in ceramic pieces. I want to fill this store with bespoke, handmade treasures that are a joy to use.

In this video, I take you inside ceramic artist Kaye Poulton's studio as she makes me a series of cups to serve hot chocolate and specialty lattes from.

Pottering about

inspirationAishe Besim
What we a post-industrial nostalgia for the pre-industrial. In a culture with a surfeit of branding and cheap mass-produced goods, we romanticise the handmade because we yearn for quality, not quantity.
— Justin McGuirk
Assorted ceramics by  Bridget Bodenham

Assorted ceramics by Bridget Bodenham

I started appreciating the art of ceramics about the same time I started taking photos of my food (thanks Instagram). I was searching for funky props to feature in my photos and discovered the beautiful work of Victorian ceramicist Bridget Bodenham. 

Rather than limit herself to smooth, symmetrical pieces, the beauty of Bridget's work lies in its visible imperfection and lack of pretension. Her handmade pieces don't mimic a machine and are therefore more honest and genuine. 

I love the idea of working with clay - digging up a part of the earth and using your hands to create something special that will be used for years. 

As much as I'd love to have my entire crockery collection for The Sweet Meadow created by local artists, due to budget constraints I've decided to source only a few items - cups for hot drinks, espresso cups, milk pourers and side plates - from a selection of ceramicists that rock my world. 

Here's a taste of what's to come!

Ceramic pieces by Brooke Clunie, Wignut & Co, Takeawei, Dot & Co, and Bridget Bodenham.