Ilona Topolcsanyi and Colin Hopkins from Cone 11 Ceramics and Porcelume
We had a great day at the Mercator building at Abbotsford Convent, the home of Cone 11 Ceramics and Porcelume.
It was a lovely sunny day at the workshop, when we visited Ilona Topolcsanyi from Cone 11 finishing some tableware commissioned for a restaurant. We also met Colin Hopkins, the maker behind Porcelume, as he was working on a medium size shade using the art of hand‐throwing porcelain, a skill that he has mastered through the years.
We had a chat with both of them about their work and their passion for ceramics.
MM: When did you start making ceramics?
IT: After completing a Bachelor in Health Sciences and then working in call centre, I realised I wanted to do something creative with my hands. I completed a short course at Carlton Arts Centre (Nicholson St Carlton) in 2000 and then after travelling went on to complete further studies at Box Hill Institute of TAFE.
CH: After returning from a trip to Japan in 2005. I then completed a short course at Northcote Pottery and went on to complete further studies at Box Hill Institute of TAFE.
MM: Where do you draw inspiration from?
IT: Classical forms from the past.
CH: I am constantly exploring the intertwined relationship between ceramics, music and architecture and I continue to work within all 3 disciplines.
MM: What’s been the greatest achievement in your career?
IT: Making all the tableware for the G20 Summit Dinner at QGOMA in 2014 – an event attended by by several notables including Barak Obama…
CH: Creating and maintaining a working pottery studio @ Abbotsford Convent for nearly 10 years.
MM: How important is social media for your business?
IT: It provides us with numerous opportunities to connect with and share with other potters (especially those that we may not typically have met).
CH: Ilona takes care of all social media connections – I am a self-confessed luddite who still likes to read a real, paper copy of the Age…
MM: What are you hoping for the future?
IT: I want to build a wood fired kiln and move towards developing a body of sculptural pieces that would provide a contrast to the large volume of functional work that I currently produce. Complete a Masters in Fine Arts/ Ceramics.
CH: A back that is a little less stiff in the morning…!
MM: Where do you get coffee and food in Melbourne?