Gregory Bonasera & Anthony Raymond
Porcelain Bear is a studio in Collingwood where Gregory Bonasera and Anthony Raymond design and make beautiful slip-cast porcelain works. They produce wide range of lighting, sculptural objects and unique furniture pieces.
Gregory and Anthony have been working together since about 2010 when Anthony came to work at the studio in his spare time.
Anthony started working on his days off from his day job. He picked up the skills very quickly. His background is industrial design so he was a good fit. I always worked like an industrial designer anyway so he fitted what I was doing very well.
The pair gradually moved on from Gregory's own Bonasera Ceramics label, and by mid to late 2013 they were both working full time under name of Porcelain Bear. They chose the bear as their mascot due to its personal significance and also because of what it represents to them.
The bear is analogous to porcelain. Firstly it's white like porcelain but it also stands for dignity, integrity, purity, beauty, longevity, resilience and strength. All of those nice beefy words.
They have a dynamic creative process and work together on each item they produce. They start by sketching their individual ideas, before coming together to discuss and collaborate on the details and overall design.
We're each other's sounding-board. We have a critical eye for each other's work and we're pretty close so we don't get offended by each other easily - we're completely honest.
Their designs are intricate and beautifully made and their passion and joy is translated through each piece.
All their works are made by hand using the centuries-old technique of slip casting. The process uses liquid clay and plaster moulds which are dried and fired multiple times at extremely hot temperatures, hotter than most other ceramics, resulting in perfect porcelain.
This keeps Gregory and Anthony constantly busy making their designs. Despite the long hours and hard work they continue to come up with new ideas to revisit when the time is right. They see Denfair as a good opportunity to debut their most recent works.
We like to always put a lot on our plate so we have been working on what, for us, is a giant stand for Denfair - it's a big feat for us.
MM: Where do you get your coffee?
PB: South of Johnston or SoJo - they do great coffee and it's a beautiful space.
And Oxford Larder.
I went without coffee the other day and I wondered why I had a headache at about 3 in the afternoon and I realised I had gone without coffee. That morning I'd had rose-hip tea - that was just masochistic.
MM: Can you recommend a good place for brunch?
PB: For breakfast it's either Archies or South of Johnston.
MM: What are you looking forward to in 2018?
PB: We're looking at publicising our brand overseas. We've been inundated with requests from overseas so there's a bigger opening there for our market.
We're also working on a lot more sculptural pieces, and we're slowly moving to more functional art.