Sarah Schembri Ceramics

Words: Manuela Millan

Sarah Schembri combines her love of pottery, food, sharing knowledge and making people happy at her studio in Fitzroy, where she holds classes, produces her range, and unwinds after a hard day’s work.

Sarah Schembri ceramics
I’m passionate about creating functional, tactile and visually appealing ceramics, particularly tableware.
— Sarah Schembri

Sarah started her career in the corporate world, while doing pottery in the evenings and weekends as a way to relieve stress. She found that making pottery and in particular throwing pottery on a wheel gave her great satisfaction and relaxation. She decided to pursue it further and take up as many classes as she could.

I knew that I really wanted to pursue this - my husband thought I was a bit crazy at the time. The main objective was just to get as much experience as I could. I worked and studied part time and got a ceramics Diploma from Ballarat University.

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sarah schembri ceramics 2
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She then went on to become an artist-in-residence and teacher at Northcote Pottery Supplies where she taught until late 2017. She runs classes and other events at her studio where she emphasises the importance of learning and relaxation. Her classes involve more than just learning or refining a skill, but taking the time out of a busy modern schedule to relax, work with your hands, and appreciate the process of making.

Sarah is very happy and grateful for her success, and she has recently opened her new, larger showroom and studio in Fitzroy, which will allow her to continue and expand her work and passion for sharing her joy for ceramics.

I wanted a place to bring everything together and incorporate my wheel throwing, teaching and showroom, and also to have a place where I can unwind and where people can feel comfortable. Seeing students’ enthusiasm, passion & engagement is by far the most rewarding and satisfying part of what I do. Being part of that process is very fulfilling.

Sarah also produces pottery commercially, and regularly works with chefs and restaurants to create custom tableware to suit the look and feel which they are trying to achieve.

For me, there is something quite special about using pieces that are handmade - the experience and food taste better.

Sara Schembriceramics
sarah schembri ceramics

MM: Did you grow up in a creative household?

SC: No. My parents are farmers. Both migrated from Malta when they were young. As a child we had jobs to do before and after school around the farm. We didn’t live close to any shops or the beach so we had to make our own fun and do our own creative things. Life was pretty simple back then, I spent most of my time hanging out with my younger brother, we would do things like go down to the river spending literally hours down there fishing and just being. It was our place away from home. I can still remember how beautiful and quiet it was.

MM: Can you recommend a good restaurant or cafe?

SC: Too many to choose from. Bella Cosi is a local Port Melbourne café that I love going to. Good service, good food, the best coffee on the bayside by far, and pretty down to earth.

I recently went to The Railway Hotel in Port Melbourne – best steaks in Melb! Great food, impeccable service. Very difficult to get in, you need to book in advance!

MM: What are you excited about the future?

SC: Expanding my business in a general sense. Offering classes and workshops around my studio time is something I will be doing more of in 2018. (click here to view class schedule and book!)

There are a few projects I’ve had in my mind that I’ve started over the past 8 years but that I haven’t had the space nor time to make happen. I want to re-start this process and make them happen now that I have the Fitzroy studio space to work in - one is wall lights and lights in general.

Early this year I bought some canvas and paint, it’s still sitting in the spare room mostly likely collecting dust however I’ve had a longing for a number of years so maybe 2018 is the year! You’ll just have to wait and see.