Valerie Restarick // North Carlton ceramics

Words: Manuela Millan
Photos: Caitlin Mills Photography

Valerie Restarick is a Melbourne-based ceramicist. She trained as a painter at the National Gallery School (including as a student of the legendary John Brack), and later turned her hand to pottery which has become a lifelong passion. She founded her Carlton North studio 10 years ago where she continues to produce a wide range of work.

I'm here making all the time, I'm obsessed. I think about it at night, I think about ideas and what I should do, there's always thousands of things.

She enjoys the journey from concept to finished product, and overcoming the difficulties that arise along the way.

Japanese Raku-fired vases #beautiful


Valerie is a prodigious maker - and she is always experimenting with new concepts and techniques. From uniform, smooth-finish plates, beautiful Japanese Raku-fired vases, to detailed and richly textured bowls. It can be hard to believe that all the work in her portfolio has been created by one person.

I like to do something new. I have a very short attention span -so I usually do twenty at the most. I might get an influence to do something and change tactics - I don't churn out the same thing all the time. People come and they say "does one person make all of this?" because it's so varied.

Valerie also uses ceramics as a way to express political messages.

It's not just bowls and mugs and things. I like to have a political message, something I believe in. I'm in an exhibition in Canberra at the moment called the Rainbow's End and it's about the Earth in thirty years' time. All finished and apocalyptic and everything's gone.

She has produced beautiful plates for Atlas Dining, founded by young chef and Vue de Monde alumnus Charlie Carrington, and is working on Aztec-inspired pots for the new restaurant Colours by Atlas.



It’s not just bowls and mugs and things. I like to have a political message, something I believe in.
— Valerie Restarick

MM: Where do you get your coffee from?

VR: North, in Rathdowne Street.

MM: Where would we find you on a Sunday morning?

VR: In bed!

MM: What do you do to relax?

VR: I watch films and I read. The best film I have watched recently is Locke, which has Tom Hardy in it. After watching it I started reading the work the philosopher John Locke, who talked about how you're born naked but then your environment impinges upon you - which I don't believe, I believe it's 50/50.