Milly Dent’s ceramics are the sort of pieces you want to buy just so you can look at them! With their blue marbled swirls they are beautifully dreamy while still being functional and practical. What is amazing, though, is that Milly has not long been out of college and already has a huge following since opening her studio, Milly Dent Design, only last year. I managed to drag Milly away from her work to share a little about her creative life with us.
Please tell us about yourself – what’s your background and how have you ended up where you are today?
My name is Milly Dent, I am a ceramic designer and maker based in Sydney. I have always been a maker, and moved from Brisbane to Sydney when I finished school to study a design degree. Within the degree I took a mix of classes and tried all elements of design, yet when it came to clay there was an immediate interest and enthusiasm and everything seemed to fall into place. My practice has since been focused on ceramics.
Can you share a bit about the creative process and materials you use?
My creative process is very intuitive and unpredictable as it employs a mix of techniques. These include marbling clay and slip-casting techniques to creature unique colors and patterns in contemporary, fine and translucent forms. It is the process of making which gives me the biggest satisfaction in my work and I intend my pieces to be a mixture of sculpture and function. I mainly work with porcelain, cobalt stains and clear gloss glazes.
Describe your work space and how important it is to you?
My work space is a fantastic studio within a broader creative space. Within the space are florists, graphic designers, artists, costume designers, musicians and many more! It is such an inspiring space to work in everyday, and so easy to focus on my own practice as well as bounce ideas off others when necessary. The energy there is great.
How easy/difficult was it to go out on your own? What, if any, challenges did you face along the way?
For me it happened gradually and organically. I am very lucky in that sense. My friends were interested in giving my work as gifts, then friends of friends and from there the business expanded into what it is today. Challenges included taking risks such as setting myself up in terms of equipment and materials and trusting in my own abilities and outcomes. However, all in all it was a fluid and exciting process.
What’s one piece of advice you’d give others wanting to do the same?
My suggestion would be to do your research and make sure people react well to your work and once you have that down pat go for it! Do what makes you happy. If you love what you do chances are others will to.
What are you working on at the moment?
I’m working on some new lighting designs!
What do you do or where do you go for inspiration?
I am inspired by the natural world around me. At the moment I am obsessing over the sea and bodies of water.
My guilty pleasure is …?
Blood orange gelato and lunch time swims.
The best thing about living in Sydney is …?
The proximity to the sea. Those lunch break swims make Sydney a real treat.