The wheel has turned a full circle for Queensland ceramic artist Shannon Garson, who now finds herself living in the country town she once wanted to leave.

As Shannon Garson recalls her teenage years growing up in the Sunshine Coast hinterland she couldn’t wait to get out of town. The big wide world beckoned and her hometown of Maleny didn’t see her heels for dust as soon as she graduated high school.

“I went to art college in Brisbane and then travelled and worked overseas for a few years,” she recalls. “I’d been lucky enough to work for Brisbane ceramicist Clairy Laurence when I was at college. She let me come and decorate her work pretty much as I liked and I now realise how incredibly generous that was. She pretty much changed my life by showing me that a creative life could be a career. I saw a lot of artworks while I was overseas and whenever I could I painted and made pottery.”

Returning to Australia in the late 90s Shannon was pleasantly surprised when she revisited Maleny. “Of course it was always geographically beautiful,” she says. “But for the first time I actually appreciated the village itself. I looked around and thought it’s got a library and a bookshop and lots of creative energy, what more do I need?”

Shannon set up her shingle as a ceramic artist specialising in handmade porcelain vessels. “I’ve always been a keen cook so tableware was a natural direction for me,” she says. “I was inspired by the beautiful 19th-century English pottery tradition that reflects local flora and fauna. So I make plates, cups and bowls inspired by the natural environment and decorated with repeatable designs for my daily range. I also produce one-off exhibition pieces. They are all functional pieces, even though people might not choose to actually drink or eat from the exhibition work.”

For more information on Shannon’s work visit shannongarsonporcelain.com.au.

This story was originally published in the September 2015  issue of Australian Country. Subscribe to the magazine here.

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Words Kirsty McKenzie
Photography Anastasia Kariofyllidis
Styling Simone Barter