Kim Jaeger does not smoke pot. She doesn’t do drugs of any kind. And her creative business, Pot Heads Ceramics, is not a ceramics class for users of illicit substances; you’re on a whole different wavelength.
The definition of ‘pot’ we’re referring to here is, according to Google, a ‘round or cylindrical container’, specifically the type you might put a plant in. Oh, and Kim’s pots are shaped like heads – hence the name. Eerie and yet weirdly endearing, these little pot heads will bring a big dollop of quirkiness into any room.
It all began in the carport of an old bedraggled Melbourne share house. Kim was kicking around amongst the junk left behind when she came across a little ceramic pot with a face carved into the side. A pot head. She was simultaneously creeped out and fascinated by the little clay face staring up at her and the concept stuck with Kim.
A couple of years later, Pot Heads Ceramics was born.
“Why little ceramic heads, you ask?” Kim laughs, “I don’t even know! They’re a bit creepy, but I love them.”
The accomplished artist and curator admits that that her design process, at least for the retail pot heads sold by stockists, is kind of like a meditation for her.
“I don’t really plan them out, they just kind of form as I go along” Kim says.
Exhibition pieces are little different though.
“I’ll make parts of them and then draw them and work out on paper how they’ll take shape in the physical form and then I’ll do glazed pattering. Everything is worked out on paper first” Kim says.
However, one of the rules of ceramics as an art form, Kim says with a smirk, is that there is no guarantee that the piece will turn out how you like.
“That’s another great thing about it, I think; there’s that element of chance. Complete destruction is there at any moment” she says.
“Often there are little things which don’t go exactly to plan and I think that is part of the beauty of it.”
The ceramic process, by nature, is quite a lengthy process, so Kim spends a lot of time with each individual pot before they are sent to be fired. Plenty of time to develop friendships with the little faces and their idiosyncrasies.
“I try not to keep them though, because I like them to go out into the world and have other lives with people, not stay sitting next to me, staring at me all the time” she laughs.
“It is sometimes hard, because I connect with some much more than others.”
As fun as it would be to have a house filled to the brim with small ceramic heads, it may be somewhat unsettling for the unsuspecting visitor.
“I’ve got a couple that do live with me though. A particular one that I did for my first show, which both my partner and myself really liked. And then I have a couple of other little ones around the house as well” Kim says.
With a one year old on her hip and her studio currently based at the kitchen table, Kim admits that there is no ‘typical’ day for her.
“I used to have a studio space, but now, it’s like, when she (my daughter) sleeps, I make. That’s how we roll at the moment” she laughs.
“It’s something I need to do though; if I don’t create I don’t feel well.
“I know it sounds quite dramatic, but I think a lot of other artists will say that too.”
Kym is also an accomplished curator, having sat on the Board at Seventh Gallery for a number of years and running an arts program for the Cancer Council part time. Every alternate year she’ll have a solo or collaborative show and during the year off from exhibiting she’ll curate a show, often working with artists who’ve never shown their work in the public sphere before.
“I’ve been curating for about 15 years now; it’s a really important part of my own practice” Kim says.
“It’s really rewarding giving people a platform to show their work if they’ve never shown it before. Guiding and supporting people through that is a really special because showing your work in the public arena can be quite scary!”
Kim’s exhibitions often centre on everyday objects and functionality, but she is not one to shy away from different ideas.
“In 2013 I did something a bit different, curating a publication show, where I had conversations with writers and other artists about how we curate our own set of objects in our house and how we live with them” she explains.
“It was a really interesting way to collaborate with others and curate.
“In another show I gave a whole heap of artists the exact same object to respond to and then I had some musicians come and look at the artwork and respond musically.”
Kim admits that she finds watching the inner workings of people’s brains endlessly fascinating, something which spurs a lot of her collaborations.
“I truly think that everyone is an artist. Whether they believe that or not, is another thing,’ Kim laughs.
“It (curating and collaborating) helps me grow as an artist and I think it helps other people grow as artists, too.”
But amongst all that collaborative creativity and brain-picking, Kim likes nothing more than to sit herself down in her studio (or as of recently, her kitchen table) and play with clay.
“It’s a part of who I am and I want to share it with the world” Kim says.
“Sometimes it’s good to get a little lost.”
You can check out more little Pot Heads here.