Photo by the talented Isabel Lewis
Snakebird Designs is the culmination of a lifetime of the various creative pursuits of myself- Melbourne/Naarm born & based Sarah Muir-Smith.
A bit of history
Despite being relatively new to the world of ceramics (though a huge fan of the sandpit growing up), I've always had an eye for design and a love of making things by hand.
After doing my first handbuilding workshop with the lovely Kate of Dot & Co in 2017, I was HOOKED. Down the track I was lucky enough to be her studio assistant for a few months, but my dodgy wrist made worse by a very heavy skateboard slam put the breaks on things and I had to back off a while.
Over the past year I've dealt with the annoyances of injury, surgery and recovery but still managed to turn my obsession for the ancient practice of pottery into my own little business- Snakebird Designs!
While clay is my main medium, any craft from macrame to watercolour is fair game.
About the work
The pieces here are largely functional- to me there is something very special about a handmade object making its way into your daily routine. Interacting with handmade ceramics offers me a moment of mindfulness (I'm sorry, ignore the buzzword) and gives me a reason to stop scrolling through rubbish on my phone and instead enjoy the tactility of the clay- imagining the hard work that was put into it's existence, enjoying the imperfections, and picturing it's journey from a blob of dirt to vitrifying for hours in a kiln chamber at 1280 degrees celcius. It's pretty neat! I hope you get that same excitement from my work. I mean, it beats the shit out of IKEA...
I prefer to use modest glazes that show off the texture and natural properties of the clay, and my real joy comes from making things the way I like them, when I can't already find them out in the world.
I use both my noisy, secondhand potters wheel and handbuilding techniques (mainly slab building and pinching) to achieve different effects. I'm constantly searching for new, more efficient methods and striving for clean, simple design.
All of the items sold through Snakebird Designs are slowly and lovingly handmade in my sharehouse shed/studio in Yarraville, in Melbourne/Naarm, Australia.
Keeping it green
I am painfully aware of my environmental impact, and hope to minimise the ecological footprint that Snakebird has on the world. I have recently invested in 100% recyled and recylable packaging materials! This includes gaemi ranpak- a paper alternative to bubble wrap, water activated paper kraft tape and recycled paper for filling gaps, so once you take your sticker off you can chuck the whole thing in the compost or feed it to the worms!
The really exciting bit is printing my business/thank you cards on seeded paper, so once you've read it you can soak the card in water for a few days and then put in a pot of soil and cover it with a few mm of soil. Keep it moist and it will sprout into oregano, carrot or native wildflower seedlings. How cool is that?!?
I also use 'offset' app which pays the carbon offset of my deliveries.
If you are a friend of mine and receive bubblewrap don't worry, I reuse it from packages my sister receives for her business and I'll be stealing back from you to reuse again!
All of the thanks
A notable thank you must go to Angus my cat for being the most handsome assistant, my family and friends for their constant encouragement and most of all Fez for being the most wonderful, supportive partner I could ever ask for.
Another huge thank you goes to you, my beautiful customer- without you none of this would be possible!