“I knew I wanted to be a present and involved mum who could work, but always be ready when my children needed me. I am so proud to have created a successful business that allows me to work from home and be able to be the mother to my boys that I have always wanted to be.”
Ceramic artist, founder of The Clay Barn and Hand Made Hire and mother of two, Zani McEnnally, is one of many creatives living in Byron Bay realising her dreams. After creating her ultimate workshop space at her home in Bangalow, Zani now runs workshops for amateur artists and professionals alike, whilst also running kids programmes for budding little artists. “I cater for a mix, from beginners who haven’t worked with clay since preschool to experienced potters who want a shared creative space to work with all the tools required at their fingertips.”
We caught up with the inspiring artist to talk pottery, the Byron creative landscape and how the resurgence of bespoke, handmade pieces is helping her not only create a business, but also a collaborative community spirit.
You run The Clay Barn in Bangalow, can you tell us a bit about how the concept came about?
How do the ceramic workshops you run work - can students learn the basics of pottery or is it more for aspiring artists and professionals?
There seem to be a slew of creatives relocating to Byron Bay - how does the Byron landscape fuel creativity?
How does the sense of community help with the success of small businesses like The Clay Barn?
You have two sons, can you tell us how you juggle motherhood with work?
What does a typical morning in your household look like?
Mornings are truly special for us. The boys and I get up at 6am and get ready for our day ahead and together we walk our two dogs at the local recreation field in Bangalow from 7:15am until they hop on the bus at 8am. I am able to get into the studio to unload or load the kilns and prepare for the day before students arrive at 9:30am. This hour and a half is my time to reflect on the things that have been created in The Clay Barn and to get excited about all the beautiful things that are to come.
Let’s talk ceramics - what sort of colours and shapes are you drawn to at the moment and why?
What advice would you give someone wanting to start out in an artistic field - anything to know or prepare?
A number of my students have gone on from learning with me to producing their own ranges and selling locally whilst others have gone on to set up their own creative spaces. I encourage anyone to give it a go and live creatively. I do feel a bit like a proud Mum watching over my family!
It can be daunting to trust yourself and your work, I try to give people confidence in themselves to trust in their creations and follow through with their ideas.
In an era where there are so much information and imagery thrust upon us at every moment, it can be easy to doubt yourself and your product. But I know that it is better to give it a red hot go than wonder “what if?” Big magic can happen if you allow it to.