— observations from the Blue Mountains Design Bureau —

Mrs Peterson Potter’s

Brianna Peterson

Based in Katoomba, the gorgeous Brianna Peterson describes her work rather simply, as ‘printmaking into clay.’ After squishing clay into moulds, cutting it, shaping it and finally coloring it using relief stamping techniques, ‘each one (artwork) has its own little individual personality…you can’t get that at Kmart.’ Her style is enhanced by her love of glazes, inspiring her to create meditative pieces that look like pools ‘you want to dive into.’

But before there was Mrs Peterson Pottery, the brand, there was Brianna’s Nanna who shared her love of clay with her young granddaughter. Nestled alongside feathers on the mantlepiece, sits one of the designer’s first pieces, a pinch pot made under her Nanna’s loving tutelage. ‘It all goes back to Nanna,’ according to Brianna, ‘she gives the best advice about just about doing what you want to do and following your heart. Once she said to me; “Brianna when you put your hand into clay, you put your energy into that clay, it gets carried into the piece and people notice that!” ‘

The current Mrs Peterson Pottery range includes a beautiful and delicate selection of porcelain earrings, bracelets, necklaces, magnets, small pots and bowls, sold both online and at an impressive selection of boutiques throughout Australia. Soon, a dinner set will join the fold as well as more exclusive, hand drawn pieces. The focus is on unique items, that remain affordable without succumbing to perils of mass production. ‘If it was mass produced, there would be no wow; people want WOW.’ Here, at “The Cloudscape”, we couldn’t agree more!

About the process, ‘It is like a meditation for me. The other day I was typing the “Let go” type writer letters onto clay while making up a batch of rings. I was thinking about something that happened during the day, and I kept looking at the letters, it made me be more mindful’.

Freedom from Laughing Bird first met Brianna selling her porcelain artwork at the Leura festival. Free and Brianna caught up recently so we could get the skinny on Mrs Peterson Pottery and the very clever lady behind the wheel.

About the set up of Mrs Peterson?

I had never planned that it would become a business. It just evolved (rather quickly). After every kiln load of pottery that I made, most of it would sell to friends and family. The business grabbed itself by the horns – I still do it because it satisfies something in me.

I started up my etsy and bluecaravan shops online just to test out some bits and pieces and from there I got lots of design interest, magazines, shops etc, who all wanted to stock or promote my work. I called it Mrs Peterson Pottery because when I got married it became a little joke, all of a sudden I sounded so proper…”Mrs Peterson” it became my nickname and as a business name it just stuck! I never even got a chance to write up a business plan as I was always too busy making pottery and filling orders! It’s a great feeling to have to quit your day job so you can make more money doing what you love. Being my own boss is the best thing ever, cos even though I’m a bit of a workaholic, I can take a sick day and feel no guilt! I love being able to handle things the way I like, upfront and honest. Being the boss means I set the tone for all my business dealings and I like that. I have the power to make decisions and the ability to take responsibility. That’s empowering. Something about the process is addictive.

What is driving your creative direction?

Anything fresh and new. Things that matter to me like mantras and reminders of calm in a world of chaos are mostly where my inspiration comes from. I get bored quickly, so I am constantly setting myself new challenges and toying around with new designs. The possibilities are endless with clay… it’s a multi-dimensional platform. Finally I feel like I can create items I wanted to buy in the shops but couldn’t find anywhere. Things that bring meaning and heart to everyday life, something that has been made from scratch with great passion… now that has a direction all of it’s own.

A weekly delight?

My biggest week to week delight is every day at 4:30 when Mr Peterson comes through the door! It sounds corny, but I LOVE him so much and can’t wait for him to come home everyday. It’s really something I look forward to everyday. My second favorite weekly goodness is curling up on the couch with Mr P and a cup of tea and an episode of our fave show.. whatever that might be… 30 rock, Northern Exposure (we’re working our way through the box set again), DEXTER is our new fave… it’s simple, but it’s where I feel so at rest after a big day. It’s when my brain finally says “you can let go now” and for the next few hours, I don’t have to think about anything else.

What’s in store for Mrs Peterson fans?

New textures! Colorful glazes…. I’m working with antique moulds to create some classic Victorian and Art Nouveau pieces… I’m loving the crackle glazes and melting recycled glass… it’s AMAZING! I’ve been working on a complete dinner set for about a year now, but it keeps getting pushed back! So one day it will emerge. For now it’s more interesting jewelry designs, and things that make you go “oooohhhhh!”. I’m excited about doing a few special pieces, hand drawn, more like in my journal. If something happens and I can’t put it into words, there will be a weird expressive little diagram there of what’s going on, an obscure snapshot of what’s happening in my head. Im looking forward to busting out with something different, something totally imperfect.

Who is exciting right now?

I’m in love with Kanimbla Clay tea lights and bottles…I have several all over my house and they look gorgeous! Helen takes leaves and stems from her veggie patch to create incredible textures and imprints that GLOW when the tea light is on. A perfect example of something unique and handmade. Her work is simple yet it has been through a huge journey to get to where it is. Objects like that hold a memory. They have a different feel to things that are mass-produced and barely even looked at before they hit the shelves. The care and time it takes to hand craft something is priceless. Kanimbla Clay’s attention to detail and workmanship is a shining example of a quality handmade product, and I’m a little bit in awe.

I am also a big fan of NSW illustration and jewelry duo, “Golden Ink Collaborative” .They are amazing. My favorite piece that I own is a gorgeous ring of theirs. There is also a woman in Vancouver “Poodle Breath”..she is my other absolute favorite. I’m in love with other peoples stuff. Like Luke’s (Mr Peterson) stuff, its so unfinished and raw but he has a real nack for it.


Where can we find you?

At Zuri, Katoomba’s beautiful ‘Eco Emporium’ 67 Katoomba St,

Zuri, 83 Railway Pde Leura

and Mrs Peel, Modern vintage, at shop 7, the Mall Leura!

A memorable mountains festival?

Any that have Mulled Wine!

Who is making your mouth water?

I love Red door in Leura! Have you tried their french toast which is actually more like croissant french toast with bacon and strawberries and maple syrup?? MY GOD! I tried to re-create it at home but it just wasn’t the same. There’s something indulgent about having someone else cook you breakfast… it always tastes better.

Where do you lose yourself?

My journal. It’s a combination of loosing and finding myself. I’ve written since I was 14, and it’s always helped me re-connect with my most authentic self. If I can’t explain in words how I feel I draw little comics and pictures. Whatever little things are niggling at me I can usually work out on paper. It’s liberating to know that the answers are in there somewhere, we just have to be quiet enough to let them speak.

Can I ask about your impressive boot collection?

I’m a huge fan of El Naturalista, and I use all the old shoe boxes to cart around my work.

A perfect mountains weekend?

A gym class, a good potter round the house, an evening walk to the 3 sisters (I live down the road) and a bonfire with friends and a good dinner.. and a glass of wine! Maybe a trip to the Mount Vic Flicks too!

Some invaluable advice?

Do what you love. Take risks. Do business ethically, with integrity. If you feel like you’ve missed out on a business opportunity, you probably haven’t, what’s right for you will always happen naturally so there’s no point in forcing something. Learn to say YES. Learn to say no. Stop worrying about what everyone else is doing and just focus on what you’re doing. Its important to hold your own, focus on what your doing, and not get competitive. Competition should motivate you to do something different, something new and outside the box. The deeper within you go, the better your work will be. Don’t worry about trends… they change every 5 minutes, just stick to what makes you tick. Its all about being open but also learning when to be decearning. Utilize hard work and determination. Liberate and be confident in yourself. I can’t wait to get to the point when I’m an old lady and I’ve done it all!

mrspetersonpottery  Phone: 0431991091


3 comments on “Mrs Peterson Potter’s

  1. I can’t remember where I saw the recent piece about you & your work but there was a picture of an anatomically accurate heart on a pendant. I’m very interested in it. Is it possible for you to let me know the cost and how long after I order one would it be ready.
    Thank you!

  2. Mrs Peterson on said:

    Head to www.mrspetersonpottery to find online shops or email sales@mrspetersonpottery for any further info! Thanks :)

  3. garrianne lam on said:

    Hi Brianna,
    I’m sending you messages via several links I’ve found for you. I’m your Mom’s old Minnesota friend. Trying to reach your Mom. Spoke to her a month ago, but the last two times I called I got a commercial voice message instead of your sweet voice, so I’m wondering if the number changed or something.
    Hope all is well.
    Bye for now,

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