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9 April 2020

Erin Tsubono of erinswindow describes herself as introverted, in complete contrast to her ethereal ceramic sculptures which very literally carry a hand-painted narrative on their delicate porcelain surface. For Erin, her practice is a way to connect with and wonder about the world around her; to muse about walks in nature, animals, concerns as a mother, and to quietly contemplate self and inner strength.

This month erinswindow celebrated its 8th birthday, we caught up with Erin to see how she has continued to stay creative and inspired.

How would you describe erinswindow?

erinswindow is my art practice of hand-built ceramics and other mediums. Wood, paper, fibre and wire are also my favourite mediums to work on!

I named my art practice ‘erinswindow’ because it is a window I see the world through, and also for people to peep into my world. I think everyone has their own unique and very interesting world. By cutting open a window, we can learn more about the maker and connect with each other.

When did you feel the first urge to pursue ceramics? How did that make you feel?

It was a way of art therapy when with my daughter, I had fled from a severe domestic violence situation to start a new life in Brisbane. The quiet time with this tactile and honest medium made me feel what I was feeling: naming, embracing and processing, being able to express those feelings and being empowered rather than a victim of the situation. I think it is such a powerful thing.

You started Erinswindow living in the Brisbane suburb of Auchenflower, how did this influence your practice?

I love Auchenflower! I feel grateful that my daughter grew up from 2 to 5 years old amongst huge foliage, birds, jacaranda flowers and perfect warm weather. It influenced my images to grow more free, brighter and happier.

Erinswindow is a full-time practice for you, how did you make the transition from your day job?

While working full-time, I started making many ceramics pieces, photographing, blogging and communicating with people out there. I spent much time studying how my favourite Etsy sellers were doing well. I saw the key was the openness that allowed the genuine connections, and the sincere care for the customers.

Your pieces exude a sense of peaceful contemplation and whimsy, what inspires you to create?

What makes me smile in the everyday life. Rather than looking for external inspirations or stimuli all the time, my art practice is like my diary. Looking into my own internal thoughts in the everyday. That then would not exhaust, I have never experienced artist’s block for that reason 🙂

How has your style evolved over time, and what has influenced its development?

erinswindow celebrated 8 years full time this month! My style has certainly evolved over 8 years to a much finer style. I think much is to do with practice and I am grateful I have been able to practice this long.

What does a day in the life of Erin look like? Tell us about your creative process.

After I send my daughter to school, I go to my rustic garage studio full of natural light looking into the veggie garden. It’s my sanctuary. My dog and cat are always around me. I don’t drive so I walk to get boxes and supplies, and to the post office to post all my parcels.

Since a year ago, I have been extremely busy in creating a community art space MakersWindow with many other community members, I am often having meetings and running classes there.

How has your practice been affected by the current state of the world?

People are in a state of shock and not spending so it has affected sales on my Etsy shop. I also made the decision to close the door to MakersWindow two weeks ago, cancelling all the classes, exhibitions, shop, markets and other events planned. It is devastating.

My response to keep erinswindow afloat during the next difficult months is an alternative and affordable way to bring erinswindow to your everyday life wherever you are. I have made short videos and will be sharing how I make different pieces in clay or other mediums.

As for the drive in my art practice, it is going strong or even stronger in such a state, I have much more to feel and express 🙂

What are the things you’re trying to do to stay creative on a daily basis?

I think seeing so many people in the community come to make things together around the big table has been a wonderful way for me to stay creative. It’s like going back to art school with all the interesting peers! I missed this as I work on my own in my garage studio otherwise.

I have been enjoying oil painting recently. It is outside my comfort zone and I love it.

I also go for a walk, spend some time in the garden, learning from and having fun with my 11-year-old, Mayo!

Do you have any exciting projects coming up for erinswindow?

In November me and my daughter will be part of Bowerbirds Design Market. I also have a solo exhibition in Canberra next year in the calendar. I would love to have another opportunity to exhibit in Brisbane again 🙂