In conversation with Milly Dent - Totem Road
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In conversation with Milly Dent

13.05.2022
In conversation with Milly Dent | Image Size:
With her work sold and exhibited at the Sydney Opera House, The Museum of Contemporary Art Shop, Sainte Cloche Gallery, Kerrie Lowe Gallery, the Australian Design Centre and our very own Totem Road Gallery in Paddington NSW, Milly Dent is a celebrated ceramic artist inspired by everything from gem stones to sculptural form.
 
While we are, of course, in awe of her pieces, what we love most about Milly's approach to creating is that she views her pieces as an antidote to today's throwaway culture - an ethos we share here at Totem Road. We spoke with Milly to find out more about what inspires her, how she turned her passion into a fulltime profession and what she loves to make most.
 
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do?
I’m a ceramic artist and designer, hand-making ceramic tableware, sculpture and lighting - predominantly in Australia porcelain. My tableware is made using small-scale production methods along with distinctive marbling and geometric pattern work - challenging conventional expectations of tableware.
 
In my more recent sculptural work, I further my investigation of the material of porcelain, through a series that bonds perpendicular lines with balanced and fluid clay bodies. Exploring this dichotomy, I examine light and shadow through sculptural ceramic form.
In conversation with Milly Dent | Image Size:50In conversation with Milly Dent | Image Size:50
 
What inspired your move into ceramics? When did this turn into your fulltime profession?
I studied ceramic within my design degree at university, but it really clicked with me when I was working with clay, at 21, in Montreal, Canada in the final year of the degree. I had an innate desire to make, and knew then it was something I wanted to pursue as much as I could, so as soon as I was back in Sydney I joined a communal pottery studio, hired a small desk and never looked back.
 
What is your favourite part of the process?
Opening the glaze kiln to see the fired, finished outcomes which have been a labour of love for the previous weeks. It can be a kiln full of work I have made many times before and I am still delighted to see it!
 
What is your favourite thing to make?
I love handbuilding sculptural work, in a slow and considered way. Once I am in the rhythm or pattern it’s extremely satisfying seeing something come to life whilst also being lost in the meditativeness of making.
 
At Totem Road, sustainability is at the core of our existence. How does it play a role in your practice?
"Sustainability is at the forefront of all my designs, making pieces as an antidote to our consumer-driven nature, where things are replaced without too much thought."
- All materials & clay within the studio is reused or recycled to make more ceramic wares. This includes cracked, broken or chipped pottery which is broken down to tile sized pieces and used in mosaic sculpture, lighting & furniture design.

- Ceramic as a material is sustainable - used to make durable / long-lasting and reusable objects.
In conversation with Milly Dent | Image Size:50In conversation with Milly Dent | Image Size:50
Ok, fast five...
Favourite restaurant?
Out of the Blue, Clovelly
 
The perfect Totem Road x Milly Dent pairing?
Luxa Round Side Table and one of my new Dias Lamps, made from recycled shards in the pottery studio.
 
Last book you read?
Love Stories Trent Dalton
 
Best life advice?
Trust your instincts (mine told me to get a dog and he’s the best!)

Music you're listening to right now?
Have a listen to our studio playlist