While Melbourne-based Kim Jaeger has a Masters in graphic design, she has often worked in different areas within the arts - from sound to video and photography. “Ceramics was just another medium I was trying out,” she says. Kim took a wheel course in 2007 but didn’t return to working with clay until 2011 when she started to hand build. That was when the interest was really ignited. While ceramics are still a part-time occupation for her, she has managed to exhibt in LA, Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Adelaide. Kim also works with several retailers who stock her retail-based art. “My work sits in a funny place,” she says. “Somewhere between retail and artwork because they are one-offs. So the stockists who have taken on my work I really appreciate and trust that they understand my work. I am really appreciative of that.” Her current exhibition, Nearness at Mt Kitly gallery, a collaborative show with Anna Varendorff, runs until May 3.
Which five words best describe you? Curious, hardworking, impatient - which is a terrible combination with ceramics! - honest, proactive.
How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? I’m a trained graphic designer but somehow got into arts management/events/marketing somewhere along the way but kept up my art practise during evenings and weekends. I’m not very good at sitting still. It’s something I’m trying to work on. As far as ceramics goes, initially I approached stockists I thought might understand my work to have a look and see if it would be a fit with their retail spaces. Because I see them a little differently than normal mass-produced pieces the retailers I approached I felt had an understanding of this. From there it’s grown into exhibitions, collaborations, projects and teaching. All of which I’m very grateful and excited about!
What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? To be open to everything but to only work with people who you respect and that in turn respect you and your work.
What’s your proudest career achievement? I don’t know if I have just one event that I’m most proud of. Maybe teaching? I really enjoy passing on skills and encouraging people to make art.
What’s been your best decision? In my life? To become a mother. By far the best and most challenging thing I have done. Also to live overseas for a time. I hope I get the opportunity to do that again.
Who inspires you? Lots of people for lots of different reasons. My partner Andy for his patience and humble nature - amongst other things, my daughter for her zingy way in the world, my excellent circle of friends and family that support me and other artists who work hard at their practise and don’t stop experimenting and pushing their work.
What are you passionate about? My family, my friends, making, art, equality, travel, good design, the ocean, home environments.
Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? This is a hard one. Maybe David Attenborough? I’ve seen him talk a few years back and he was quite entertaining, plus I hear he has quite a collection of ceramics - maybe he’d let me take a peek?
What dream do you still want to fulfil? I’d love to build a house with my family one day with a studio for my partner and I to work in - currently my studio is in our laundry/my kitchen table. I’d also love to do a residency overseas. Do more teaching. More collaborations. Is this too many dreams? I have lots more.
What are you reading? I just finished - last night - The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion. I can’t stop thinking about what it means to have everything you need emotionally and then the next your world is completely changed; grief is a big, big thing to sit with. Wow. What a way to end an interview. Let’s all ponder our own fate. It’s a good thing to do once in a while though, I think. It makes you not sweat the small stuff.