Blogs (Media Centre)

TAFE NSW skills new generation of ceramic artists


TAFE NSW skills new generation of ceramic artists

TAFE NSW is skilling a new generation of in-demand ceramic masters as COVID-19-induced manufacturing and supply chain issues lead to an unprecedented surge in demand for Australian-made products. 

Research released by Roy Morgan showed that Australian-made products have experienced a surge in support, with 93% of Australians more likely to buy a product that is locally made[1].

Vanessa Sim had previously completed a short course in ceramics and found she was really enjoying it and could see it as an artform she could really develop in.

“I loved it but I wanted to find a course that would give me a strong technical foundation in the craft and thought the Diploma of Ceramics at TAFE NSW would be the right choice,” Ms Sim said.

“I wanted to get technically skilled and knowledgeable enough in ceramics to be able to maintain my own practice without the guidance of teachers or an educational institution. I also wanted to study at TAFE NSW rather than university because I wanted the focus to be more practical than conceptual, and to encourage the creation of functional objects as much as 'art'.”

Vanessa enrolled in the Diploma of Ceramics at TAFE NSW Gymea and has since returned home to Alice Springs where she has secured a position at Hermannsburg Potters on Western Aranda country in Ntaria/Hermannsburg in Central Australia.

She says she enjoyed producing a body of work in the Diploma so much she plans to return for further study in the Advanced Diploma to explore ceramics as an arts practice further.

“I wanted to produce a larger body of work and seek more opportunities to exhibit and engage with the broader ceramics community. This will all take off in 2022, when I'm scheduled to join in several exhibitions both through TAFE NSW and externally. It will be an exciting year!”

TAFE NSW Head Teacher of Visual Arts at TAFE NSW Gymea Christene Casali said the demand for locally made products was leading to a genuine revival in the industry, and leading more artists like Vanessa to pursue ceramics as a career path.

“Many people view ceramics as a hobby so it’s great to see people like Vanessa really taking it and forging a career path using the skills she has learned,” Christine said.

“The ceramics field is booming thanks to increased demand for locally, sustainably made products. TAFE NSW can give students the practical skills and knowledge they need to pursue a rewarding career in the sector or build their own ceramics business.”

Hermannsburg Potters is an Aboriginal Art Centre renowned for making beautiful and sought after terracotta pots with detailed paintings of their country and remote community life. In her new role, Ms Sim is working with Aboriginal artists to develop a range of slip cast homewares to diversify their practice.

“I didn't really think it would be possible to find paid employment as a ceramicist, although this was always a dream goal tucked away in the back of my mind,” Ms Sim said.

“I'm sure the training I received at TAFE NSW was a significant reason for being successful in applying for the job. It enabled me to get both a broad ceramics education, but also to really hone in on the skills I wanted to develop in slip casting and mould making, which were the particular skills needed for this position.”  

To learn more about the range of visual arts and ceramics courses available at TAFE NSW head to or phone 131 601.   

Media contact: Alice Dalley, TAFE NSW Communications Specialist,, mobile 0402 528 210.