Welcome to our 'Meet the Maker' blog series!
I'm so excited to share our first 'Meet the Maker' blog with you. This will be a special series featuring our billie brands, focusing on the wonderful makers behind the treasures!
We are so inspired by the dedication, craft, passion and joy that our wonderful billie brands share with the world. As well as their beautiful products, we think their stories and journeys ought to be showcased, too!
What was once a hobby, just a 'dream', or a passion project, is now a flourishing business and source of joy for many wonderful customers. We hope that through sharing these stories, you are inspired, too, to follow your dreams and believe anything is possible!
An Introduction to Tea4Two Art
Alana is a talented creative, mother of two and is the business-owner of Tea4Two Art.
Based in Adelaide, South Australia, Alana works from her studio in her home, creating bespoke porcelain treasures. With a background as an Art Teacher, Alana's wonderful products are now stocked in several stores across the country!
A selection of Alana's beautiful creations are available for you to shop on our online store, yay!
Alana, the maker and owner behind Tea4Two Art, with some of her handmade, bespoke porcelain treasures.
It was Sophie's pleasure to chat with Alana, and find out more about her story and what has inspired her business, Tea4Two Art. Here are some words from Alana herself - enjoy!
Chatting with Alana, from Tea4Two Art
S: Thank you so much for joining us for our ‘Meet the Maker’ series! We know how awesome your business and YOU are, but to start off, how would you describe your business/products to someone whom has just stumbled across Tea4Two Art?
A: Thank you so much for having me! I use beautiful, white porcelain clay to hand build unique pieces like jewellery, homewares and treasured gifts.
The 'Art Deco' Drop Earrings, handmade by Alana & available to shop here!
S: Takes us through a day in life of Alana at Tea4Two Art. Does your day start with the sweet smell of coffee, too? *Ahhhh*
A: Coffee always! I didn’t drink coffee until I had kids, haha!
Depending on what I’m up to in the making stage, it could be a day of creating, sanding, painting, glazing or shiny gold painting.
My youngest has just started Kindergarten, so I only have three days a week to jam pack it in.
A: Sometimes if I’m in the middle of something and the kids are home, I succumb to the fact I have to work at night when they’re in bed.
S: Could you take us through the process of bringing your porcelain treasures to life?
A: I completely hand build my pieces, meaning I don’t use a pottery wheel.
A: So, everything does come out uneven, or a little organic looking.. but I guess that’s the beauty!
I use a rolling pin and other tools to build my pieces - it takes at least a few days to fill my kiln!
When they are dry, I give each piece a light sand to smooth edges. I also add the colour details, then they go in for their first firing! This usually takes about 9 hours.
Alana in making mode - creating one of her handmade pots, from beautiful porcelain.
A: When the kiln is cool after a day or so, I glaze each piece with a liquid glaze, then fire again, for about 7 hours. It may take more time to cool down as it gets to a very high temperature - making porcelain so strong!
Then, if I add gold, copper or silver, I hand paint the details on to each piece and fire for the third time. Once the kiln is cool again after a day, I give the unglazed surfaces a polish, and then they are ready to go!
S: Wow! How did you start your business? Was there a particular lightbulb moment, or did it eventuate after some time of manifesting and dreaming?
A: I first started [making my porcelain treasures] whilst on maternity leave from work between my two kids.
A: Being an Art Teacher, there has always been some form of dreaming, creating and making.. but it wasn’t until I went to my first two-day market in Adelaide that I realised what I was making was actually what some people wanted to buy!
S: What is your favourite part of having your own business?
A: Being allowed to be creative every day and working around my children is amazing! I’m so very grateful.
Handcrafted, porcelain pot made by Alana.
S: What is the most challenging part of making such beautiful, delicate pieces?
A: Most definitely having the patience for the many steps of ceramics, but also the heartbreak when pieces crack in the kiln! You never really know what you’re going to get until you open the door!
S: A piece of advice for those out there wanting to be their own boss/start up a business?
A: If you have an idea, just do it! Let it grow naturally and you never know where it could take you - how exciting!
If you have children, most definitely having a partner who is supportive – there are many components people don’t think about being a solo operator; such as photographing work, website updating and all of the emails!
S: Has there been a significant moment on your entrepreneurial journey that really stands out as a ‘highlight’ moment?
A: Possibly my first ever wholesale enquiry, but also meeting beautiful people through markets and social media.
Trinket Dish with Affirmation 'Do What You Love', made by Alana.
S: Last one: We just gave you a magic wand, and you have the power to fulfil your wildest dream for Tea4Two Art.. What is it?!
A: To get to Melbourne for a market! 2020!
With the magic wand waved, a little elf to help me also, haha!
billie loves a quiz!
S: Your favourite food?
S: Your coffee order?
S: Favourite colour?
S: Favourite Season?
S: Your Fave Inspirational Figure?
A: Salvador Dali
S: Favourite TV Show/Movie?
A: Reality Cooking or Home Reno!
It was an absolute pleasure to learn more about Alana and her gorgeous business, Tea4Two Art. We are so thrilled to have her on our journey - Alana is a shining example for us to follow our passions and make time for what brings us joy. For when we follow what lights us up, our light shines for others to be inspired!
- Sophie x
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Handpicked from billie's collection: Tea4Two Art