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Meet the Artists | Cone 11

Meet the Artists | Cone 11

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At Melbourne Clay, our mission is to be a distinguished centre of excellence in the field of ceramics, focusing on small to medium-scale production with a specialization in hospitality and architectural ceramics.

We offer the resources and expertise necessary for the creation of distinctive and enduring designs. Our primary objective is to provide a dynamic platform where designers and industry professionals converge to explore, innovate, and elevate the standards of ceramics production, while always being committed to upholding the highest standards of quality, craftsmanship, and sustainability in ceramics.  


In tandem with our production facilities, Melbourne Clay is dedicated to delivering the highest standard industry training, equipping individuals with the skills and knowledge needed to excel in the ceramics sector. Through our professional training programs, we seek to empower aspiring makers, ensuring they are well-prepared to navigate the complexities of the ceramic industry. By fostering a collaborative and inspiring environment, Melbourne Clay strives to be a hub where ideas flourish, talents thrive, and the boundaries of ceramics are constantly pushed.


Our mission is not just to shape clay but to shape the future of ceramic, leaving an indelible mark on the industry and those who are part of our vibrant community.


Colin Hopkins

Colin, a ceramic artist based in Melbourne, draws inspiration from his diverse background as a former practicing architect and jazz pianist. His artistic journey seamlessly intertwines elements from his past professions, revealing intriguing parallels among architecture, music, and ceramics.

In 1984, Colin graduated with a Bachelor of Arts (Music) from the Victorian College of the Arts. Later, in 1991, he earned both a Bachelor of Architecture and a Bachelor of Planning and Design from The University of Melbourne. In 2008, he added a Diploma of Arts (Ceramics) from Box Hill Institute of TAFE to his academic achievements.

Colin's accolades include prestigious awards such as the Nell Norris and The Stevenson and Turner Architecture prizes from the University of Melbourne. In 2010, he was granted The Australia Council’s Artstart Grant. Colin has honed his craft under the guidance of accomplished ceramicists, including Shane Kent, Phil Elson, and Kevin Boyd. His quest for knowledge and inspiration takes him regularly to Japan.

Initially an architect with a fascination for light's transformative impact on space, Colin's journey took an unexpected turn during a 2006 trip to Japan. There, he discovered the sublime beauty of hand-crafted porcelain, igniting a passion that redirected his career. Upon returning, Colin embraced a hands-on approach, immersing himself in a two-year ceramics course at Box Hill Institute. This marked the inception of his own brand of meticulously crafted ceramic luminaires, known as "PORCELUME." Colin has mastered the art of hand-throwing porcelain to achieve an extraordinary thinness, allowing his creations to exude a captivating translucency akin to a musical melody.


Ilona Topolcsanyi

A Melbourne-based potter, Ilona initially completed a Bachelor of Health Sciences (Chinese Medicine) at Victoria University (2000) before embarking on ceramics-based studies at Box Hill Institute of TAFE, completing a Diploma of Arts, Ceramics (2008). During this time she also completed a skills development artist residency at the International Ceramic Centre in Keshkemet, Hungary. In 2022, Ilona completed a Grad Dip in Fine Art - ceramics.

Ilona has made tableware for many of Australia’s critically acclaimed restaurants including Brae (VIC), Aria (NSW) and QGOMA (QLD).


Her latest venture is ‘The Good Plate.’ A tableare range that also contributes to training refugees in the hospitality industry.

Her work has been included in various exhibitions including C3, The Convent Gallery and The Australian Design Centre National Touring Exhibition. She has recently been the recipient of Delicious Magazine’s Design Excellence Award.

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