Spotlight | Peta Berghofer, Ceramicist

one of our homegrown talents is about to fly the coop!

Peta Berghofer (12 of 20).jpg

We’re back with another spotlight interview!

This week we met up with Peta Berghofer at First Coat Studios, just on the news that she has been awarded the Bellmaine French Appreciation Travelling Scholarship by USQ! We’ll let her tell you more about that below, but congratulations Peta – we’re so proud of this homegrown talent!

To catch Peta’s work before she jets off, make sure you visit her current exhibition at the Regional Art Gallery, which is completely free to attend, but ends on 3 February. We spoke to her about ideal weekends, chosen families and the chips she’ll miss most in France.

Peta Berghofer (3 of 20).jpg
Peta Berghofer (7 of 20).jpg
Peta Berghofer (16 of 20).jpg

Name: Peta Berghofer
Occupation: artist
Known For: Colourful ceramics that mix elements of function and sculpture
Born: Toowoomba

first things first: why toowoomba?

I've always lived in Toowoomba and am pretty proud to say so. After finishing high school I wasn't quite sure what was next. I connected with making art and knew I wanted to stay close to family. So I did what made sense and enrolled at USQ to complete a Bachelor of Creative Arts. When finishing at the end of 2016 with my honours degree, I was lucky enough to find a space and a like minded community at Toowoomba's First Coat Studios. It's been the best place to continue the development of my arts practice - it's been a dream and a damn good time.

Through the support of USQ and the Bellmaine French Appreciation Travelling Scholarship, I'm soon heading to France for the greater part of 2019. I'll be undergoing a selection of ceramic artist residencies and am looking forward to sharing this all upon my return home!

What do you do?

I am an artist who primarily works with clay. I am interested in making objects that explore both functional and sculptural ceramics and how installation can bring these two sides of the spectrum together. With traditional, domestic forms as a starting point, my latest body of work Commonplace is a collection of objects made or installed to disrupt a sense of functionality. Each form is made to be about things as well as for things, placing a focus on facility and concept driven work.

Each year I select a new colour palette for my work to keep things fresh. These combinations usually present themselves in everyday environments, reoccurring in architecture, interiors and fashion.

What have you learned about running a business in Toowoomba? What are the unique benefits and challenges?

It's pretty early in the game, but so far I've found running my arts practice in Toowoomba quite exciting. There are many unique opportunities to grab a hold of including exhibitions, residencies and stockists all over town, and I've found the more you involve yourself the better it gets! Toowoomba has a really nurturing and close arts community who are ready to show their love, backed by the wider community who is becoming more and more interested in supporting local.

The only challenge may be the distance from bigger cities and other artists and galleries located there - but the internet and travel make an arts practice in any location completely possible.    

What does an average day look like for you?

I usually start with a quick tidy of my space if it’s a day spent in the studio. This clears my mind to begin a few hours of business stuff like writing emails, applications or words to accompany my artwork. The rest of the day is ideally spent on a body of work or maybe even juggling a few. This could be at the beginning stage of a project - researching other artists, making sketches or admittedly, spending way too much time on Pinterest. Or it could be during the making stage - mixing clay, creating forms, glazing and firing the kiln.

No two days are really the same though and I guess that's the beauty.

What does your ideal Toowoomba weekend look like?

Coffee and breakfast on a Saturday morning with a friend, followed by a relaxed studio day surrounded by the First Coat team. A sneaky trip to an op shop would happen somewhere along the way, with a 3pm knock-off. Date night Saturday evening with Sunday spent catching up on washing, reading and writing. And maybe a little nap in-between.

Pretty unrealistic but a gal can dream.

Only a Toowoomba local would know…

Super Rooster and the importance of their 5 star chippies.


PERK UP: Bar Wunder (for a doggy pat, a bevvy and a boogie in that order)

RELAX: A drive out to the Toowoomba surrounds with no particular destination in mind.

EAT: Sofra or Kajoku

INDULGE: The Bakers Duck   

SHOP: Bunker Records, an op shop here and there, and an online perusal with Wonders of the Volcano

CATCH UP: Ground Up or Ortem

BE INSPIRED: Toowoomba Regional Art Gallery, First Coat Studios and Alexandra Lawson Gallery


More spotlight interviews –