We Are Freo - Belen Berganza
Meet Belen Bergenza. Belen is an incredible Fremantle ceramic artist from Spain. Since we first met 5 years ago when she brought her creations to our Collab store, we have become great friends and worked on may creative collaborations from her art installation for our Fair trade conference to her jewellery collection for our Game Changer collection and her stint as an ANJELMS model.
Tell us a little about yourself
I am Belen Berganza, ceramic artist based in Fremantle, Western Australia. I create unique, contemporary, sustainable handmade ceramics using porcelain and earthenware. I want to offer products that are not disposable, have a timelessness and are worthy of being passed on through the generations
My love for clay and porcelain developed during the 80's when I started to study art, design and ceramics in Spain for four years. My work during that time concentrated on making sculptures utilising high temperature clay and decorating it with porcelain.
What led you to Fremantle?
As I started to travel, porcelain as a raw material became the main material and I developed with my partner a line of porcelain jewellery.
Targeting mainly surfers, this line was produced in Spain and marketed also in Portugal and southern France under the brand of Big Bamboo.
In 1996 "Big Bamboo" moved to Bali where we set up a workshop and trained the staff personally in the same handmade techniques.
Big Bamboo shop was opened after few months, selling a wider range of collections to clients from all over the world including custom made designs."Big bamboo" jewellery featured also a porcelain range set in silver.
In 2007 I moved to Fremantle, home of my partner, and it has been home since then, started from zero, the following year I open my first little workshop and showcase my work in galleries and markets.
During these 15 years my work has been greatly influenced by Fremantle, its colours, people, and nature.
I love to go bush walking and I collect nuts from the ground, these beautiful nuts inspired me to make wind chimes bells replicating the gumnut shapes in porcelain, so a new line of products started to take shape and expanded to a wide range of wind chimes using also coloured porcelain.
Fremantle and her strong artist community feels very much like home. I enjoy the breadth of creativity that exists and is shared in Freo by such a diverse range of artists. In particular, Halka, of Halka B Organics and Gaelle of the Anjelms Project (in the Fibonacci Centre and the Freo Markets)
After my first trip to the northern region of WA, and experience for the first time the textures and colours of the rock formations, I created the first pebble diffusers utilising local clay when possible and available and in collaboration with another local “Halka B Organics” who added the very powerful essential oil “bush blend” and another new line took shape.
I’ll never stop creating and seeing the wondrous inspirations that surround me in the lovely coastal, homely community of Fremantle.
What is the story behind your print?
When I think about Fremantle, all those images come into my mind, and the line were all the images are sitting is the time and space that connects all of them.
What are your favourite spots in Fremantle and any tips for visitors or newcomers?
I think my favourite place is port beach, it is the spot that I go after a long day working to connect with nature. A beach walk and a swim it is just magic.
I also like to walk along the streets of Fremantle from North to east and south in the late evening after the sun has set and feel the coolness of the night.
Meet the other neighbours on their walk and stop for a little chat.
Photography by @raquelarand.a