Maker, photographer and designer Myf Garven is quietly, artistically expanding her knowledge and learning as much as possible.
"My voice is very little, I apologise," she says as I lean in to hear her.
Always a curious person, Garven didn't always know she was creative.
Growing up she thought she would be a receptionist or a teacher. She studied education and primary school teaching at the University of Newcastle, but didn't finish.
"I felt I didn't have the voice or confidence for it," she says.
It was interesting to me because I was creating something from scratch and using materials that initially came from the earth.Myf Garven
Eventually she returned for her BA in design and visual communications. Upon graduation, Garven worked various jobs: real estate, a paper company and design studio Ronnoco.
Currently she works one day a week doing design, marketing and photography at St Phillips Christian College. The rest of the time she freelances from The Roost Creative's co-working space in Newcastle.
She loves being part of Newcastle's creative community, but she's found it difficult at times. She not professionally trained in photography, and when she worked in real estate she struggled finding a photographer who would let her tag along and learn.
She felt overwhelmed at a wedding workshop last year, surrounded by experienced photographers. Luckily she connected with photographers from Newcastle attending the workshop, who later connected her with photographer James Bennett, who had shot her brother's wedding.
"Luckily [that wedding] was one of his favourites and I was able to leverage my brother's coolness to put me on James' radar as a potential second shooter," she says.
(A second shooter is an extra photographer, capturing the in-between moments.) The two worked one wedding together, and Garven enjoyed seeing how Bennett directed and posed his clients.
She loves the people aspect of photography, but she also loves working with her hands.
"Last year I did a TAFE course called woodwork, cabinetry making. It was awesome to work with wood, a material that's around forever," she says.
When Garven was at university, a potter, Coralie Crouch, taught Garven how to make ceramics.
"It was interesting to me because I was creating something from scratch and using materials that initially came from the earth," Garven says. "A form that could be functional while using my own hands, a usable item I can use in my own kitchen and give as a gift."
Now Garven does it in her own garage; she has a wheel and a baby kiln. She describes her style as minimal.
"I love the crazy glazes, but I like to keep it simple. I usually make the mugs on my wheel at home. You knead the clay, getting the air pockets out. [Then] I'm on the wheel for 20 minutes depending on how big it is and how intense I get into making it thin. I let it dry overnight [leather dry] then I trim it. I turn it upside down to get rid of the excess, shape it a bit, and then I stamp with a G. Then I dry it out completely, then it goes in the kiln for a bisque firing. Once it's done, I glaze it. I dip it in any of my glazes."
Her typical glazes are black, white and an earthy brown tenmoku glaze. The G stamp stands for Grounded by Designs, her branded ware.
In 2019 Garven started selling her ceramics at the Roost Market stalls. Initially she sold ceramics, but she's added some small fine art print.
She's open to unique forms of payment and trade. Her website reads: "Your investment is quoted per project and is subject to your budget and the purpose of the work. I'm also open to trading my offerings for more creative forms of payment (whether that's in goods, services or skills)."
Garven's own wisdom: "I think everyone is creative; it's just about giving a person a space to create. Everyone's got a different creative part," she says.
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