Ella Bendrups hand-builds ceramics from her home studio in Melbourne’s northern suburbs utilising pinching, carving and slab building techniques to create functional and sculptural pieces with an organic feel. With the launch of The New Heirlooms, our Christmas campaign which celebrates limied-edition artist-made pieces and the notion of giving and receiving those very special gifts, we take the opportunity to chat with Ella about a sentimental family possession, passed through a generation from her grandmother to her.

Ella with her heriloom!

Can you please tell us about something special you treasure, perhaps it was handed down to you or you would like to see it passed on?

One of my most treasured possessions is this traditional Latvian sterling silver and amber brooch. It is a piece that my grandmother would have had in her teens that she carried with her through World War 2 and immigration to Australia with my grandfather. It was earmarked for me, the youngest of seven grandchildren, and has been with me since her death around 20 years ago. Although I didn’t get the chance to know my grandmother as a grown woman, she left the family an account of her life in her self translated diaries spanning 1938 through post war immigration. Reading these diaries has enriched my understanding of what a courageous and resilient woman she was and I find myself wearing the brooch not only at family gatherings but also on the odd occasion as a talisman of sorts when I feel I need a little extra courage.

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