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Meet these Freo Makers

04 October 2022

Meet four makers who each call ‘Freo’ home. How has this place and its creative community shaped and suppored their practices?

These artisans will showcase their wares, alongside over 100 others, at Made on the Left Christmas Markets – Perth's longest running hand-made designer market. Head to Esplanade Park on 29 and 30 October, 10 am to 5 pm, to start your Christmas shopping early and discover an abundance of creative talents and one-of-a-kind gifts.

FRANCESCA GEROMINO | Ceramic artist (Fra’s Ceramics)

Nature is a huge source of inspiration through its colours and shapes and I feel deeply inspired while walking in nature or swimming in the ocean.

person hold hand crafted ceramic plate in front of blue sky, turquoise ocean and white sands

I first discovered the world of ceramics when I was 5 years. I became fascinated with the little studios on a family vacation in Tuscany. But when I returned my small hometown island called La Maddalena in Sardinia, Italy, there was no way to make ceramics.

When I was 27 years old, a local ceramist finally opened a course and I fell in love immediately – over the next 8 years, I moved to London, then left my corporate job to study ceramics in Camden and transformed my hobby into my dream job.

I was in isolation in my London apartment in 2020 when I founded Fra's Ceramics. The following January I moved to Fremantle.

“My first year in Fremantle was a busy one!”

Moving from London to Fremantle was challenging at first, but I fell in love with Freo’s creative, friendly community. I had finally found the place where I fit in.

I joined TAFE, organised a group exhibition, participated in markets, worked as a potter and a teacher, organised my own ceramic classes, joined local ceramics clubs and arts organisations and began selling my pieces in different shops around Perth and Fremantle.

I also became the mum of a beautiful baby boy.

My community supported me as a mum and as an artist and have welcomed my teaching offers and ceramics-related events – from Saturday afternoon workshops to 5-week hand-building course and a school holiday ceramics workshop (ages 9+).


flowers pressed into clay

"I would love to help [mums and caregivers] through ceramics"

My old friend, Claire Krouzecky, is an artist and mum whose work inspired my understanding that I could help women who are caregivers, through ceramics. For her project, THE MUMS, she sat in a South Fremantle coffee shop every day, for a whole month and painted mums having their coffee – taking time for themselves and self-care. She understood the need of mums to be seen and heard.

I love seeing how people can be creative with clay and how it uplifts their mood. I'm currently building a small community on my social media, of women that follow their dreams, no matter what – especially those who are mums or caregivers, at home or at work.

I truly love teaching, especially to those who spend their life taking care of others (at work or family) and feel the need to fill up their cup with a creative activity like ceramics. I help them feel relaxed and reconnect with their creativity and play. I like to think I provide them a space for selfcare where they can forget what is going on in their life and truly be themselves.

Fra’s Ceramics produces handmade ceramics made in Fremantle (Western Australia). All the pieces are made by the artist Francesca Geromino and inspired by her hometown nature, an island and national park in the Mediterranean Sea. Shapes are organic with highly textured surfaces, created using plants and textile imprinting. Each product is unique, functional and designed for homeware.


FLEUR BARRETT | Wildeflower Luxury Candles

I love being part of the Fremantle lifestyle – and I made candles to reflect the diversity of living here.

person smiles, looking directly out to audience

I spent my early years with my wonderful grandmother and she used to take me out to the most beautiful rose gardens and let me smell every one of them. Then in the evening, before bed, she would always light a small red candle in the lounge room, make me a small warm hot chocolate and watch the evening news.

After I left a successful career in real estate, I had such a strong desire to do something creative. So, inspired by memories of treasured times with my wonderful grandmother I started making candles with beautiful scents.

“Different cultures, unique in every way”

Fremantle holds a special place in my heart - I moved here with my dad and sisters, when I was 23, after losing our Mum and I’ve had a love affair with the city ever since.

There’s such diversity – whether laying on the grass at the Esplanade, spending time at the beach, listening to great bands or enjoying all the exhibitions – and different cultures, unique in every way. Much like each candle I would make.

After one year and almost a thousand test candles, I had around six beautiful candles that I hoped people would love. And they did!

I’m so grateful to be part of the amazing Made on The Left again this year.

Wildeflower Luxury Candles invites you to infuse your space with luxurious scented candles. Each one is handcrafted in Western Australia - meticulously made by hand, using the highest quality ingredients.


BELEN BERGANZA | Ceramic artist

Fremantle and her strong artist community feels very much like home, and my work has been greatly influenced by this city, its colours, people, and nature.

two blue ceramic pieces

My love for clay and porcelain developed in Spain during the 80s. I studied ceramics for four years in Madrid and combined my love of art with formal training to make high quality clay sculptures. I decorated them using porcelain.

Then porcelain became my main material when I started to travel. My partner and I developed a line of porcelain jewellery called Big Bamboo which targeted surfers. We produced it in Spain, and marketed it in Portugal and southern France too.

When we took Big Bamboo to Bali in 1996, we set up a workshop, trained the staff in handmade techniques, then opened a Big Bamboo shop to share our collections and custom-made designs with people from all over the world.

"Fremantle has been my home ever since"

In 2007, I moved to Fremantle, opened my first workshop and showcased my work in Freo’s galleries and markets. It’s been my home ever since.

I enjoy the breadth of creativity that exists and is shared in Freo by such a diverse range of artists. Especially, Halka, of Halka B Organics and Gaelle of the Anjelms Project (in the Fibonacci Centre and Freo Markets).

"Wondrous inspirations surround me"

My bush walks inspired a new line of products, gumnut-shaped wind chime bells, which expanded to a wide range of wind chimes using coloured porcelain.

The textures and colours of northern WA’s rock formations inspired another new line. I created my first pebble diffusers using local clay, when available, and collaborated with Freo local, Halka B Organics, to add a powerful ‘bush blend’ essential oil.

It’s been 15 years since I moved here and I’ll never stop creating and seeing the wondrous inspirations of this beautiful coastal, homely community.

Belen Berganza creates unique, contemporary, sustainable handmade ceramics using porcelain and earthenware. She focuses on offering products that are not disposable - that have a timelessness and are worthy of being passed on through generations.


JO RILEY | Photographer (Coastal West Creative)

I’ve been a professional photographer for 10 years and created Coastal West Creative to share the images that I love creating outside of my commercial work – images showcasing WA’s beautiful coastline and picturesque locations.

photographer smiles while taking photo in rear view mirror with a camera

Everyday items and scenes around me are my inspiration – I use my camera to capture their beauty and see things in a different way and apply a range of photography techniques and creative editing to produce unique images which inspire happiness.

I wish I’d moved here years earlier! I’ve found a community vibe in East Freo that doesn’t exist in other parts of Perth. There’s so much diversity – oceans, beaches, the Swan River, food, arts, creativity and the people.

One of the best things about markets like Made on the Left is the number of inspiring creative people you meet:

  • Artists like Harriet Perryer from Sca.Har, Lisa Gardner from Kor by Lisa (both Freo based) use the natural elements as the basis of their creations which is what I seek to do with my photography.
  • Photographers such as Nigel Gaunt, Dale Neill, Des Lewis, Tony Dunkley are all inspirations to my work and have been great mentors or business partners at different times in my creative journey.

I’m looking forward to watching people enjoy my work at Made on the Left, and talking with them about adventures they’ve have had around the state.

Coastal West Creative sells photography gifts to inspire happiness. You’ll find beautifully crafted greeting cards with images inspired from the world around us and unique photographs for sharing creativity and happiness for all occasions.