After over a decade of working in the classroom as an art teacher, Simone Moerman decided it was time for a change.
She met the love of her life, Lee, a man with a wanderlust which led her to travelling the world and living abroad and when she returned home to Western Australia she knew she had reached a "new season" in her life.
Today, Simone and Lee have two beautiful children and an art studio they run out of their home in Falcon Bay which treats guests to an indulgent day of ceramics, delicious food and 'slow living'.
"Once I travelled I was reborn, I realised there was a whole other life out there," Simone said.
"I remember saying to my husband when we got back to Perth, 'I would love to work for myself one day and call the shots'.
"I love the world of teaching but it's really demanding, it doesn't stop in the classroom. I was bringing all my work home and working weekends."
Knowing she and Lee wanted to start a family, Simone decided she wanted flexible work which still fanned her creative flame and allowed for growth.
Realising she loved working with clay, she spent her days creating and dreaming about ways she could incorporate her love into work.
One day, Lee came home with news Simone described as "something like divine intervention".
"I was crying out hoping I could find something that would work out with me creatively and one afternoon my husband comes home and says 'do you want a kiln?'"
A kiln is a thermally insulated chamber which works like an oven to turn objects made from clay into pottery.
"I just laughed because any potter knows getting a kiln or buying one - it's a lot of money and a lot of stuff going on behind the scenes including three phase power."
Simone told Lee she would love one, but said she'd always assumed she'd get one in her retired days.
"He said he'd managed to find a kiln for me which belonged to a family friend who was a ceramicist who wanted to give it to someone - I balled my eyes out, that doesn't happen very often."
After making the trip to Lancelin to meet the generous ceramicist, Simone said she saw a glimpse into her dream future.
"I met the lady, who was in her 70s and had done this her whole life and it felt like she was passing the baton to me in a strange way.
"I had never met her, but I saw her work and I just knew that was where I wanted to be in 40-50 years time, in my house full of old pottery."
Simone said that day changed the trajectory of her life, and with her little boy Ezra running around, and a new baby to arrive any day, she started running her workshops.
"It was when COVID first started, it was a really interesting time to start my own business. I found there was this huge need to escape the reality of what was going on in the world.
"Working with clay, as soon as my hands hit the clay I'm completely centred again - everything I'm worried about and every anxiety melts away. It's like therapy in itself and I wanted to share that."
Simone's experience in the classroom taught her that clay work could help to refocus and destress even the most high-energy students.
She said in a world which glorifies "doing it all", ceramics provided a much-needed break from hustle culture.
"Working with ceramics has completely saved my life. Going back 10 years ago with students who struggled to focus, clay was the one thing that centred them as well.
"And some people with highly stressful jobs who don't have an off switch or don't know how to switch off, they can just check in with themselves and where they're at right now."
Over time, Simone and Lee's workshops at their studio, which they named Studio by the Bay, developed into full and rich retreat-like experiences which they share with locals and visitors alike.
"I'm honoured we can bring that to people. It's a bit of indulgence, my husband and I have turned it into a bit of a retreat experience, it's a sit down meal after a two-hour clay session."
Simone said Lee was not only a wonderful life and business partner, but also the heart behind each meal made with love for guests to the studio.
"He does the incredible cooking, he has such a passion for it. He's a carpenter by trade but really wanted to be in the food industry when he was younger.
"It's like an incredible second life we have."
The added family touch, Simone said, is something guests to the studio love, with her children Ezra and Pia often playing in the garden and herb gardens lining the property - and take home ceramics are a treasured bonus.
"When you take that ceramic piece home you attach the memory with it and it will stay forever.
"If you make a casserole dish with a friend every time it comes out it brings you back to that beautiful moment and reminds you of a very happy time."
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