Ceramic artist Matthew has carved out a niche for himself in the Monte Lupo Arts studio.
The 29-year-old supported employee’s love of African wildlife has inspired a new range of African animal sculptures and planters.
Job coach Bianca Sammut said Matthew’s passion for Africa was evident in his work.
“Matthew’s been to Africa twice with his family and he was talking about Africa and the animals at work one day,” Bianca said. “I asked if he’d like to sculpt the animals and it went from there.
“I just give him a picture and he creates the animal, or he just sees it in his head. He really focuses and makes each piece exact – he’s definitely found his niche.”
Matthews range includes giraffes, turtles, crocodiles, rhinoceros and elephants.
“His work is impressive, people love it,” Bianca said. “The elephants have sold out already.”
Matthew joined Monte Lupo Arts five years ago, when General Manager of Social Enterprise Fiona Haynes noticed his ability to draw.
“Matthew’s really artistic and has become a really valued and contributing member of the team,” Fiona said.
This is Matthew’s first job and along with his new-found independence, he has a great deal of pride in his work.
“When his work is glazed and comes out of the kiln, he gets out his phone and takes pictures,” Bianca said. “He’s really proud of his work.”
While Matthew is in his element sculpting the African wildlife, Bianca said his next career step will be learning to coil to make large mosaic pots.
“He’s a very talented, capable member of the team,” Bianca said.
Matthews African animals sell for $45 and are available online, or in the Monte Lupo Café Gallery and Café in Eight Mile Plains and at Plant Empire on Station Rd, Yeerongpilly.