Liane Rossler: How can we create smartly and sustainably?

Liane Rossler: How can we create smartly and sustainably?

Liane Rossler: How can we create smartly and sustainably?

Liane Rossler: How can we create smartly and sustainably?

Acknowledgement of Country: This interview was conducted on Gadigal Country. We pay our respects to the traditional custodians of this land, past, present and emerging. We recognise their deep connection to the land and their unique cultural heritage, which continues to enrich our shared community.

Liane Rossler is an artist, designer, curator and founder of Superlocalstudio, a creative practice that focuses on collaborative, cultural and creative projects. Liane also co-founded the iconic design company Dinosaur Designs where she was a designer and director for 25 years. Over the past two decades, she’s been a driving force in Australia's creative landscape, championing the intersections of art, design, and environmental sustainability.

Over the years, we've been very fortunate to learn from Liane. Her wisdom and passion has inspired us to pursue work that carries deep meaning and lasting impact. In this interview, we talk to Liane about her practice, her unique perspective on creativity and the world and advice for fellow creatives who aspire to make a difference in the world.

What are some key principles you use in your creative practice?  

We’re at a point as a society where we’ve made such rapid developments and advancements in manufacturing and production, we’ve gotten too smart for our own good. We’re seeing the enormous impacts we’ve made on the planet.

As creatives, we need to think about what kind of future we’re creating, the incredible opportunity to address that and how it’s going to inspire people.

When I create, I look at every project with a fresh perspective. I think about how to improve it or create it with the least environmental impact. I question what needs to be done, how can we do it, and how we can create in an engaging way—while growing and doing good together.

Every material and process is an integral part of the outcome. If you’re trying to do something beneficial, your process needs to align with what you’re trying to achieve. We need to consider what kind of impact we’re creating during the process and what happens to the product at the end of its life.  

I’m endlessly restored and inspired by nature. We live in a world where we can create anything at any time, but good things take time. If you look to nature, you plant a seed, over time that seed grows into a big tree with a strong foundation. It’s important to create long-term strong growth with a healthy base.

In my studio and my home, I create the opportunity for life to thrive. I’ve always loved gardening. Being able to grow is the gift that keeps on giving. The plants benefit, and we benefit from them. The challenge is how we appreciate them and look after them.

How do you minimise waste and promote sustainability in the work you do?

With my ceramics, what I love about it is the process itself. The clay comes from ‌Earth and you work it with your hands. It's an enriching, enjoyable and intentional process.

If you want it to be stronger and live longer, you add heat to it. If you don’t like it, you put it back in the water and start again. It goes back to the ground. It’s zero waste. The whole process has a cycle of connection to the planet.

The clays are sourced locally and directly from the supplier. They have different textures and characteristics in different states in Australia. By working with suppliers directly, we also support independent businesses.

The outcome of the end product is to nurture life. Whether it’s to display food or plants that nourish us, the purpose of my ceramics is to provide benefits. They’re designed to be timeless and durable. I like to show the simplicity of the material and form. It's calming to the mind and complementary to the nature or food it’s presenting.

When I design exhibitions or events, I also consider all the materials and processes from the outset. I make sure we use materials in the most sustainable way and nothing goes to landfill.

For my collaborative work, the approach remains the same. I work with people who share the same vision. For example, my collaboration with Sarah K, ‘Plastic Fantastic’ for Supercyclers. Plastic is useful, but its disposability and scale is harming the environment. We used waste from a grocery shop and transformed it into beautiful objects, to inspire people to look at plastic products in a different way.

How can creativity address challenges in the transition to a circular economy?

In Pacific and First Nations cultures, life follows a natural circle. Until plastics came in, people used materials from nature. For example, cooking and eating with leaves, and when done, it returned to nature. There’s no waste in nature.

We haven’t always had as much of everything. The scale and disposal of plastic has changed the way we live and the natural environment in the last 50 years. For example, when we look at river systems, plastic packaging, single-use products and fast fashion have caused a lot of harm.  

We can do what we can to stop it, and build an alternative model. In the work I do, each project is part of a long continuous line of practice. They’re like veins on a leaf. They show people how we can create things in a different way, still functional and with design focus, but with less environmental impact. The alternative wave is building and people are taking action. All those actions add up.

What’s your advice for other artists, designers and businesses?

Do good work. Not only what it looks like now, but the process and destination are as important. It’s rewarding when it’s not only the outcome, but the considered effort along the way.

Long-term growth means you need to be patient. There’s so much distraction in the world, it’s important to know our ‘why’ and have a long-term view. Develop patience as you learn new techniques or processes when creating.

Surround yourself with people who share the same vision and do their best to improve the world. Be curious and open. We all have our differences. When they’re shared and amplified, we can achieve better outcomes together.

Learn more


This interview is part of ReCo Circular Sydney 2023 Series, supported by the City of Sydney Knowledge Exchange Sponsorship program. Explore more free content at:

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Interviewed by Danling Xiao. Edited by Lina Wood.

Lina Wood is a science communicator and writer, graduated from a master degree in science communication at The Australian National University. Lina believes science should be easy and interesting for people. She loves the outdoors, and strives to inspire people to protect and cherish our natural world. Connect with Lina on Linkedin.    

Danling Xiao is the co-founder of ReCo Digital. Danling has an unwavering passion for creativity, spirituality and the pursuit of positive change in the world. Connect with Danling on Linkedin

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