My obsession with pottery started in the ’70s when we lived in Japan. However, it wasn’t until the late ‘80s, after 16 years of moving and child rearing, that I was able to concentrate on my own work.
I graduated from the 2 year Certificate of Craft Design course at Whitireia Polytech, Porirua, in 1988 and since then have been working with clay.
We returned to Tokyo in 1991 for 4 years where I continued to make pots in an apartment setting (quite challenging!) selling through a few local shops and some exhibitions.
Back in Wellington in ’95 I worked at “Winspears” for a year and joined The Potters’ Shop co-op in Woodward St. Since 1996 I’ve been working from my home workshop and in June that year, five of us opened the “Bake House Gallery”, a mixed media craft/ gift shop.
Both these co-ops have since closed down, and my work is now available from a number of galleries. I also do selected fairs and markets and have 2 open weekends a year at home.
In 2004, I completed a 4 year part-time Diploma of Art (Ceramics) by “distance mode” through Australia National University, Canberra, concentrating on hand built pieces at lower firing temperatures.
I love the rhythm and discipline of throwing functional ware, however, the perfect shape holds no great interest for me. I like pots to have movement.
Early on, my diversion was “ripped edge” slab dishes, which I glazed with Tenmoku, Chun and copper red glazes and fired to cone 10 (1300°C) in my 27cuft gas kiln. The total of 10 years spent in Japan had a definite influence on my choice of glazes.
Carving touchstones and bowls with Koru or Tapa inspired patterns, glazing them with a subtle celadon or vibrant colours were part of my regular output. These days my functional ware is more likely to be lower fired with turquoise or lime green glazes. For a while, I used coloured slips and sgraffito as a change from restrained subtle glazes.
Besides throwing functional ware, I incorporated Koru into coil built vessels and developed lower firing and beading glazes to give an organic feel to this sculptural work. Currently my work is moving on again, and the koru pretty well abandoned.
My sculptural works now have humanoid shapes, though I think of them as “visitors from another world”. Currently evolving into birds, anatomical correctness is not my concern, instead, I like to reflect the nature or spirit of the creature.
Porcelain can be translucent but its whiteness also gives glazes a lift. My “cleanskin” bowls are glazed on the inside with an unglazed but polished outside.
My involvement with The Gear Homestead Woolshed Potters lasted for over thirty years. I have also been a member of the Wellington Potters Association, CeramicsNZ (formerly NZPotters), the NZ Academy of Fine Arts, and am on the St James Gallery Trust, regularly exhibiting with these groups. These days, I am more involved with the UYLP (Unearth Your Local Potter) group, a dozen or so potters from Kapiti and Wellington.
At The Woolshed Potters, I taught night classes for many years and I have given workshops at a number of clubs.
From 2005-2009, I was the Wellington Regional Council member for the NZPotters, culminating in being the convenor for Capital Clay 2009. This was the annual NZPotters’ convention, and included the 50th National Exhibition as well as a retrospective exhibition Shaped by Hand at the Museum of Wellington. The convention was two years in the planning.
Once again in 2016, I took on this job of Regional Council Member for the NZPotters, now renamed CeramicsNZ, and it involved me in organising regional as well as national exhibitions and the Expressive Ceramics 2018 convention .
I was awarded the inaugural NZSP travel scholarship to attend an overseas conference, which I used towards the International Ceramics Festival in Aberystwyth, Wales in July 2011.
In 2017, I was awarded the excellence award for “Karearea”, a piece submitted for Elements 17, our NZPotters regional exhibition, and a merit award at the 58th National Exhibition.
In 2018 I was a finalist in the prestigious Portage Ceramic Awards.
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