What ignited your love of ceramics and how did it all begin?
I’d always been one of those kids who was always creating something, but I didn’t get to try out ceramics until my year in Sweden where it was part of the curriculum. I loved it but didn’t really consider it as a serious career option. After trying the more traditional route of Uni and doing an OE where I worked in a corporate environment, I felt I couldn’t keep that up, so I studied ceramics on my return to New Zealand.
You are a ceramicist in your own right, so how did the concept for Kaolin evolve and how does that enhance and influence your own work.
The important aspects of my work are quality craftsmanship and form and functionality. I love making tableware, knowing that my work will make just the simple act of eating your morning muesli, or pausing for a cup of tea, more pleasant. I knew quite a few other makers who were also making work for similar reasons and it just seemed like the right time to bring them all together – to create a store where people know they can find a curated selection of beautifully made, functional ceramics.
Who are the key ceramicists involved in Kaolin, and how did you first come together to create what is now the Kaolin brand?
I met Kate McIntyre while working in Peter Collis’ studio. We just got talking about all the great makers we know and how you never see all their work together in one place. Kate and I have a similar aesthetic and complimentary business skills so we thought we’d just work together to promote the amazing work that is being made here in New Zealand.
We love Kaolin’s aesthetic, and colour palette – how did/do you approach this with several different ceramicists involved?
Kate and I both have a very simple aesthetic, so we thought that we’d be able to use that to bring a wide range of works together. We did underestimate how difficult it is to style works from different makers though. My kitchen shelves have a very eclectic mix of work on them and they look great, but if I try to photograph that work together it looks cluttered. We found the same issue when photographing the Kaolin work. We’ve had to learn to pare back our styling.
With both your own and commissioned work to complete, as well as being a mother, how do you spend a typical day?
I wish I had more of a routine. I love routine but when juggling so many different roles that is hard to achieve. I just start the day by getting the kids off to school and have a quiet coffee while I deal with the admin side of my work. Then after that each day varies quite a bit. I try to schedule my throwing days on a day when the kids don’t have an afterschool activity. That way I can get on the wheel by 9.30 and as long as my husband is able to do school pick up I can get into that flow state – make a mess and throw – until 5pm. Those are my favourite days but there are a lot of stages to ceramics so other days I’ll be turning work, other days glazing. There is a lot of photography required for the store and the Instagram content. I try and schedule those cleaner tasks for days when I have to nip off to do school pick up and after school activities.
How does working from home, and being able to run both businesses online effect your lifestyle – good and bad?
Because both my husband and I run our own businesses and work from home we’re not great at sticking to conventional hours which is both good and bad. If I have to deliver some work to restaurants in the city then I’ll also take that opportunity to check out an exhibition or a new store. Then if pots are at the stage that they need to be trimmed and it happens to be the weekend then I might be down in the studio while the kids play. I find they need a few quiet hours at home on the weekend after the busy school week anyway. It is tough to prioritise relaxation time when work is always there to be done. Balance will have to be the focus for 2018.
What is your favourite room in your home, and why?
Our open plan lounge, kitchen, dining room is an addition to the back of the old cottage. It is big, modern and light, a real contrast to the rest of the house. It has a high gable and it opens out onto our outdoor living area so it always feels light and airy. As it is a multifunctional space you end up spending a lot of time in it so I think it is important that it has that light, calm, relaxing quality.