Ceramicists Peter and Kirsty combine colours reminiscent of the 1950s to create a modern range of bowls, plates, tumblers and vases inspired by popular historic designs. The duo are part of a group of designer-makers with diverse backgrounds in ceramics, jewellery, photography and food. As well as hand building pieces individually, they use many other techniques from slip-casting to china painting.
What do you make?
We handmake ceramic pieces with a clear focus on colour, texture and shape. We like our work to be beautiful to look at, tough and useful.
How did you get into your craft?
Having grown up in the ’70s helping parents and friends who were involved in pottery and the arts, we have a natural attraction to this work.
Do you have formal training or qualifications in your craft?
We have both apprenticed as ceramic artisans and have fine arts training.
Your favourite materials, tools and processes?
It is hard to isolate a favourite tool or process because all of our tools are so amazing in their function and necessity. The simplest thing in the workshop can be your best friend, like water which is such an integral part of all clay and clay processes and must be acknowledged and kept at the perfect ratio in all stages of our work. But we do have a special place in our hearts for mineral colours and the needle tool.
What techniques do you use?
Our main techniques include hand building, modelling and casting. There are many more techniques we use in getting the exact desired result in surfacing and finishing.
Describe your creative process:
Every moment that we have our hands on a clay, and often in the middle of the night or when we are just looking around, we are thinking of how it forms and evolves and what’s next for us in design. We have “primordial swamps” of ideas in our heads which are constantly forming new concepts! We then spend months trialling new ideas and sometimes battling, sometimes embracing the constraints of the ceramic process.
What inspires you?
We are inspired by re-perceiving everyday objects, the simplicity and beauty of the works of Crown Lynn, the style and restraint of designs from Scandinavia and Japan and the earthy folk colours from central Europe.
Is there a philosophy behind your work? Quality.
Describe your workspace:
Our work space is cluttered but with a strict functional order. There are areas of ‘inspiration’ with found objects, interesting images and hundreds of colours and tools to chooss from. There is a room with greenware slowly drying that has an organised, still peace. Then there is the ‘muddy’ making area that is a kid’s dream for messy play.
Your favourite feedback from a customer:
“There is something new to look at every time we come in here!”
Recommend an album: Are you there? by Voom.
Your favourite childhood book?
Kirsty’s favourite childhood book was The Tiger Who Came to Tea. I love the art work especially the picture of the tiger drinking the tea from the teapot. Pete’s favourite was Tintin.
Our heroes are the Greenpeace warriors and Dame Whina Cooper.
A favourite quote: Keep on truckin’!
Do you have any pets? We have hand reared bantam and wyandotte chickens.
If you were a crafty superhero, what would your name and superpower be?
Mud man, ha ha! I have a ceramic bowl collection by Andy Kingston. One has a cleverly painted figure of Darth Vader with a clay pot as a helmet saying… “Come to the Craft Side.”
Peter and Kirsty work on beautiful Waiheke, an inspirational island of artisans and craftspeople. You can meet them in person at the Grey Lynn Park Festival on Saturday 30 November, and check out a beautiful range of ceramic pieces created by Peter and Kirsty in their Felt shop.
One lucky Felt blog reader will also win this set of three of their striking and newly designed tumblers being generously given away by Peter and Kirsty. To be in to win the set, leave a comment below telling us what inspires you about their work and their story. The draw will be made on Friday 29 November and is open to New Zealand residents only.