I first became interested in clay as a teenager and when I was 16 took lessons at the Auckland Studio Potters, but it wasn’t until I started studying ceramics at UNITEC in 1994 that I realised it was a lifelong occupation. In 1998 I graduated with a bachelor in 3D design, majoring in ceramics and since then I have been working as a studio potter. I was also the Co-Director of the Auckland Studio Potters from 2000 to 2006 and am the Manager of the Waikato Society of Potters from 2008 to 2012.
Currently, most of my work begins life on the wheel, but that’s just the start of the making process. I often add, subtract and alter the initial round forms, looking for a liveliness and freshness that will remain through the whole making process.
I use a wood kiln to fire my work as it provides the richest surfaces that compliment my forms. The physical nature of this firing process and its inherent unpredictability give my work freshness and a decorating touch that speaks about process.
Another strand to my working process is a fascination with the technological side of making permanent objects out of clay; this translates into experimentation with materials and firing methods. I construct kilns out of various unlikely materials and in diverse configurations in an effort to explore how contained fire behaves.
Teaching has been a mainstay of my working life, providing both a steady income and a rewarding, challenging and inspirational livelihood. I have taught many classes from beginner through to tertiary level, from short workshops to yearlong courses.
I like to travel and use the freedom of unplanned excursions as liberating and eye-opening experiences; a way to re-examine ideas and situations that leads to new approaches and influences in my work.
Since moving to Rahu Road and establishing the pottery here I’ve been adding the ‘R’ chop to the bottom of my pots, underneath my usual chop of the triangle with the initials DS. It looks like the image on the left and is no great mystery as the letter R stands for Rahu Road and the wavy line is because of our stream across the road called Doherty’s Stream which formed this valley. It helps to have 2 marks as occasionally my triangle chop is obliterated by a glaze run.