03.07.2017

At Home + Work With: Renee Boyd


When I think of the contemporary New Zealand ceramics scene, one of the first names I think of is Renee Boyd. She’s actually been a potter for over 10 years, having worked at various commercial product ceramic studios (and under a number of NZ ceramic legends) honing her craft before slowly making the move to running her own studio full time. Working from home in Auckland’s Glen Eden, Renee makes everything from tableware, to planters and sculptural pieces. She produces for retailers around the country and her own customers, and works on commissioned pieces too.

How did you first get into ceramics?

My early exploration of ceramics was when I was at high school. I met a really great friend Acushla and her dad John Green was a real life potter living in the bush at Anawhata Beach (one of the far West Coast beaches). We would spend every weekend driving out there in our old beat up cars to just hang out at their place, surrounded by all of his pottery and friends drinking endless cups of tea made in beautiful hand thrown teapots.  It was there I just soaked up the atmosphere and was given the chance to have a go myself, and thats when I started to become hooked on clay. The generosity and kindness from all the people and potters I met out there sealed my love for clay, I was just a teenager but really enjoyed learning what I could from all the artists and oldies about clay and also pretty much life in general.

How do you find working for yourself, by yourself?

I have been working full time for a while and I’m fortunate that I can work the hours I like, so I try and manage my time as effectively as possible, trying not to have too many late working nights. I used to work quite long hours… but I’m slowly learning the art of work/life balance; it’s certainly not easy! And because I love what I do it doesn’t feel like work mode to me.  I actually find hanging out in my studio by myself very relaxing.

Tell us a little about your creative process?

I always have ideas going on. Pottery has endless possibilities so I will always be occupied with things I could make!  I scribble a lot of ideas on paper first and then cut out shapes to experiment with where I’m going with the pieces.  I always love ceramics before it is fired in a kiln. Just after its been glazed and drying. There is something about the matt tactile-ness of the forms before they are glazed that appeals to me the most. I have spent many years experimenting with my own glazes to achieve this look in the final glaze.

What’s been some of the work highlights of the past year?

One of the highlights has been part of the mug mates subscription founded by Wundaire . It is a great idea and has really been loved by the makers and the collectors. It’s made me do more time on the wheel which is so good for getting the practice in – working on the wheel is something that is all about putting the time in.

What are you working on at the moment?

I’m just in the process of making my own full dinner set for me to use. I can’t wait till I finally finish it and then can add it to the everyday use cupboard. I use my bowls all the time and am super stoked when I see my little boy Jed (6) grab one of my bowls for his breakfast over the commercial ones. Success!

I have a cupboard in my kitchen where I hold all the pottery over the years that I treasure and I’m always slowly adding to it. These are the pieces that I don’t use everyday as I’m too scared to break any as they can never be replaced.

Where do you think the current love for ceramics comes from?

I’m into making work that is minimalist and thoughtful, and allows people to fall in love with the tactile qualities of clay and glaze so that when they buy a piece its for life. And I personally feel so attached to pieces that I have bought from friends etc over the years that I’m sure it all begins and ends with hands, from the hands of the maker to the hands of the end user.

At the moment there is another wave of people loving handmade pieces and work that actually has some thoughtful design behind it which is awesome. And the support out there for New Zealand made is lovely, as it also pushes the maker into always trying to get the best they can from the piece they are working with… pieces that last a lifetime are the real deal.


The carport at Renee’s house has been converted into a light-filled home studio

You know I couldn’t resist a shot just of little old man Murray. Good boy, Murray.

Renee finishes these mugs with either a white, black, soft pink or sage green glaze

…and pretty things all in a row.
(I’m going to have to buy one of those speckled planters, you know that don’t you.)

We LOVE love love Renee’s ceramic wall hooks. 

Renee Boyd ceramics are available online from Renee’s own website, and from
NZ homeware stores Sunday, Paper Plane Store, and Blackbird Goods, amongst others.

 


Imagery captured by Auckland freelance photographer
Michelle Weir for The New

 

22.03.2017

Fearon Hay’s Faraday Street Studio


One most exciting things about Auckland city in recent years has been the move to transform its historic buildings. The Imperial, Seafarers, City Works Depot, Amano… there’s been a rebirth of relics all over the city. Two of the architects responsible for creating this new-old Auckland are Jeff Fearon and Tim Hay. They were, at first, just looking for a new office for their practise, but decided to go one further – to purchase a dilapidated cluster of old warehouses (1940’s wool stores), and turn them into a new office, hospitality and retail precinct. They saw past the roller doors and painted-over windows to see what the old sheds could become – a pocket neighbourhood from which they could not only headquarter Fearon Hay, but grab coffee during the day and a drink after work.

And here it is – the new (and already award-winning) Fearon Hay digs, with the feel of a sexy loft apartment and the functionality of a high-performing work space. The office is essentially a massive mezzanine that floats above the original carpark, an open plan office that celebrates the bones of the old building, and introduces a pale poured concrete floor, huge communal pin-up surface, very sophisticated black-tiled bathrooms, and perhaps the best-looking meeting room I’ve ever seen.

The crowning glory is of course that exposed gabled ceiling – anyone with eyes can see why Tim and Jeff would want to design themselves working as close as possible to those huge, rough sawn, criss cross beams. What an inspiring place from which to design other inspiring places.

Special mention to that broodingly handsome steel stairwell.
 
 

Photography by Auckland photographer Michelle Weir of Studio:Weir
Michelle specialises in shooting interiors, architecture and fashion.

01.12.2016

Fottutamente bello – We look inside the new Amano eatery:


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just… woah.
 
 
I’ve been so busy opening a store that I haven’t made it to Auckland in months. And goddamn, so much good stuff has opened since I last visited! I’m going to need at least a few days next time, because one entire day of the itinerary is already booked out with breakfast, lunch and then also dinner at the newly expanded Amano. They’re still doing their crazy-good handcrafted breads and pastries from the Amano Bakery by day, and now they’ve opened a gob-stopping adjoining bar and restaurant. (Or, because the food is Italy-influenced, let’s say forno, bistro and aperitivo.)
Side Note: Guys, I could go on and on (and on) about the cool stuff they’re doing here. Here’s one example – they make their own flour. Yip, all their daily breads and pastas are crafted from flour they’ve milled themselves, here on-site, grinding down South Island grain. It takes Amano around 20 hours to make a loaf of bread. This is actually massively important and special, because industrial flour and ‘regular’ bread is actually awful for your body. So, yeah, you now have even more reason to indulge, and feel not one bit guilty while you’re here. Another example? The menu is created and printed daily, depending on what’s in season and readily available locally. Freshness and provenance is everything. OK, back to the design…
First, a deep, genuflecting curtsy to architect Jack McKinney (McKinney + Windeatt), who is responsible for the design. Phrase of the day is Sexy Freaking Textures. Textures from the exposed bones of the former factory’s long history (pitted, paint-layered walls, huge old pillars and those beautiful big beams), alongside textures from modern features like the terrazzo floors with those big marble off-cuts, and thousands of mother of pearl tiles made from oyster shells.
And oh (oh, oh) those dried flowers installations. Created by Xanthe White.

Can we just have another look at those dried flowers?

I have not seen them with my own eyes, but our amazing contributor – interiors photographer Michelle Weir – tells me that as you walk through the space, the types of flowers and colours change, from neutral to colourful. In the bakery, it’s bushels of wheat that are suspended from the ceiling.
Amano also has its own own mini-market, selling flowers, handmade cheeses and fresh-daily pastas.
Um, Hip Group, I just have one question. How in the hell are you going to top this one?
Photography by Auckland photographer Michelle Weir of Studio:Weir
Michelle is one of our Fancy NZ Design Blog contributors – we are

so grateful for and in debt to our group of photographers. If you enjoyed this feature, p

lease follow Michelle over on Instagram
– and if you need some outstanding 
imagery, get in touch with her.

 
 

 

27.10.2016

The Midnight Baker opens a Toast Bar:


This mouth party is the Midnight Baker Freedom Loaf, toasted,
with basil pesto, vine tomatoes, crumbled cashew cheese and hazelnut dukkah. 

The light…  the sense of unpretentious honest-to-goodness-ness…  the TOAST – doesn’t this look like just the place? It’s the new home of The Midnight Baker (we introduced you to this brand and the babe behind it here – go see), where the hero is Yeshe Dawa’s now cult-status Freedom Loaf, toasted and topped with various savoury or sweet bread buddies, alongside strong eightthirty coffee and artisan Forage & Bloom teas. Toast and a cuppa – one of life’s best combos.
The Midnight Baker began – as so many good brands do – as a side hustle, while Yeshe worked in her ‘real’ job; driven by her love of baking treats late at night and her hunt for a delish alternative to wheat-based bread. Now, she and her team bake loaves for over 30 cafes and post direct to customers around New Zealand (buy online here). 
The Midnight Baker Cafe is open Tuesday to Sunday at 218 Dominion Road, Auckland.

(Menu online here)

A huge thank you to Auckland-based interior and fashion photographer
Michelle Weir of Studio:Weir, who captured all this lovely light
for Fancy NZ Design Blog


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