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

 

29.05.2017

Material Creative


 

When I heard one of my favourite NZ interior designers, Material Creative, had a new office space, I knew I had to send someone along to shoot it for you guys.

A turn of the century building on Auckland’s K Road, the empty shell was first re-designed and extended by Glamuzina Architects. With a beautiful blank canvas to work with, Material Creative’s founders Toni Brandso and Liv Harper lead their team (now seven-strong) in the complete fit-out of the space,  and then invited a bunch of brand friends to join them.

They’ve created a workspace with that’s an extension of who they are as designers and people – light and bright, high quality but hospitable, on trend but one step ahead.


The space is shared with Nodi Rugs, Hannah Design Studio, Brandology, Gault’s and Amber Armitage

Genuine Thonet chairs and original floorboards…

Material Creative designed the LED and had it made locally

That beautiful deep green paint is Aalto Domain, and the small green tiles are from Tilespace.
P.S: Can we just stop to appreciate the black power switch for a second? OK, good, on we go.

Those half circle handles were an ikea find from years ago
(the girls were just waiting for the right project in which to use them)

The materials library, with shelving by Lundia, and some beautiful lights that
first made their first appearance in Biskit eatery in Parnell (designed by Material Creative)

The centrepiece of the materials library is the marble-topped vintage table, found on TradeMe

Probably my favourite bit (next to the kitchen tiling and paint) are these linen curtains,
used to close off and delineate spaces and give a residential feel

Shared desk space, below the best-looking ceiling you’ve seen in a while

Another one of those custom-made LEDs injects some modernity into the classic architecture

My all-time fave print by Anthony Burrill

When someone’s office is more comfortable than your own house… 
love the layered rugs (from Nodi) and the use of old plan drawers as a table

One of two meeting rooms (the paint colour is Chevron, by Aalto)

Love this wall colour – Aalto’s Sovereign

Did we just become best friends, guys? I have this same sink and black tapware

Material Creative purchased the cactus pattern as a stock image
and had their sign guys print it as a wallpaper 

The green grout is a genius move

 

See some of the commercial spaces Material Creative have designed, over on their website.

 


Photography by Josh Griggs 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.

15.01.2017

Studio Visit – NZ Illustrator Loryn Engelsman


 

Loryn fills sketchbook after sketchbook with everyday-weirdo characters and observations on life.

 

One of many editorial illos Loryn has created for NZ’s Metro magazine
Loryn’s workspace is an old Victorian-era commercial building
that she shares with a group of other Waikato creatives
 
Do Your Work. Don’t Be Stupid.  (How did you know, Loryn?)
You can buy sticker packs of these motivational ladies and dudes on Loryn’s Etsy store.

 

Photography by Dan Hilson for Fancy
 

Guys, meet Loryn Engelsman. Loryn is 24, and a full-time illustrator. From a old Victorian-era commercial building in Hamilton (a studio she shares with a crew of other young freelance creatives), she creates hand-drawn type and character illos for brands, organisations and NZ magazines. Let’s just hand the rest over to Loryn, shall we?



What’s been your journey to becoming a full-time illustrator?
I am lucky enough to be able to say that drawing has always been a passion of mine – from a really young age I was an avid sketchbooker. Inspired by the illustrations of Quentin Blake, particularly his illustrations for Roald Dahl’s – The Twits, I only wanted to draw hideous people because they were so interesting to draw! This passion filtered throughout my schooling and I loved the way that I could draw something and get a laugh out of people or get an ‘ah-ha I can relate to that’ response.

I applied to The School of Media Arts at Wintec, not quite knowing what direction I would go – just knowing that I wanted to be a visual artist of some description. I ended up majoring in painting and throughout my studies I focused all my assignments on illustration.

During this time I was following other artists from all over the world, and I came to realise that most illustrators were freelancers and that this was the creative career I wanted to pursue.

I was lucky enough to receive a few design and illustration commissions while I was studying. Just before I graduated, I took a part time job to supplement my income while I started in the freelance game. I then spent the next few years working part time and taking on whatever freelance illustration and design jobs I could get.

In the early days I had massive doubts about whether or not this illustration career would ever work out. I then came to know Angela and Jayden Keoghan from illustration studio The Picture Garden. They helped me so much in these early years with advice, encouragement and answering the million questions I had about freelancing. I have been so lucky over time to have met more and more illustrators working as freelancers to get advice from, be inspired by and now call good friends.

Now, over time (with a lot of hard work) I have entered the realms of being a full-time creative.

 

Loryn is illustrating a free desktop/iPhone wallpaper every month for this year. Here’s January’s – go here to get one for your computer, laptop or iPhone

 
What challenges have you pushed through on this career journey? 
Working hard, but not overdoing it. I would send myself into burn out all too often because I didn’t know when to stop working and take a break.

Learning how to organise myself and use my time working efficiently so that I could have a life outside of work was a great lesson to learn. For me, using some apps (mostly free) apps online such as Toggl, Trello, Xero and Slack to keep track of my work and finances has helped so much in achieving the elusive work/life balance.

What have been some of the working highlights of the last year in terms of projects?
Early 2016 I was in Wellington visiting some friends and I had an afternoon to myself so I ended up filling a whole page in my sketchbook on how I saw Wellington city and posted it on Instagram, and it proved to be hugely popular. I then carried on making these based on different situations, topics or things that I have seen and putting them on the gram. A happy discovery that has opened up some new doors in my work already. I hope to make many more of these in the year to come!

Super cute wordmark for Waihi Beach cafe, Oliffe & Franks


What are you working on at the moment/what’s coming up for you in 2017? 

First off this year I will be carrying on with my collaboration with the Live For Tomorrow project with Zeal where I will be creating a whole lot of illustrated content to increase awareness, encourage and inform young people of mental health issues.

Also, I am wanting to set aside more time to develop a range of products such a tees, patches, prints for my online store. And I have started working with some very talented design friends on some super exciting branding projects that I can’t wait to share with everyone!

So much to look forward to already this year!

Love this little piece Loryn did for the Live for Tomorrow project

 
What does a typical working day look like for you? 
Up early, coffee, cycle into my shared studio space in town, set up for the day, check the news, prioritise tasks for the day, send emails and do some suuuper fun admin work, more coffee, get hyped from second coffee and get distracted by memes, distract studio mates with memes I have found, then launch into working on projects for the day, stop for lunch with studio mates, work all afternoon and into the evening on projects before a cycle home and spend the evening cooking and browsing the interweb.

What helps you be at your best creatively? 
For me it’s all about keeping my eyes open to find inspiration everywhere. Sometimes brilliant ideas seem to just seem to strike as I am just watching the world happens, so carry a sketchbook and pencil case with me everywhere I go. I also try to regularly set aside some time where I can experiment, this involves having a slightly cynical attitude, my sketchbook, all my drawing tools close at hand and no pressure of coming up with any necessarily ‘good’ ideas.

What advice would you give to any one dreaming of becoming a career illustrator? 
The way that you communicate ideas is totally unique to you so figure out early on exactly what your voice is and own it. For a long time when I started out I would try approaching briefs in the way I imagined some of my favourite other illustrators would. I would start sketching out all these super serious illustrations that would look fine, and do the job, but was not authentically my voice. Once I had identified and owned my voice as an artist I could approach new projects with confidence. For me figuring this out was a matter of getting some portfolio critique from peoples whose opinion I trusted and taking on board their advice.

Also, keep reminding yourself how lucky you are to be drawing what you love for a living! It’s amazing.

Finally, some quickies – what are you currently…
 
Listening to: 
My Spotify mix of top songs from 2016, it’s mostly a tasty mix of D’Angelo, Tame Impala, James Blake, Last Shadow Puppets and Kendrick. Also, the new Leon Bridges, Coming Home album is really good!

Clicking on:
ItsNiceThat.com – everrryday.

Reading or watching:
Reading – The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton.  Watching – Brooklyn Nine Nine and Last Man On Earth.

Eating:
Sriracha sauce on everything, always.

Doing:
Stretching more, sweating in the summer sun, getting sunburnt, watering plants, swimming, creating unrealistic wish lists on The Book Depository, trying to stay off Pinterest.

Daydreaming about:
A trip to America this year. Also, being irresponsible with my finances and purchasing the unnecessary amount of books on my book depository list.

 
 

Loryn’s website / portfolio  ~  Loryn’s Instagram
 
Photography by Hamilton-based Dan Hilson for Fancy – we’re big fans, Dan

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