All fired up: Wellington women kicking arse with clay

Written by Lucy Wormald

Textural grooves, impossible shapes, and a whole lotta handmade honesty – there is no denying the magic of pottery.

In a world of mass-produced and non-sustainable wares, a ceramics renaissance has emerged. These clever women are offering communities the chance to eat off, sup from, and plant in, local artisan treasures. 

Let me introduce you to some of Wellington’s best lady potters…

Salad days

For Berhampore ceramicist Lucy Coote, Salad Days refers to nostalgia for the golden periods of one’s life. Handmade in her home studio, Lucy creates items central to simple domesticity such as butter dishes, bowls, mugs, soap dishes and candelabra. By elevating everyday rituals, such as a morning bowl of hot porridge or the brewing of an afternoon tea, Lucy hopes to turn one’s present into salad days. 

Speciality: Elegant and refined stoneware in minimal, earthy tones. Lucy puts special focus on the perfect size and shape for each piece’s purpose and has a knack for creating the most comfortable handles for jugs and mugs.

Find her here.


Image credit: Kelly Thompson

Brooklyn ceramicist Felicity Donaldson has no formal training, she is “just smooshing the clay”. Under the brand Wundaire, she celebrates the wonkiness of the handmade, supplying stoneware to cafés and restaurants and creating homewares and planters. She has collaborated with fellow locals, Kowtow, to create a terrazzo style range that echoes the colour palette of their Case Study collection. Her makers mark is the sign language symbol for W. It is also the three fingered salute of the Scout’s honour, and for Felicity symbolises a promise of the handmade and the authentic. 

Speciality: Quirky, dreamy, bisque-fired stoneware. All her pieces are hand built.

Find her here.

Paige Jarman

Paige Jarman did not intend to become a potter but after an impulse sign up to a Saturday pottery class she quickly became hooked, drawn to the tactility of clay and the ability to use her hands to make an entire product from start to finish. Creating all her pieces from her home in Lower Hutt, Paige is a big believer in the added layer of love and care that comes from serving homemade food on handmade ceramics.  

Speciality: Beautiful functionality. Paige creates small batch stoneware and porcelain bowls, mugs, and other crockery to be used and loved, no precious-ness needed.

Find her here.

Katherine Smyth

A creator of one-off original tableware, Katherine Smyth works with soft pastel glazes and organic forms. She has spent time in Jordan teaching pottery skills to young women in the hope of reviving local ancient skills and traditions. Her fascination with the Middle Eastern arts has strongly influenced her hand-built vessels which bring a contemporary element to old world ceramic forms and traditions.   

Speciality: Terracotta earthenware which makes for porous, temperature tolerant vessels.

Find her at Small Acorns.

Boo Ceramics

Speckled curvy mugs, vases with intricate porcelain chains, elegant oil pourers, and chip and dip bowls, Boo Ceramics celebrates the slow process of pottery. Stamped with her childhood nickname “Boo”, the ceramics are either hand built or wheel thrown by former furniture maker Bec Roberts in her Day’s Bay studio. Each vessel is dubbed with a playful name like Tammy or Edna and make for the most lovable pieces.

Speciality: Japanese Kurinuki (carving objects from a solid block of clay), clean lines and curvy cups.

Find her here.


Immersed in an architecture PhD, Lucy Wise of Tamago Ceramics began looking for a way to connect designing with the art of making. She feels she’s more of a designer using clay as a means of creative expression, rather than a ceramicist. Though she creates countless vessels, including oil burners, plates, and coffee filter holders, she always comes back to her planters. No ordinary plant holder, these babies are created with careful consideration to soil volume, drainage, and breathability.

Speciality: Simple playful porcelain forms, queen of planters.  

Find her here.

Honorable mentions

Sue Dasler, Galit Maxwell, Aimée Mcleod


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