New Zealanders responded very enthusiastically to these ideas and enjoyed a boom in domestic pottery production from the late 1960s to around the end of 1980. After this time import restrictions were removed and the country experienced a flood of imported pots which put most domesticware potters out of business.
Since the introduction of cheap overseas pottery most potters have emphasised the artistic aspect of their work and redefined themselves as ‘ceramic artists’. I still feel very attached to the ethos and idealism of that previous craft movement, where the emphasis is on good functional design and long-lasting material. A lack of ostentation is coupled with the humility inherent in the idea of simple functionality that is, if anything, even more worthy of emphasis today than in previous eras.
The values embodied in this craft movement prioritise simple private enjoyment, and de-emphasise the individual producer in ways that comment on today’s preoccupation with material consumption and celebrity culture.
An additional reason for my continued dedication to what has been an unfashionable mode is that it demands of all the senses – not just the eye – and in doing so prioritises the idea of the whole body over that of the intellect.
Allied with that is my emphasis on the minimal processing of materials which permits the discovery of the natural qualities of those materials and processes in the work itself. My pleasure in the pots comes from their material and the traces of the fire and water that has created them, not from the way they are transformed into a reflection of the maker.