Max Journal 2022 - Lilly from lil ceramics - at studioMax Journal 2022 - Lilly from lil ceramics - at studio

We love a good story, so let's start with yours. What led you to get into ceramics?

I've been a maker my whole life – always tinkering away. I went to art school in my 20s and worked with sculpture, concrete and found objects. I focused on clay in my 30s, studying with some leading ceramicists and never looked back.

After exhibiting my works in shows around Auckland I was approached by three awesome cafes and restaurants in quick succession to develop their tableware, which pushed me to scale up my studio, new kilns, wheels and most of all, space to spread out! With great equipment I could speed up the process and create as much as my heart wanted.

I moved my studio out of my basement and into a shared space I created in Grey Lynn "Further Doings Studio" with other designers (clothing, handbags, and jewellery), and committed to ceramics full-time. I’ve recently moved studio again back to a rural area near Muriwai Beach, it's really relaxing and I'm preferring the shorter commute.

We all live super busy lives and creating seems like a nice way to slow down and enjoy the moment – what is your favourite part in the ceramic making process?

I love playing with the clay. I don’t really draw that much, so when I’m conceptualising, I tend to do it in 3D by making several versions of something (playing) before settling on the version I like best. I like to experiment a lot, to try new techniques and see what different materials can do. In ceramics there are always loads of different ways you can go about to achieve a certain look, so trying all the different paths and finding which one gives you the results you want and works best for you can be time consuming, but fun.

We love how all your pieces have a unique feel to them, do you have a source of inspiration when creating new pieces and does it change depending on the item?

I look at the colours and textures in my environment a lot, living at Muriwai Beach there is plenty of inspiration all around me.

There are certain limitations when you are creating functional ware - how an object feels to hold and drink from is a big part of a mug for instance - so I can experiment with form and colour while still maintaining the practical.

What’s your favourite piece you’ve created or designed thus far?

I’m really excited about working with found clay. I gathered a small amount of clay from Whananaki where we go camping every year that had washed out of the bank onto the beach in a storm, so I brought a few clumps back to the studio and processed it and sieved out all the stones and debris and made some fantastic coffee/wine tumblers with it. You never know exactly how wild clays will turn out, and there are lots of interesting texture and colours from the minerals and sand from the area. These are now my favourite cups to drink from - to me it feels really grounding, like a way to connect to the land but in an easy everyday way.

We're really excited to have Lil Ceramics in our gifting line-up this year and a lot of us have someone in our lives that ceramics will make the perfect gift for. What are your favourite ceramic pieces to gift a loved one?

Always handmade, every piece has a personality and a story behind it. You can't go wrong with tumblers - perfect for everyone whether they drink tea, coffee, wine or water, a handmade ceramic tumbler makes the whole experience better!

Max Journal 2022 - Lilly from lil ceramics, crafting cups and bowlsMax Journal 2022 - Lilly from lil ceramics, crafting cups and bowls
Max article 2022 - lil ceramics, Lilly at her studioMax article 2022 - lil ceramics, Lilly at her studio

Quick Fire Questions:

If you had endless resources to create any ceramic, what would it be?

Wild clay and using found materials in my glazes are my current obsession so can I have a quarry with a digger or 2 and let's throw in a wood kiln.

I'm lucky, I've set up my studio with some great equipment and I've got a great space to work in but having a few experienced potters tucked away somewhere to ask questions would be cool - every new technique or experiment comes with new hurdles and issues to nut out. Time, always more time to test and try different things - pottery takes a lot longer than people expect …

What is your dream summer destination?

Italy. Whananaki. My own back yard with a GnT.

Your go-to summer outfit is…

Pretty much always jeans. I love the mum cut cropped jeans + a pretty shirt (Micheala Button Front Shirt) with some colourful slides!

Max Journal 2022 - lil ceramics studio with productsMax Journal 2022 - lil ceramics studio with products