My love of fire
drew me to kilns and clay when I was a teenager back in 1969 at Maoribank near Upper Hutt. There were not many potters around but Bob and Jo Munro who were building their pottery at Akatarawa were wonderful enthusiastic mentors. I drifted north in my early twenties and discovered Great Barrier Island where I established Schooner Bay Pottery and potted full time for five years.
We moved to the Tapu Valley on the Coromandel around 1980 as our family grew, and my intention to continue potting was put on hold while I built our house. Meanwhile cheap ceramic imports flooded into New Zealand and the game changed. A flood of a different type littered the river terraces of our land with headlogs left in the bush by early timber men and I entered a new phase working with figured kauri making furniture as Square Kauri Construction. And then in the early 2000s to Parua Bay where I purchased a gas kiln and re-awoke to the joy of clay and fire like some latter day Rip van Winkle. I’m back in the Leach tradition making high-fired domestic stoneware and porcelain with celadon, copper red and ash glazes – designed to be functional and enjoyed in daily use.
Square Kauri Construction lives on too – I have a range of cutting boards and breadboards, all made from salvaged and recycled timber.