So today I am starting what I hope will become a regular feature where I profile clever creative and interesting people and have them reveal some of their favourite things.
Katherine Smyth domestic ware Black & White Vase complete with cactus dahlia ~ Small Acorns
Beautiful Katherine Smyth exhibition pieces on display in her home.
I have had the pleasure of stocking and selling the beautiful domestic ware made by Wellington-based ceramist Katherine Smyth at Small Acorns for around fifteen years now. (How time flies Katherine!) Katherine's beautiful bowls and dishes put pure pleasure in to every meal. It's ever so easy to enthuse about them to customers, and I always describe them as the sort of pieces that you want to use at every meal whether or not they are appropriate. In other words, even if a roast dinner is on the menu, you want to eat it from one of these bowls. Soft pastel glazes on a brown clay base, each piece is completely made by hand at Katherine's studio in the garden of her home in Lyall Bay, here in Wellington. Perhaps it's because before embarking on a 3-year ceramics diploma in 1989 at the National Art School in Sydney, Katherine was a chef, that there is such an easy relationship between these dishes and the food served on or in them. Aided and abetted too no doubt by several years in London both potting and cooking where she designed crockery for a number of prominent eating establishments including expat kiwi chef Peter Gordon's restaurants, The Sugar Club and The Union Cafe. In 1998 Katherine returned to New Zealand where she has worked as a full-time potter ever since, her domestic ware literally the bread and butter to her incredible exhibition pieces.
Each piece begins life as a lump of clay on the wheel. Believe me Katherine made it look so easy, when it so obviously is not!
Pasta bowls awaiting the next stage in the making process.
Studio details including Gus the cat and a photo of one of Katherine's mentors, Austrian potter Lucie Rie.
More studio details and friends (!)
Beautiful willowy exhibition pieces awaiting the next stage of the creative process.
Katherine Smyth bowls of all sizes ~ Small Acorns
Details from Katherine's home, including an owl by Bronwynne Cornish.
Katherine's studio in the garden. Love the repurposed telephone box door!
My Favourite Things
Name: Katherine Smyth
What do you do (and how long have you been doing this)? Ceramist, 23 years
Where do you live? Wellington, New Zealand
My style is... classical, rustic, feminine.
What's your view at the moment? The back garden. The last of the grapes, some groovy looking pumpkins that grew out of the compost, cactus dahlias and a couple of late blooming roses.
What do you collect? Pottery, plants (outdoor).
My most treasured possession is... a ceramic owl made by Bronwynne Cornish.
My favourite colour is... too hard to call. Colour in general is good.
The thing I love most about my home... It's in Lyall Bay by the sea, but tucked away and I have a gorgeous garden so it feels like it's in the country but in the city but by the sea.
Home is... my favourite place but to be avoided sometimes.
What gets you up in the morning? Often one of the cats or the phone.
How do you relax? In the bath - I often fall asleep. I think I relax better when out of town.
Where do you go for inspiration? I love a lot of ancient pottery. I've got a great Phaidon book - it's huge (probably weighs about 5kg), called '30,000 Years of Art'. I never tire of looking through it - always something new (old).
Who inspires you? My brother and four sisters - they all do their best - all the time!
What's on your bedside table? Books I've been meaning to read.
What are you reading at the moment? About to start reading A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry which was on the book exchange shelf at the local bus stop. I've read and loved his short stories in the past.
What's your current obsession? Computer games - a major time waster but fun!
What's in your handbag? Lipstick and Nurofen.
My favourite dish is... green papaya salad.
What's for dinner tonight? Boiled egg, salad and homemade potato sourdough bread.
My favourite season is... summer. I like the extra light and not having to wear as many clothes.
I'd spend my last dollar on... a heavenly cheese.
What's your best decor or design advice? Arrange things in a way so that they talk to each other.
I adore... my dog, Sam.
A perfect day would look something like... sun shining, money in the bank, catching up with friends, somebody else cooking dinner and no dramas.
Tastes of late summer in Katherine's kitchen.
Camera shy, Katherine and her dog Sam, in the studio doorway.
For Katherine's domestic ware, please visit www.smallacorns.co.nz
For news and upcoming exhibitions please visit Katherine's website. Pin It