Meet The Maker : Renee Boyd

Meet The Maker : Renee Boyd

Renee Boyd is a notable contemporary New Zealand Ceramist. Boyd is widely known for her crisp & delicate designs, inspired by themes & patterns from various botanicals. We've just got some of Boyd's latest work on our Online Gallery so we decided it was the perfect time to find a little more about Boyd & her practice as a Ceramist.



What do you make/art practice?


I work wth ceramics which involves throwing on the wheel, slipcast and also hand-built slab ware. 

What does a normal day look like for you?

After I have done the parent life bits in the morning I usually go for a walk around the bush tracks near by in the Waitakere's or my local yoga class then I head into the studio with a cuppa and put my podcasts on while I work.  
It always changes from a throwing mugs/bowls  day on the wheel or a slipcasting vases day followed up by fettling ( which means  cleaning up the rough edges of the greenware before the first firing ) I also could be glazing the bisqueware which is where the clay has been fired once to around 1000 degrees and it  is still porous and acts like a sponge to absorb the glaze I will be dipping it in. It is then fired in an electric kiln to around 1230 degrees…HOT where a glass like coloured material is fused on , which makes it glazed waterproof and finished.

How did it all begin - where did this passion for ceramics?

My early exploration of ceramics was when I was at high school. I met a really great friend Acushla and her dad John Green was a real life potter living in the bush at Anawhata Beach, (one of the far West Coast beaches). We would spend days driving out there in our old beat up cars to just hang out at their place, surrounded by all of his pottery and drink tea with friends. It was there I was given the chance to have a go myself and thats when I started to become hooked on clay. I then studied craft design at Unitec and after that I was lucky enough to be offered a job with a commercial ceramic factory in Parnell,  which was great. For the next 10 years I moved around various commercial production ceramic studio’s learning everything I could. From making and casting the clay to glazing the clay – from start to finish. I then completed more studies part time through Otago Polytechnic and got taught by many various and famous NZ ceramic legends while slowly starting my own business.

Where do you find inspiration as an Artist come from?
I was just hooked from the start my parents were both into handcrafting making our own clothes, stained glass work, pottery  …all sorts of hobbies called hippy stuff then. So working with my hands was just a natural progression.
Clay has so many challenges, it’s a beautiful end process that has so many precarious steps. Clay body, glaze fit, firing temperatures, drying times… so many things can go wrong but obtaining a beautiful result is all worth it.   Nothing beats eating or drinking out of a handmade vessel where the individual marks of the maker are present. 
How has your artwork change over time?
I’m always creating works in small batches, each and every piece finishes with no pair identical and is unique in patterning glaze and colour due to the techniques and processes used. Over time a lot of the materials I use change out of my control therefore I have to always be ready to experiment with glazes and clay to make new pieces as there is so many parts to it. I would love to throw larger pieces but at the moment I’m not there with the skills on the wheel , I just have to keep practicing and practicing. 

How has the social media and the internet affected your artwork?
I love how much easier it is to find other creatives and makers out there working online.I also belong to a little nz online potters group where we help each other out with regards to materials and glazing and I also can chat to other clay heads like me where as my close friends and family aren’t really interested anymore ha.
Its definitely a learning curve with the online media avenues around these days, I still find with ceramics a lot of people need to physically lift it up ,handle it in their hands before they purchase a piece.
What is your studio/creative space like?
My studio is below my house , it has windows each end so gets beautiful light through most of it. It's lovely in summer and very cold in winter hence I’m not a winter person.
There is a gallery type shelving area which I try to keep clean and the rest is the making area which is pretty chaos. But It sort of works for me as I can make work  in the mess and look out towards the calm. 
What drew you to working with The Poi Room?
I’ve always loved the Poi Room , It stood out from the beginning has having a great story to tell in the stores with each artist they represent,  It shows they care and take the time to get to know the artists and offer something unique to other stores with a beautifully curated selection of products made here. 
A lot of my customers are always telling me how much they love the Poi Room and the staff that work there and they always find something a bit different to everywhere else and notice the quality of the pieces. 
Describe your relationship with The Poi Room & how our values fit with your business?
The Poi Room are great to work with as they are always open to me sending through new ideas / work to them and checking in to see what I have up too in the studio. They are enthusiastic towards helping and advising if there are any concerns we both have as things are always changing when you have been working with them for years. 
You can see that they love discovering, sharing and celebrating the best in New Zealand art and design.