Author Ceramics is Stephen Smith, an Auckland-based ceramicist creating sculptural and functional works inspired by nostalgia, Aotearoa’s coastline, storytelling, and the significance of human relationships.
Predominantly drawing on contours found in the natural world, each piece exudes strikingly satisfying and tactile form. Smith incorporates meaningful elements of the landscape into his works, mixing sand from beaches that hold significance for his family directly into his clay before shaping each piece on the potter’s wheel. The sand’s naturally speckled finish offers each of the fired works individuality; each piece is unique and emphasises a connection to the landscape.
For Smith, ceramics are intrinsically linked to memories and human relationships, and considers lasting pieces to be conduits through which friends and family connect. It’s for this reason he designs each of his works to be functional. Ceramics can become centrepieces to our lives, holding our stories and memories, objects that can be carried through generations. Smith recalls, “During my upbringing, food served as a catalyst for crafting and reliving cherished memories. The walls were adorned with unconventional artwork, and the iconic Temuka pottery assumed the role of our esteemed porcelain. When I reflect upon my childhood, these elements resonate most vividly in my mind. The art in our home is the story. I once stole flowers from my neighbours garden, filled a vase with warm water so the flowers didn’t get cold and placed them by my mum’s bed. I will never forget the look on her face when she noticed them, she was so happy and that vase forever held happy memories”.
Smith was inspired to begin working with clay after wanting to create all of the dining plates for his wedding to wife, Lilly. He hired a pottery wheel and, alongside a few online tutorials, taught himself to throw. Shortly after, he dedicated himself to working with clay full time. For their first wedding anniversary, Smith wanted to capture the memory of their first date at Te Arai beach in a timeless way. He took sand from his and Lilly’s wetsuits and blended it through the clay, creating a vase that drew on the curves and form of the sand dunes. “The result changed Author’s direction forever. The natural speckle the sand created, the connection to the ocean and land just made sense. We stopped using traditional glazes and decided our story was best told using sand and clay”. Working alongside Lilly, Smith established Author Ceramics, using and sourcing New Zealand clay and sand to create works in their Auckland studio.
To view all available works by Author Ceramics, click here