New Plymouth-based ceramics artist.
When did you become interested in ceramics?
I’ve been working as a potter for 20 years now. It began in a night class in Hamilton at my mother’s insistence to expand my horizons. After that it was a matter of practice and persistence to get one thing looking like the previous thing on the potter’s wheel. I make a range of tableware for retail and also pieces with more time invested in them for exhibition in dealer galleries. Now, I really don’t know what else I would or could do if I was to change.
How do you approach your work and designs?
I make whatever I want, with no place or audience in mind, then worry about trying to sell it afterward. I’ve found this works well for me and I don’t have to alter things for any perceived marketplace.
Describe your interior style at home.
Cluttered indifference. The house needs lots of work done to drag it out of the 60s, but we are not sure if this is the one to settle in. In the meantime, I’ve hung hundreds of paintings haphazardly on the walls, and pots fill most flat surfaces, so there is a lot going on.
What inspires you?
Whenever I get stuck for content I head for a book I have on the painter René Magritte. I always find something in there that gets things moving again, usually in the right direction.
Tell us about your dream home.
Right now, I think I’d like a sort of sprawling single-storey home, with lots of built-in storage compartments for display and shelves for books. However, the studio would be as important to me. I have in my mind a large, perfectly designed workshop with different areas defined – making, decorating, glazing, photography – that could be hosed out when necessary. It would be a separate structure to the house, preferably in a field somewhere, with lean-to roofs for the kilns. I can see it, and think about it
a lot, but haven’t quite got there – yet.
What’s the best thing you’ve brought back from an overseas trip?
I lived in Sweden for a couple of years and swapped some pots for a beautiful handmade knife with the man who made it. He was a bear of a man named Jurgen, and I think he made them for hunting, but I haven’t used it for that and there really seems no other purpose for it. It’s a brute of a knife and I get it out and admire
it once or twice a year.
Which living artist do you most admire?
I would love to own a Peter Doig painting, but given they cost tens of millions of dollars, then perhaps a Michael Illingworth. I don’t know exactly what I like in a painting, but I know it immediately when I see it.
Which New Zealand designer do you most admire?
He’s neither designer nor brand but a potter, house builder and object arranger. Ross Mitchell-Anyon of Wanganui – the greatest thrower of pots in the country, in my humble opinion.
Do you have any tips for arranging spaces?
Yes. Don’t listen to what I have to say on the subject. I can make things fine, but display is not a talent. Left up to me I would arrange everything in straight lines, and in batches of seven.
What’s your favourite time of day?
With a one-year-old running around – bedtime’s pretty good.
Paul’s work is represented in galleries
and museum’s throughout New Zealand.