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Nelson Clay Week

Nelson Clay Week
1 – 9 October 2022
Nelson is reclaiming its position as one of New Zealand’s most active centres for ceramics with the inaugural Nelson Clay Week, attracting some of the country’s leading makers for a series of exhibitions, workshops, masterclasses, open studios, public demonstrations and a market day.

Pushing Clay Uphill exhibition at Refinery ArtSpace, featuring the inaugural Forsyth Barr Contemporary Ceramic Award. 1-15 October
25 Workshops from tutors across the country, catering from beginners to experienced practitioners. (Some of the Workshops sold out within hours of going on sale.) 2-9 October
Pottery Showcase is a series of exhibitions, windows displays and projections that will transform Nelson into a celebration of clay. 1-9 October
Open Studios is an invitation from many of Nelson and Tasman’s potters to come and see their studios and galleries. 1 & 2 October
Potters Square is the perfect opportunity for anyone to try their hand at pottery, make a contribution to a public sculpture, and watch some demonstrations and kiln firings. 3-8 October
Potters in the Park will be the great way to wrap up the week, with dozens of potters selling their wares in Queens Gardens. 9 October
Panel Discussion at Suter Art Gallery (7 October) and Arden Chats (5-8 October) for more informal exchange of ideas on the past, present and future of ceramics.

Arts Council Nelson knew they were on the right track with the immediate response they received at the initial planning stages for Nelson Clay Week.

“We wanted to create a celebration of pottery, as a craft, an artform and an industry that has had a massive impact on Nelson, and New Zealand, since the 1950s,” said Community Arts Manager Lloyd Harwood. “We wanted to invite some of the country’s best potters to gather for a series of exhibitions, workshops, and events, for an exchange of techniques and ideas, and to show their work.”

Harwood enlisted the expertise and connections of Jamie Smith and Tom Baker of Kiln Studio, and very quickly, the planning gained momentum.

“We started working through our list of ceramic artists and practitioners, and the response was immediate. Before we knew it, we had dozens of workshops taking shape. It was really exciting to have that positive commitment from some of New Zealand’s most accomplished and respected ceramicists,” said Harwood.

Nelson Clay Week is programmed to appeal to a broad audience. “We have workshops that are aimed at experienced practitioners, like Throwing Jugs with Duncan Shearer, Lithography on Clay with Jennifer Turnbull, and a Handbuilding Masterclass with Christine Boswijk. And then we have a really exciting line-up of workshops for people who’ve done a few classes, as well as others for absolute beginners,” said Harwood.

Nelson Clay Week will also host Pushing Clay Uphill the inaugural exhibition of contemporary ceramics, with the Forsyth Barr Contemporary Ceramic Award for $8,000. The exhibition and award are attracting entries from around the country, and is set to display a cross-section of work that demonstrates how more dynamic and experimental aspects of ceramic practice. This main exhibition at Refinery ArtSpace will be augmented by numerous exhibitions and window displays across the city.

The public are invited to be part of Nelson Clay Week, when 1903 Square will be renamed Potters Square for five days of demonstrations, kiln firings and a chance for people to try their hand at some claywork. Timed to coincide with the first week of the school holidays, kids will be able to contribute to a public sculpture of 100s of clay fish.

Nelson Clay Week will begin with more than 15 potters across Nelson, Tasman and Marlborough welcoming the public to their workshops, with two days of Open Studios. The Week will then culminate with a Potters Market in Queens Gardens, showcasing more than 30 potters selling their wares.

Nelson Clay Week has attracted some of New Zealand’s most renowned and respected potters: Rick Rudd (Whanganui), Christine Boswijk (Nelson), Wi Taepa (Wellington), Duncan Shearer (Paeroa), Fiona Jack (Auckland), Elena Renker (Auckland), Peter Lange (Auckland), Iza Lozano (Titirangi), Jennifer Turnbull (Otaki), Paul Maseyk (New Plymouth), Michael Potter (Tadmor), Fiona Sutherland (Nelson), Alex Wilkinson (Cambridge), Jane McCulla (Lyttelton), Janeen Page (Taranaki), Sara Scott (Picton), Suzy Dunser (Paeroa), Carla Ruka (Auckland), Karla Marie (Wellington), Jenni Taris (Hamilton), Joelle March (Auckland), Royce McGlashen (Tasman), Sarah Harrison (Great Barrier Island), Darryl Frost (Tasman) and Elise Johnson (Dunedin).


Nelson Clay Week is set to be a biennial event, bringing together potters from around New Zealand to share their passion and expertise. It is set to have a real impact on Nelson, with an influx of participants and visitors, and bringing the city alive with all things clay.

Refinery ArtSpace is committed to stimulating and strengthening the artistic and cultural life of Whakatū, supporting a diverse programme of engaging community-driven and contemporary exhibitions, projects and events.

Click here to find out more…


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