All fired up

A duo from dif­fer­ent de­sign dis­ci­plines shares a new one.

HOME Magazine NZ - - Contents - Pho­tog­ra­phy by Jackie Meir­ing

A new ceram­ics stu­dio and its artist mak­ers

The Ace Fir­ers are artists Emily Sid­dell and Mark Goody, who are re­cent ce­ram­i­cists and make bowls, cups, plates and ves­sels by hand at Sid­dell’s stu­dio in San­dring­ham, Auck­land. “First and fore­most,” says Sid­dell, “we tend to make things we want to use our­selves.”

Sid­dell is well known for her work mak­ing del­i­cate leis from glass, pieces that are at once nat­u­ral and hand made – and highly col­lectible. A long-time col­lec­tor of ceram­ics – just about ev­ery plate, bowl and cup in her house is by stu­dio pot­ters – she be­gan mak­ing ceram­ics a cou­ple of years ago, tak­ing classes with Peter Lange. Goody comes from a paint­ing back­ground, although he was orig­i­nally a sign­writer: he switched to ceram­ics when he had chil­dren and found he could spend a fo­cused amount of time and still come out with a tan­gi­ble ob­ject.

Their first project was to out­fit Hayes Com­mon, a friend’s cafe in Hamil­ton, with plates and bowls. From there, they re­alised the plea­sure of work­ing with some­one else, af­ter years of soli­tary time in their re­spec­tive stu­dios. “It pushes you out of your com­fort zone,” says Sid­dell.

Dis­tinctly hand­made, no two ob­jects are the same and fir­ings are not re­peated. Ev­ery ob­ject is a lim­ited edi­tion; a unique fus­ing of art and craft. “We worked out quite quickly that we’re not stu­dio pot­ters,” says Sid­dell. It’s not so much that they get bored – there’s some­thing dis­tinctly sooth­ing about the process of turn­ing clay into pot­tery – more that they get ex­cited about the pos­si­bil­ity of what to do next. At one stage, they ex­per­i­mented with dif­fer­ent ashes, another time they used salt glaze – de­spite what it did to the kiln.

Sid­dell and Goody have been de­lighted by the re­sponse to their work, much of which has been by word of mouth. “You want peo­ple to value what you’ve made,” says Goody. “Be­cause we re­ally do care about what we make.”

Top Ace Fir­ers pro­duce dis­tinctly hand­made, one-off pieces from their Auck­land stu­dio.

Above Emily Sid­dell, who is well known as a glass artist, rolls up her sleeves as a ce­ram­i­cist.

Left and be­low Ace Fir­ers work with a nat­u­ral pal­ette to pro­duce their ves­sels, bowls, plates and cups.

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