All fired up
A duo from different design disciplines shares a new one.
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.