Customers and browsers walk off the street and are surrounded by the clay population sitting upon the shelves and can see directly through the shutters behind the counter into Gary Smith’s workshop.
A genuine working pottery, Gary sells only what he makes on site.
“It is grass roots, simple and down to earth,” he says “and every piece is a one-off.”
A move to Insley Street has seen the development of the earthenware range with its green and turquoise glazes and evolving decorations.
Much of his later work has been influenced by a trip to Ubeda some years ago with partner Vanessa where he met Paco Tito, the most famous potter in Spain.
“Although physically he may have been a lot shorter than I expected, I felt like a pea beside a mountain,” says Gary, realising he was in the presence of greatness.
“I realised after spending some time in his pottery I was in the presence of a master craftsman and that I in fact had not challenged myself in my own work. It was an amazing visit.”
A gifted potter, Gary feels great satisfaction making a pot from scratch and then having a customer choose it from the shelf.
Not afraid to experiment, he has even tried using local clay.
September 17 saw Mangawhai Pottery celebrate their third birthday at the Insley St site. There will be a large seconds sale and clearance of old stock and every purchase of $50 and over will go in the draw to win $100 worth of pottery.
“I'd like to take the opportunity to thank all those people that have supported us over the last three years, with a special ‘thank you’ to all our local customers – it's been a great experience for us here.”
Gary also offers one-on-one lessons in throwing on the wheel by appointment. Call 021 187 0472 or email email@example.com.
SHOP: Gary Smith says selling his own creations off the shelf is very satisfying.