Kia ora I’m Katie. I do everything here from concept design through to making and selling my work. I turn clay into usable and beautiful objects that will last more than a lifetime. I also take all classes and workshops here at my studio The Pottery Place in Kaiapoi, North Canterbury.
I have a background in environmental science but I come from a long line of artisans. My Nana Ingeborg Jenssen was a studio potter and painter who moved from her native Norway and settled in Napier for the remainder of her life. Her Father Lars Skaugen was an incredible and prolific woodcarver. Her Mother, Astrid was a magnificent weaver.
In 2015 at the age of 24 I moved in with my Nana. Her home was covered ceiling to floor with the most beautiful pieces of art, from her family and from artists whom she met along the way. I couldn’t help but be inspired, not just by the level of skill in these pieces, but by the stories behind them. Her husband, my Grandfather Finn Jenssen, had passed away 10 years before; he too was creative and her right-hand-man, in life, love and art. When he died, she stopped potting. Her studio hadn’t been used for years, there were half-finished pieces, abandoned clumps of dried clay, remnants of a once busy studio.
I jumped in hands-first to the opportunity that had presented itself. I fell in love with clay and now dedicate all of my time to it. I primarily work on the wheel but I also use moulds made by my nana and grandad and carving techniques from my great-grandfather. I use embroidery thread in some of my works, to honour my great-grandmother and women artisans before her. My work is steeped in history yet also influenced by the world that we are living in with our vibrant culture and society here in Aotearoa.