“My Opa is a potter/ceramic artist based in Hamilton, he’s 90 and originally from Friesland (in the north of the Netherlands). I have a few bits and bobs of his pottery now, but it’s funny, I never appreciated it as a kid. It’s only in recent years that I’ve really appreciated and loved what he’s made. I’ve been collecting pieces of his pottery, and some of my mum’s, since moving to New Zealand from Australia. My mum did a lot of pottery too, but she passed when I was young. It feels like I’m now collecting all these little pieces of my heritage. I think it’s pretty awesome that my Opa has been an artist all these years and making a living off it in New Zealand. His studio is still running in Hamilton, Van der Sluis Pottery Studio.
This piece in particular was a present. My brother and I were allowed to choose one piece of Opa’s pottery for Christmas one year. My Mormor [Danish for grandmother] has alzhemiers, and she’d forgotten they’d given us these beautiful pieces of his pottery when we unwrapped them. She looked at my Opa very concerned, like, ‘are you sure we can give them these?’ We all assured her we’d had her permission. I definitely have a newfound appreciation for my Opa’s pottery. It’s all about the strata of the land, the different layers of the earth. Now I can’t wait until I have my own house to display it, for now I have to keep my home in my room.” - Sarah, Mount Maunganui (Interview: Nicole Barratt)