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Potter Gwen Parsons opened General Pottery three years ago at 49 Ferry Road.  A supply shop for students it was also an alternative for the purchase of clay online and it rapidly evolved to selling glaze materials, pottery tools, firing services and pottery.  

It recently relocated to 27 Essex Street and is now sharing a larger spaces with Clae, a complementary service overseen by celebrated potter and educator/lecturer for the National Diploma of Ceramic Art at Otago Polytechnic, Tatyanna Meharry and her equally famous World of Wearable Arts sister, project manager Natasha English, holding pottery classes and producing sustainable clay products.  In Meharry’s words it is ‘a full pottery experience.’

Meharry is adamant that the only way to purchase clay and equipment is through a supply shop.  ‘The whole thing about buying clay has been centred online, with Covid that has grown, but for a potter it is all about touching and feeling your materials and that is so different from buying online.’

Meharry has taught pottery for the past 10 years and makes note of its sustained public interest.  ‘In the first term end of last year we had 120 enrol in term one.   After the earthquakes we had an influx of people who were in need of wellbeing and pottery does that.  It can deal to all your worries.  When you are working with clay you only have to worry about your hand and eye coordination.  Clay is also the ultimate in alchemy.  It is all about discovery and keeping secrets close to the chest.’

‘I talk to my diploma students about why we create art and there are three reasons:  To tell stories, to hold a mirror to the world and the third is for mental wellbeing, and we juggle the three most weeks.  That is where peoples’ interest has been and there has also been a solid hub for the national diploma which has an 80% hit-rate of success with students either working in the arts industry or across it.  With the studio space at General Pottery there is that frontline thing, they come for short-term experiences and that sometimes feeds through to the diploma.’

 ‘One of the big things we face is the overwhelming amount of stuff in our lives and disconnect of where they came from.  In ceramics there is this inherent idea of I do not have to throw that thing away.     Head, heart and hands – Take you hands away and what have you got?’


General Pottery and Clae

27 Essex Street, Christchurch

Wednesday – Saturday 10am – 4pm

Scott Willis, Carissa Ptacek and Rachel Horne, Reform, (diploma graduates exhibition)

1 – 4 December



  1. General Pottery and its resources for potters
  2. Clae, specialising in classes and sustainable clay products


General Pottery & Clae- Champions of Alchemy

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