Designer Profile: Factory Ceramics

Handmade ceramics to treasure in dusky shades and organic textures.

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‘Lattice Bowls’ made from coloured textured clay finished with clear glaze


From their workshop on beautiful Waiheke Island, the team at Factory Ceramics produce handmade kiln-fired pieces with a nod to beauty as well as function. Previously The Garden Party Factory, the company shifted to Waiheke in 2009 after 15 years selling products at Auckland’s Ponsonby Road store The Garden Party. With the move came a new name in 2011 and a natural evolution in the look and feel of the ceramics.

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Applying glaze to a clay plate


Owner Peter Baigent says more functional wares began to emerge from the Waiheke workshop in soft deco shades. “We wanted to return to making tableware that was contemporary in form and colour. We prefer designing for ourselves rather than remaking things that sell. Our items are rustic in their handmade appearance but also acknowledge the strength and simplicity of works designed and made by the greats, such as the Crown Lynn Factory.”

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Hand-crafted milk jug


Rounding out the Factory Ceramics team is designer and head of colour Kirsten Anderson, styling and retail expert Mahoney Harris and Matt Dickinson, who is in charge of the finishing work. They say Waiheke is full of inspiration. “It’s great to live in such a beautiful natural environment, there are always colours, shapes and textures in our vision.” Waiheke locals and visitors drop into the factory shop often to chat and see how things are made. “If they are lucky they see a kiln opening with new works. That is a ‘Christmas’ moment,” says Peter.

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Peter and Matt in the studio

Factory ceramics

Words by: Johanna Thornton

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