By taking a long view of the social life of clay commodities, Clay Economies intends to open up different considerations of contemporary ceramics. Implicit in this undertaking is the assumption that the potentiality of future ceramic production becomes apparent when we recognise the complex but specific mechanisms that regulate taste, trade and desire.


The works in Clay Economies traverse the industrially mass produced and the handcrafted; the ornamental and the utilitarian; the authored and the anonymous; the high and low status; the visible and the barely acknowledged. By assembling such a diversity of works the intent is to expand our understanding of contemporary ceramic practice by considering the multiplicity of ceramic production and consumption that exists beyond the narrow confines of studio pottery.


Coinciding with the Clay Economies exhibition is the launch of the Clay Economies publication. A critical anthology of essays by Dr David Craig, Moyra Elliott, Richard Fahey & Dr Christopher Thompson, Clay Economies addresses ceramics as a significant form of local cultural production. Clay Economies is published by 6 Point Press with the assistance of Creative New Zealand, Objectspace & Unitec.


The 72 page Clay Economies publication is available for $5 from Objectspace.

Temuka (and Australian manufacturers), Electrical insulators, various dates. Courtesy of Chris Braddock and John Parker.

Unknown makers, Face cups, various dates. Courtesy of the Simon Manchester Collection.