About

Born in Germany I was first introduced to Pottery in 1977 at the Golden Bridge Pottery run by Ray and Debra Meeker in Pondicherry, India . I worked or rather played there for 3 month. Mostly I was just given a few balls of clay and shown to an old kick wheel under a mango tree and told to just get on with it. More structured learning followed on my return to Germany at the studio of Gisela Fattorini, a canadian potter working in the southern Baveria. After a year at her studio I moved to Munich to study graphic design, started a family and moved to New Zealand. I rediscovered pottery in 1998 after my youngest child started school, first taking lessons at Auckland Studio Potters and then studying towards a Diploma in Ceramic Art at the Otago Polytechnic which I completed in 2007.

My focus has been on making functional ware that can be used in everyday life. I aim to make work that is beautiful to look at, feels good in the hand and is pleasant to use. I think functional wares should be made with their purpose in mind, a vase should enhance the beauty of the flowers, not compete with it, and a bowl or plate should compliment the food served in it.

But for me a tea bowl is probably the most fascinating and intriguing thing to make, an object of contemplation combining functional and sculptural elements. A tea bowl allows for the greatest artistic freedom within the confines of strict rules. It has to be well made and well balanced, not too heavy, not too light and to feel good in the hand. It has to be pleasant to touch and to use. But one of the most important aspects of a tea bowl is the foot of the bowl. Not only should it match the style of the bowl but it is also a reflection of the character of the potter, almost like a signature. And a tea bowl has to provide interest for the eye, to show the clay body it is made of, the touch of the potters hand, the glaze and the effects of the firing process. All this provides a challenge that in my opinion no other item of pottery can match.


My pots are loosely thrown on the wheel or faceted and hand carved using various types of stoneware clay. Often they are slightly deformed to fit more comfortably into the hand of the user. They are then decorated with various ash or iron slips and partially glazed in quick, gestural movements. They are fired in my wood or gas kiln for 12 to 18 hours to 1300C, the effects of fire and flame.adding another dimension to the surfaces of my pots.

My aim is not perfection, on the contrary, my belief is that imperfections make the bowls come alive, make them easier to relate to, make them more human. Nature’s perfection lies within its own asymmetry.


Biography

1959 Born in Cologne, Germany
1976 One year study in New York, USA
1977 First introduction to pottery in Pondicherry, India
1978 Worked for one year in a pottery in Baveria, Germany
1979- 1982 Diploma in graphic design, Blocherer Schule, Munich, Germany
1984 Emigrated to Auckland, New Zealand
1999 Started potting again at Auckland Studio Potters
2002- 2006 Diploma in Ceramics, Otago Polytechnic
2007 Postgraduate Diploma in Ceramic Art, Otago Polytechnic
2009 Build my own wood fired kiln
2009 Helped build a wood fired kiln in Dehua, Fujian Province, China
2009-13 Participated in the Mungyeong Tea Bowl Festival, Korea
2010 Attended the International Wood Fire Conference, Pasewalk, Germany
2011 Teaching of Diploma of Ceramic Art class in Wood firing
2014 Attended the International Wood Fire Conference, Denmark
2014 Took part in the international Chawan Expo and Workshop in
Singapore, fired traditional Dragon kiln
2015 Residency in Shigaraki, Japan


Exhibitions and awards

2015 Finalist, Waiclay, Waikato Museum, Hamilton
2015 Finalist, Fire and Clay, Pah Homestead, Auckland
2015 International Chawan Expo, Belgium
2015 Merit Award, NZ Potters Exhibition, Auckland Museum, Auckland
2015 Highly Commended Certificate, NZ Potters Exhibition, Whangarei

2014 Finalist, Portage Trust Awards, Te Uru Gallery, Auckland
2014 Finalist, Fire and Clay, Pah Homestead, Auckland
2014 Baltic Wood Fire Exhibition, Bornholm, Denmark
2014 International Chawan Expo, Singapore
2014 Evolution, Form Gallery, Christchurch
2014 Double Merit Award, Thirst Exhibition, Art Station, Auckland
2014 Finalist NZ Potters Exhibition, Christchurch

2013 Finalist, Fire and Clay, Pah Homestead, Auckland
2013 Waiclay Exhibition, Waikato Museum, Hamilton
2013 Cliff to Clay Exhibition, Wellington Art Gallery, Wellington
2013 International Tea Bowl Festival, Mungyeong, Korea
2013 Finalist, NZ Potters Exhibition, Wellington

2012 Finalist, Fire and Clay, Pah Homestead, Auckland
2012 Sogo World Exhibition, Tokyo, Japan
2012 International Ceramic Exhibition, Gangjin, Korea
2012 International Tea Bowl Festival, Mungyeong, Korea
2012 Finalist, NZ Potters Exhibition, Whangamata

2011 Finalist, Waiclay Exhibition, Waikato Museum, Hamilton
2011 Finalist ‘Portage Trust Awards’, Lopdell House Gallery, Auckland
2011! Merit Award, Domestic Ware Awards, Auckland Studio Potters
2011 International Tea Bowl Festival, Mungyeong, South Korea
2011 Internatrional Ceramic Exhibition, Gangjin, Korea
2011 Finalist, New Zealand Potters National Exhibition, Auckland

2010 Merit Award, Domestic Ware Award, Auckland Studio Potters
2010 Finalist ‘Portage Trust Awards’, Lopdell House Gallery, Auckland
2010-13 'Great Expectations', Group Exhibition, Estuary Arts Centre, Orewa
2010 Woodfire, Gallery Klosterdorf, Rostock, Germany
2010 International Tea Bowl Festival, Mungyeong, South Korea

2009 NZ Potters Merit Award, Ballantynes National Tableware Exhibition,Christchurch
2009 Premier Award, Domestic Ware Award, Auckland Studio Potters
2009 ' Albarello and Tea', Joint Exhibition with Duncan Shearer, Form Gallery, Christchurch
2009 International Tea Bowl Festival, Mungyeong, South Korea
2009 Finalist, New Zealand Potters National Exhibition, Wellington

2008 Australian University Award, ‘Waiclay Exhibition’, Waikato Museum,Hamilton
2008 Finalist ‘Portage Trust Awards’, Lopdell House Gallery, Auckland
2008 Premier Award, ‘Fire and Clay’, Annual Exhibition of the Auckland Studio Potters
2008 ‘Tea Bowls’ Joint Exhibition with Campbell Hegan, Janet Mansfield and
Yoshikazu Takada, Compendium Gallery, Auckland

2007 ‘Domestics’ Joint Exhibition with Ann Crane at North Art Gallery, Auckland
2007 Merit Award ‘Cone City Clay’, New Zealand Potters Society, Exhibition Compendium Gallery
2007 Premier Award, Domestic Ware Awards, Auckland Studio Potters
2006 Finalist ‘Portage Trust Awards’, Lopdell House Gallery, Auckland
Stacks Image 20565

Elena Renker
Ceramics / Pottery
Auckland, New Zealand

© 2016 renker