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Ceramic artist Katie Jenssen works on a new piece of art at her pottery studio based in the Kaiapoi Mill complex.

Garage dilemma launches pottery business

When Katie Jenssen and her partner Erza relocated to Kaiapoi from Hawke’s Bay they searched in vain for a house with a large garage for Katie to use as her pottery studio. Finding the perfect house without a garage ending up launching Katie’s flourishing Pottery Place business located in the Kaiapoi Mill complex.
“My partner is originally from Kaiapoi so when we decided to move here one of the conditions was that we’d have a double garage for my pottery. As it turned out, the house that we bought didn’t have a garage and that led me to finding the perfect space for a larger venture than I’d originally imagined.”
Since opening in October 2020, Katie’s pottery workshops have been consistently booked out and she has recently employed her sister-in-law to help with the growing business. Katie has been pleasantly surprised by the interest from the local community and beyond in trying out pottery.
“It was a bit scary and exciting starting a bigger venture than I had initially planned for, but it has definitely paid off as so many people from North Canterbury and Christchurch want to give pottery a go but might be nervous about committing to a long-term course.  
“I offer one off classes, five-week courses, and one-on-one sessions which give people a taste of pottery while gaining confidence in all the basic techniques. If they like it, they can then go on to join a pottery group.”
Katie says the growing interest in pottery is part of a movement back towards people making items for themselves and a form of creative relief from our increasingly busy lives.
“People love making stuff with their hands and to create something yourself from scratch is a really rewarding process, especially for people who don’t normally get to do this in their regular lives. 
“Your hands get dirty and covered in clay and you are so focused on what you are doing that you don’t realised how much time has passed. The process of making pottery is a real “in the moment” experience which I think a lot of us are craving.”
Katie says the local community has been incredibly supportive of her business and she is enjoying the relaxed vibe of Kaiapoi which reminds her of Whirinaki - the beach town she is from near Napier.
“People have been amazing. Everyone is so friendly, and I have had so much support from local people who have attended my courses or bought a piece of my pottery for a gift.”
Keeping a balance between offering classes and having time to work on her own pieces of pottery is important to Katie and she is keen to maintain this balance as she moves forward with her business.
“For me, it’s all about sharing the joy that pottery brings me with a wider community while still having time to delve into my own creative projects.”

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