Potter Andrew Killick and his wife, Anne, have moved to Oamaru to build their business around their life, rather than the other way around.
The Killicks moved from Waihi, in the North Island, where they ran Laughing Pottery, and worked seven days a week.
‘‘It was really, really busy. We were getting tired,’’ Mr Killick said.
The couple came to Oamaru for an Easter holiday last year and, after three days, decided ‘‘this is where we’ve got to be’’.
‘‘I don’t know, it just felt right.’’
They bought a house in Caledonian Rd last November, and made the move about six months ago. Mr Killick has set up his workshop, started running classes, and sells a range of his pottery from the property.
‘‘We’ve been made to feel so welcome.
‘‘There was just something about being here, that automatically felt like being at home.’’
The plan was to mostly focus on the teaching in the beginning. He has four spare pottery wheels in his workshop, and he continued to supply two galleries — one in Geraldine and one in Gisborne.
‘‘We’re wanting to keep it small. We don’t want to end up in the position that we were in, hence the name Silenzio — silence, although we do hear the ocean, which is so nice.’’
Mr Killick began his working life as a joiner, but despite his best efforts to avoid following in the footsteps of his potter parents, he eventually conceded it was what he was born to do.
‘‘I just kept coming back to the clay. Oh, I just love it, I never get sick of it.’’
All his work was stoneware, which meant it was able to be used in the dishwasher and oven, and was made using clay from the Waikato. He also made his own natural glazes — two of which, whitestone and riverstone, were new for Oamaru.
Mr Killick particularly loved making ‘‘domestic ware’’ such as plates, mugs, bowls and oil pourers.
‘‘There’s something really nice about making something that people use every day.’’
He was ‘‘not a fussy potter’’, and liked to see his throwing marks on his pieces.
‘‘I kind of feel like if it’s come off my hands, it’s going to fit somebody else’s.’’
While Mrs Killick was not a potter herself, she worked on the administrative side of the business, looking after all the bookings, and structuring her husband’s days.
‘‘We’ve worked together for a long time, and we’ve got a nice rhythm,’’ he said.
The pair felt like they had landed on their feet here, joining the local theatre group and badminton club — ‘‘stuff that we’ve never had the chance to do’’.
Mr Killick had joined the Customs House Gallery, where a few of his pottery pieces were available. He also had a few pieces in the new Cherry Leaf Farm Gifts and Coffee Shop, which opened this week.
Silenzio Pottery was open to visitors, but people needed to phone first, he said. They would eventually have a gallery, but wanted to be open only a few days a week.
The response to the classes had been overwhelming, and it could all be booked through the website. The classes could cater for about 12 people, and they could host hen parties, or Christmas functions, he said.