Mark was originally a painter and is a collector of studio pottery. He was trying to achieve on canvas what would be best made three dimensionally in clay, and realised he should take up pottery. I was working with glass and clay and creating non-functional artworks. I became interested in domestic ware and wanted to create objects that could be used every day.
We built a little salt kiln together and experimented with different glazes and firing techniques, not always successfully. Ace was a cool term when we were growing up in the early 80s and we joked that we were Ace firers because, really, we weren’t. Then when we began making domestic ware together and were searching for a name we kept coming back to Ace.
We both love wood- and salt-fired studio pottery. Some favourites are Ross Mitchell Anyon, Andrew Van Der Putten, and Rosie and Renton Murray. We’re also interested in painters such as Tony Fomison and Lucien Freud, and we also find inspiration in textiles.
We love the warmth and colour that wild clay adds and we like using locally sourced ingredients whenever we can. Over the second Auckland lockdown our clay delivery was held up, but we noticed a great clay pile in the building site behind our studio. Some of the new Everyday Needs products include freshly dug, local West Auckland clay.
Our favourite piece in the collection is the classic utensil holder – it looks brilliant with a collection of Petley utensils. We love the simple practicality.