Peter & Julie Collis
... are the ultimate artisans. Together, as Collis Studios, they lead and live the true Bohemian lifestyle, working with their hands and creating an artistically rich and fulfilling life. Creativity oozes out of them, makes their brains tick and their juices flow.
While most of us get up to go the office or our business, Peter’s first task is wandering downstairs to their studio to set the temperature for the days firing, changeable depending on that day's creative intention.
While that sounds romantic, and no doubt it has an element of romance, it also involves an unprecedented dedication to the artistry: a drive to create, improve, strive for perfection and never quite believe it has been achieved. Part of the fuel of the creative mind is that need to improve, the desire to go a bit further and test something new.
Inspiration comes from all around them: they live on the Waitemata Harbour in Auckland, New Zealand, one of the most stunning locations to be inspired by. Together, they are heavily into the theatrical community of North Shore drama, often performing back to back in various productions; they religiously attend exhibitions Auckland-wide, supporting artists both well-known and up-and-coming; they travel extensively, lapping up cultures of rich history all things ceramic related. They are admired by many, and admire many in return.
And all of this by turning the furnace on in the morning, and creating forms from a soft medium. Admirable.
“I make round things” – says Peter. That he does, and very well – creating pure, balanced, evenly proportioned objects that add enrichment to our environments. The forms, either voluptuous or sleek in shape, are in striking colours that can be either soft and subtle, or strong and vibrant. At times the vessels & objects are so large, it is difficult to make even his peers believe they are hand-thrown. In typical modest style Peter shrugs, smiles and says:" sure they are, I make large round things!"
Peter Collis has worked with clay nearly all of his life. The main focus to his work has been the handling of shape and surface. He creates pure form vessels, which he then treats in a wide range of methods. Crackle glazes, textured engobes, rich colour all enrich surfaces and complement form.
Vibrant, quirky, petite. Julie’s sense of style marries classic forms of function (ish) with quirkiness and charm. It connects the old with the new and tackles topics that bring little smiles to our hearts.
Julie was trained in Jewellery and Textile Design, and you find reference to this in the form of surface design she applies to a lot of her work, such as the collection “Memories of a Grandmother”. Of late she has worked in media such as metal and glass, and has also started to use form as decoration, minimizing the surface design.