Who We Are
"May you ferment and mould for ever."
Clay is genetically part of MacMillan blood ! Passed down from grandmother Roie Thorpe’s days transforming rustic clays in to vessels in Hanmer Springs to her daughter, Diana, and her husband Howard throwing in their teaching careers in the early seventies to make a living from a 2 foot by 2 foot kiln in Monaco, Nelson, to Hugh setting up his own business in 1988, after 3 years apprenticeship with Royce McGlashen and direct influence from Roie and his parents… it seemed pre destined. In the beginning, Hughs preference was for a Fitting and Turning career, but he was considered too old at 19 to be taken on! Little did he know that in the time since there would be many opportunities to incorporate this interest in the field of pottery.
First production under his own name was terracotta forms, hand thrown and fired in a kiln (still in use today), built by Hugh under a tree at Stratford St, Richmond, Nelson, with partner Saralinda who worked at a local winery as winemaker. The workshop was a tin shed at the side of the old (1908) weather- board house, where the front two rooms were converted to a gallery and shop. The family lived at the back and the business was born.
1993 saw a move to Gladstone Rd, on SH6. This gave a profile boost with the passing traffic, and a purpose built workshop and gallery. Stoneware was a large part of the production mix now, as demand for terracotta waned with imported competition via the big importers type stores. Saralinda joined the business in amongst the growing family activities, and during this time Hugh started to develop new ranges of glazes, which led to designing recipes using computer programs. A REVELATION!! This allowed a move to brighter colours fired at a lower temperature than the old clay/glaze combos and produced incredibly strong ware. This has become a well known feature of our tableware range still today, with many customers using dinner sets and mugs from the turn of the century!!
The learning never stops, thank goodness!