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Nicola Dench
I have been creating art works ever since I can remember...

I have worked in many different media, but my main focus since 2008 has been ceramics. 2009 was an exciting year for me with the building of my studio, The Clay Penguin allowing me to work as a full time ceramic artist and tutor, teaching handbuilding sculpture techniques to adults and children alongside creating my own work.

Career highlights and awards:

*Creating the Miramar Peninsula arts trail and Artist in Action 2012
*Establishing the NZ Potters Mentor programme 2012
*Selected as a finalist for the Portage awards and Waiclay 2011
*Winner of inaugural travelling scholarship from New Zealand Potters 2011
*Guest Speaker at The Big Smoke National Potters conference, Auckland 2011
*Premier Award at Ceramicus, Wellington Potters Association, 2009
*Published in 'Ceramics Today,' a new reference book by Schiffer Books 2010.
*Merit award, New Zealand Potters student exhibition 2007.
*Awarded scholarship to attend the Learning Connexion 2003
*I am the current Regional Council Member for NZ Potters for Wellington/Western districts

Evocative, tactile, rubbed smooth, scrapped back, full of energy. These are words often used to describe my work. The inspiration for many of my pieces comes from my environment where the sea grinds and erodes away the shore, altering and polishing and creating an ever changing landscape. Other works have their origins in my reaction to social and environment issues, both local and global, or are comments on the human condition, connections with people and man's connections with the land these are then translated into abstract forms.

My pieces are mostly handbuilt and I often use my own handmade clays. Secondary firing can be in the kiln, raku or pit fired where I enjoy the alchemy of fire, glaze and ceramic. I use many different materials as well as glazes to give the surface the finish and texture that complements the form and idea behind each individual piece.

I am represented by Ora Gallery, The vault, Koru and in Wellington; Art of this world in Devonport, Auckland; Artisans gallery, Hamilton and Zeayou in Taupo. My work can be purchased direct from my studio. I regularly exhibit at the New Zealand Academy of Fine Arts, in national and local art exhibitions and competitions where I have won awards. My work is held in private collections in New Zealand, UK, Europe and Japan.


Diploma of Art and Creativity(hons) at The Learning Connexion in 2008.
Diploma of Teaching
Bachelor of Science degree
Diploma of Photography with the New York Institute


NZ Potters Inc, NZ Academy of Fine Art, Wellington potters association, WAG (Wellington Artists Group) and Artists Alliance.

I have had work selected for the National Potters exhibitions, Arts Encompassing, NZ Affordable Art shows, for the Global Eye Exhibition at Pataka, The WOW parade in Wellington, the WCC Crossover Exhibition at NZFAA. I have been a guest artist in several exhibitions and I have had solo exhibitions at Thistle Hall, Wellington, Tussock Cafe at Massey University and Breakers Cafe Seatoun as well as exhibiting in other annual exhibitions.

Instructor:. Nicola is available to take classes Click here for details 

Contact Details
04 938 3356
Postal Address
The Clay Penguin
30 Oakwood Way
Papamoa 3118
New Zealand
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