Pottery workshop and train ride


Driving Creek Railway and Potteries in partnership with Ceramics NZ are running a series of one-day pottery workshops. Whether you’re a total beginner or an experienced maker this is a chance for you to get your hands dirty in the studio used by Barry Brickell at Driving Creek. You’ll also get the chance to ride on Barry’s famous train and be shown around the Base Yard and Potteries by tutor, Laurie Steer, who knew Barry and fired many of the kilns on this site.


In a small class of eight pupils, this relaxed and supportive workshop will focus on looking at the hand-building techniques of Barry Brickell (with a close up look at some of his most iconic works held by the Driving Creek Railway, Arts and Conservation Trust Collection). Aspiring potters will explore this often-overlooked technique to create their own unique works and broaden their understanding of clay as a dynamic natural material.


Broken into two easy going parts, the morning session starts at 8.45am for a train ride, then runs till 12 noon with pottery tuition and moments to walk around or look at Barry’s work, after which there will be a one hour lunch break. Hungry potters will be provided with a vegetarian lunch from the wonderful Wharf Road café (dietary options available). The workshop resumes at 1pm and finishes at 3pm.


This inspiring and educational day out will cost you $160 and includes a train ride, tuition by Laurie Steer, all materials, tea/coffee/biscuits and lunch. Take the first step, ignite your passion for pottery or reignite an old flame at this intimate, inspirational ceramic experience.



Your tutor will be Laurie Steer. Laurie is an artist and potter. He is also an occasional educator and human. With 27 years practical experience and a Master’s degree in Art & Design, Laurie has collaborated with and studied under some of New Zealand’s leading artists and designers. From ceramics to design Laurie leads a richly diverse life, comfortably merging art and craft sensibilities with contemporary education for endlessly interesting outcomes.



Saturday, 10 November 2018, 8.45am-3pm


Saturday, 15 December 2018, 8.45am-3pm


Saturday, 2 February 2019, 8.45am-3pm


Sunday, 3 February 2019, 8.45am-3pm



Driving Creek Railway and Potteries,

380 Driving Creek Road
Coromandel 3506 New Zealand

A two-and-a-half-hour drive from Auckland, Hamilton or Tauranga.

To save your spot on one of these pottery workshops, please contact: 0800-327-245 or via the email button. Payment will be in full on the morning of the workshop, but please let us know in advance of any dietary requirements.

More about Barry Brickell


In 1961, Barry Brickell moved to Coromandel and became New Zealand’s first full-time handcraft potter. A compelling and complex man, Barry Brickell (1936-2016) left a pottery legacy that is unsurpassed in New Zealand. His largest creation, Driving Creek Railway and Potteries sits on 24 hectares of regenerated native forest and is now owned by the Driving Creek Railway, Arts and Conservation Trust.


Barry built kilns, dug and processed clay and took the art of hand-built pottery to new levels.


Courtney Johnston, Director of the Dowse Art Museum, when writing about Barry’s artwork states, “Barry’s pots were marked by a unique sensibility, a blend of rugged materiality, understanding of place and wit. From everyday mugs to the statuesque ‘spiromorphs’ to his clay murals, Barry’s work draws its power from his interest in the process of making – ‘not the thing but the how’ as Barry would say”.


Over his lifetime Barry sold thousands of pottery and ceramic objects, including many sculptures and murals, wrote several books, and painted numerous works of art.

Photography by Haru Sameshima.

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