Barry’s Pottery Workshop

“It’s not the thing but how…”


Driving Creek Railway and Potteries in partnership with Ceramics NZ are running a series of one-day pottery workshops celebrating the hand-built techniques and approach of the incredible Barry Brickell.


This small, intimate and relaxed workshop will focus on unravelling the hand-building sculptural 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).


Whether you’re a total beginner or an experienced maker this is your opportunity to get a deeper understanding of how local clay, engineering and the environment influenced Barry’s amazing pottery and art.


You’ll get your hands dirty in Barry’s historic studios and take a ride on his famous train on this busy and deeply tactile experience. Participants will explore the clay pits, traditional machinery, kilns, wildlife sanctuary and heritage buildings that make up the historic Driving Creek Railway & Potteries with tutor and guide Laurie Steer.


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 a guided walking tour, 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. All participants will create their own unique works from local wild clay, which will be raw fired onsite and return posted.


This inspiring and educational day out will cost you $165 and includes a train ride, tuition by Laurie Steer, all materials, tea/coffee/biscuits and lunch. Book your place at this inspirational ceramic experience and learn more about the amazing life and ceramic style of one of New Zealand’s most iconic creatives.



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.



30 March, 8.45am-3pm


27 and 28 April 2019, 8.45am-3pm


1 and 2 June 2019, 10am-4.15pm
For June workshops, the train ride takes place after the pottery tuition from 3-15-4.15pm.



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. Reserve your place with a 50% deposit with the balance payable 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 one of New Zealand’s first full-time handcraft potters. 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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