Meet The Maker: Fox & Fantail

This week we are introducing a new maker to the A&C community. Crafted by Kathryn Tourell in her home studio, these thoughtfully designed pieces blend functionality and elegance. Unlike mass-produced alternatives, each Fox & Fantail creation celebrates the importance of human connection, from maker to customer, infusing a special kind of magic into your everyday. 

We caught up with Kathryn to hear more about her, her work & of course her favourite places to eat and things to watch!

01. Tell us a bit about yourself and Fox & Fantail
Hello! I am a mother, a wife, a creative, and I live in Waimauku, Auckland. I love living here. The pace is slower than the city suburbs, and the coast is wilder. It's refreshing and feels cleansing in many ways. I launched Fox & Fantail Ceramics in January 2024. I tried juggling a city job and sales on the road with family life, but it felt hectic, and I couldn't be as present for my family as I wanted to be.

Fox & Fantail has given me the freedom to express myself through my work, engage more with my local community, and, by working in my home studio, be available for my family. I chose the name Fox & Fantail Ceramics because I am English, represented by the fox, and my children are New Zealanders, represented by the fantail sitting on the fox's back.

02. What sparked your love of ceramics? 
As far back as I can remember, I've craved a creative life in a studio or workshop, spending my days making beautiful things. I had been feeling a nudge to take a ceramics course for a long time, but I kept ignoring it. I was too busy with, well, everything!

For Christmas in 2022, my husband gifted me a nine-week wheel-throwing course at Clay Studios in Takapuna. I was thrilled, and soon, I was also hooked. Once the course finished, I hired a wheel and practiced every day. My curiosity then led me to hand building, and I found that I loved it just as much. I haven't stopped since.

03. Where do you find your inspiration? 
There are so many amazing potters online these days showcasing their skills, practices, and incredible work. Pinterest is full of beautifully photographed ceramics. I find artists who share their work with the world to be brave and inspiring. I am careful not to copy other artists' work though and don't take commission requests of this nature.

I draw inspiration from how we live at home and from friends who are incredible entertainers. I often think about what would be a nice addition to our or their kitchen or serveware collection.

I also draw inspiration from nature. My current color palette includes mostly soft whites and greens, although I'd like to experiment with oranges and pinks in the coming months. Maybe that's because it's autumn, and the colours outside are so beautiful this time of year.

04. Tell us about your art practice and your journey with making
I love that every day is different. I usually start the day with a cleanup, especially if I didn't have time to do it the day before, which often happens. This helps keep my mind clear and focused. From there, I could be throwing mugs, handbuilding bowls or platters, glazing, working on my website, organizing my next workshop... whatever needs to be done. However, sometimes, the pots demand your immediate attention. Clay needs to be trimmed at a certain dryness to be finished well, and when that happens, everything else gets sidelined for the love of well-finished pots!

05. What is your favourite piece in your collection? 
I think my favourite piece is currently my wave pedestal bowls. I love the fluidity they embody. I do love my hand carved pieces though; it’s very satisfying to do, and the end results are textural and have something extra special about them.

06. Any advice for creating a space/home you love? 
Less is more. Invest in quality, and only buy something if you truly love it. The more things you have, the more chaotic your home will feel. I really value a calm space.


Favourite Maker/Creator to follow... Lilly Maezig of Mae Ceramics is a Kiwi ceramicist living in London, and she knows how to keep it real. She's full of great advice and is funny and relatable. Locally however, there's Lily from Lil Ceramics. She is incredibly talented and was a huge support when I was setting up my studio. Women supporting women in business is just the best.

[Best Place for]
Dinner... Butcher Baker in Helensville
Coffee… The Muriwai Deli does great coffee and amazing cabinet food! Coffee at The Good From Scratch Farm Shop is a winner too. 
Cocktail... I live in Waimauku so it's slim pickings, luckily the Muriwai Deli Bar has us covered, and they do it well. 

[What are you]
Listening to…
 What the Flux. It's pottery based and full of good information and Life Changing (Dr Sian)
Reading… Always ceramics books these days. Currently trying to absorb as much as I can from John Britts mid fire glazes.
Watching… I recently finished One Day which I loved and I'm now waiting for the next Bridgerton drop.