Taking a leap of faith

20 February 2013
Written by Sacha Kenny | Images by Sacha Kenny
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Award-winning French ceramic artist and jewellery-maker Stephanie Cahorel chats to Sacha Kenny about her love of clay and finding her way as an artist.

It took a leap of faith both creatively and across continents for French artist Stephanie Cahorel to find her place and her name as an artist.  Six years later, the Kapiti Coast based award-winning ceramic artist and jewellery-maker has a following that exceeds her wildest dreams.

“Sometimes I sit back and think to myself ‘wow’ if you had told me years ago that I would be doing pottery/ceramics fulltime I would have just laughed ‘phew no way – yeah right’.”

Stephanie, an Arts Plastiques graduate from Rennes 2 University in Upper Brittany, France, was first introduced to ceramics while working at a 'paint your own pottery' café in London.  It was a chance job that developed a love of clay that has shaped her life in recent years to the point it influenced where she chose to live.

When Stephanie and her French husband Sebastian were researching immigrating to New Zealand, for Stephanie the final discussion came down to a small outdated fact about New Zealand’s love of ceramics.

“I’ll always remember when we were reading facts about New Zealand, one brochure said ‘in the 1970s one out of two New Zealanders did pottery’ – I thought wow that’s amazing I want to go there.”

Laughing, she says "so it was quite funny and a bit of a disappointment when we moved here, we’re talking 40 years after the article was written, that pottery wasn’t actually such a big thing”.

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A regular and very popular exhibitor at the yearly Kapiti Arts Trail and within the greater Wellington craft market scene, Stephanie says the arts trail and markets have opened up a whole new world of ideas and inspirations to her. 

“I didn’t even realise people sold their things at markets, for me markets in France are just for food and produce.  I constantly have people coming to me and asking if I can do this and that etc and although I don’t do commissions I’m always open to people telling me what they want and like – it gives me inspiration to try new things and go in a direction that I may not otherwise take.”

Excited about the year ahead, Stephanie is keen to expand her creativity to painting, sewing and screen printing. “I want to find the medium that’s right for me – that will take me to the next level and go from there. This year is a year of change and maybe self discovery, who knows.  Going back and seeing what I have missed from my training, what I have forgotten and then moving forward,” she says.

“I love the idea of taking each day for what it is and living in the present, which has never been truer for me than now. So this is what I have to start to do – live each day for what it is."

Often asked about how she manages her own business, Stephanie says the key is ‘self belief’. “I always tell people to ‘just believe in themselves’ because if you’ve got that you can do anything.

"I went through a lot of lessons before I started creating things that I love, that I like instead of trying to create things for others or what I think people want – which never works. There will be times when you fail and that’s fine but if you give yourself the tools and if you give yourself a go then there is nothing to stop you from trying new things."

Stephanie's ceramics and jewellery are sold and exhibited around the country as well as in London (stockists listed below).



Stephanie Cahorel

website: www.creativecoast.co.nz/stephanie-cahorel-ceramic.html
email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

> In 2010, Stephanie was the recipient of the Open Award at a group exhibition titled Select/Ed held at The Mahara Gallery, Waikanae
> In 2009 Stephanie was awarded the Emerging Artist Award at a group exhibition tiled MIXT: Kapiti-Horowhenua Arts Review at The Mahara Gallery, Waikanae

Stephanie regularly attends the following markets
> The Wellington Underground Market - held every Saturday 10 - 4, under Frank Kitts Park
> Knack Market Berhampore School Wellington - held once each school term
> Craft 2.0 Market, Wellington - held three to four times a year


The following outlets sell Stephanie's work:

Mixt, Auckland
Made It, Wellington
Pataka, Porirua
Stitch Bird, Wellington
Ora Gallery, Wellington
Expressions Art Centre, Upper Hutt
Red Moa Gallery, Caterton
Kina, New Plymouth
Mahara Gallery, Waikanae
Taylor Jensen Fine Arts,
Palmerston North

Lush Gallery and Shop
Raumati Beach, Kapiti
Artisan, London, UK



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