Thea Ceramics

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In celebration of Mothers Day we recently sat down with Esther Macdonald the designer, creator and maker at Thea Ceramics. Esther creates hand thrown, contemporary ceramic pieces from her Waiheke based Studio.


Being a full time mum and owner of one very busy business we wanted to sit down with Esther and gain a realistic insight into a mothers work life balance, what she REALLY wants for Mothers day and what values she wants to instill into her four year old son Koa.

What is it like balancing work and quality time with Koa?
I don't know if I nail the balance but it is definitely a priority of mine and something I'm always working hard on. I get up when Koa wakes up around 7:30. Koa has a mixture of Kohanga Reo; he goes to Bush Kindy (Talking Tree Hill), and a day with his grandma. While Koa’s at kindy I go for it; I try and get as much work done as possible, then I can take the afternoon off with him. We either go to the beach, bike ride, play ball games outside or whatever he is up for. When Koa’s knackered I sit next to him on the couch and do admin while he watches a movie, then after he is asleep I go back to work. Even if it’s just for an hour,  “do a little extra everyday... then one day I'll catch up" is my mantra. I work 6 days, Sunday is always a family day. I am so lucky to have a studio at home and don't mind working hard for the lifestyle we have.

What’s something you weren’t expecting to love about motherhood?  
Some of the little chores that can be so satisfying. Things like making healthy colourful lunch boxes, making sure there is plenty of yummy, healthy, fresh food for my son to enjoy, putting away freshly washed and folded clothes, that smell crisp and soft. These things make me feel so grateful for having a happy healthy home.

What’s the number one value that you want to instill in your child? 
Ideas around whakawhanuangatangata and whakuka are hugely important to me; caring for others, thinking about the community and looking after resources. I hope that Koa grows up to respect and love his surroundings and his Whānau, knowing he will always belong.



What did you hate that your mother used to do but you appreciate now? I can't really think of anything in particular, my mum is awesome! She works so hard though and never stops. This is frustrating sometimes, but I really appreciate what she does, how much she does and she is an amazing role model- I hope I'm the tinniest bit like her.

What’s the worst mother’s day present you ever got your mum? I'm sure there has been some lacklustre gifts, but generally I'm pretty good at gift giving because I love it and my Mum is easy to shop for! I know her well and most of the things I love she would love too. The worst Mothers Day for her has probably been when I haven't made an effort or remembered her, I hope she knows I always appreciate her.

What do you actually want for mother’s day?
A nice chill family day would be nice; maybe coffee in bed, head to the beach, some yum food and of course wine!

What’s something you thought you’d love about motherhood but has actually been very challenging? I worked as an Early Childhood Educator for 12 years before becoming a mother and potter. I loved setting up learning experiences and extending children's learning. I know I do fine, but I wish I enjoyed creating awesome learning experiences and playing more. I need to bring more energy to this side of motherhood.


Do you have a piece of advice for new mums? Take is easy on yourself, don't compare yourself to others, everyone is different and every baby is different. Surround yourself with people that love, support you and make you feel good anyone less doesn't deserve your valuable time.



Videography Harrison Maclean
Photography Emily Powell

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