Meet the maker: Bob Steiner's world of designer pottery (Gallery) (Video)
A purpose-built workspace laden with earthen shapes and bright pops of colour is where the magic happens for award-winning sculptor Bob Steiner.
Steiner has worked with clay almost all his life and has been creating pieces of fine ceramic art for more than 30 years.
For him, a natural talent for pottery at a young age has opened up a career path that includes supplying designer tableware to some of the most sought-after restaurants around Auckland.
Since his dad got him his first throwing wheel at the age of 15, Steiner knew he would be sculpting as at least part of his career.
He describes it quite simply as "making things is what I do."
Today, ceramic sculptural pieces and designer tableware overflow the high floor to ceiling shelves at his showroom and studio.
The earthen clay colours of his pottery and the brightly coloured glazes and hand painted wall art come together to create a calm and inviting atmosphere.
His work is greatly influenced by the natural flora and fauna around him with colourful fantails, leaves, flowers and starfish making up his wall art collection.
Inspiration for Steiner's pieces often come from his wanderings in the bush but this showroom and studio is where the creations come to life.
"It comes in waves... you get burnt out and you get tired and you think I'll never do this again. And then you get inspired. I just keep reinventing myself," he says.
It's a skill that has come easily for him, and luckily for his business, it also sells well - he has a lot of repeat clientele visiting his showroom.
His wall art has also been on display at the Mercy Hospice in central Auckland since 2009, when he was asked to develop a series of wall art squares.
The artwork consists of interwoven tiles, which represent the contribution of the many individuals it takes to support the hospice.
It now measures 16 metres and forms a lasting tribute to those who have lost loved ones at the hospice.
The hospice display has given Steiner a wider audience for his work while at the same time allowing him to help raise funds for an important cause.
Over the years, his work has also sold under the names of Steiner Studios Limited, Steiner Ceramics, Bob Steiner Ceramics, and Blue Ponga.
Steiner says he sometimes follows fashion trends and sometimes feels inspiration at another level. "I can't stop. I'll just keep making sculptures."