Time With
Richard Beauchamp

Richard Beauchamp


Time With
Richard Beauchamp

Richard Beauchamp

Tell us a little about your journey within the coffee scene here in New Zealand?

I got my first cafe job when I left high school. It was mostly clearing tables and running orders, but looking back I was really fortunate to get some decent training from the company that supplied the coffee. A couple years later, I landed a job at Coffee Supreme. I started off managing a little espresso bar at the front of the roastery before moving into a full time training role. Knowing how big a difference adequate training can make, I’ve found it to be incredibly rewarding work.

Favourite morning coffee spot?

Customs. Every day of the week. This said, there are so many good cafes here in Wellington and getting around to see them all is easily the best part about my job at Supreme.

Richard wears Four Pocket Chore Coat in Natural, Patch Pocket Shirt in Cream and Five Pocket Selvedge Jean.

What makes the perfect cup?

The perfect cup of coffee? If you want to get specific, a recipe, a set of scales and a timer are all good things to start with. From there, an understanding of each of the brewing variables will allow you optimise the extraction for any given coffee, whichever way you’re brewing it.

As far as ceramics go, I’m a big fan of functionality. A stable base and a comfortable lip and handle are all things to look for. This said, one of my favourite mugs doesn't have any of these things. It's challenging in that it kinda breaks all the rules, which is why I really like it.

Tell us a little about your design process?

I still feel relatively new to this craft and at this stage I’m driven by the desire to learn correct techniques and better understand the materials I’m working with. I’ve already mentioned the scientific method, but really, I’m a big fan. Ask a question, propose an answer, do a test, repeat it three times, write down your results.

The thing about pottery is that there are so many steps to the process. Each step is another set of potential variables, from throwing, trimming, glazing to firing. When it comes to developing an idea, I’ll generally try to test one thing at a time. Each iteration of a new design presents another problem to solve, idea to develop or quality to appreciate and try and replicate.

Milk or no milk?

No milk, though I do occasionally enjoy a flat white. I’ve been really impressed with some of the oat milk I’ve been tasting recently too, which is by far the best dairy alternative IMO.

Richard wears our Two Pocket Chore Shirt in Beige while spinning the wheel inside the studio.

How has your background informed your ceramic practice?

Working in coffee has certainly given me a healthy appreciation for a well made, functional vessel. More than that, I’ve come to learn that everything is relational. Four years making coffee for the same people every day can teach you that. There are also a bunch of transferable skills between the two crafts. Both utilise scientific methodology in order to manage a range of variables and produce a consistent product. A quick intro on how to do costings and set up a spreadsheet with formulas has been an added bonus.

Any daily rituals?

I recently discovered the wonders of a good skincare routine. Cleanse, tone, moisturise.

There has been a resurgence of young potters in New Zealand, how has it been navigating the industry?

I’ve been a little taken back by the generosity and support I’ve experienced so far, not just from other potters, but from the creative community as a whole. There seems to be a shared understanding that for anyone looking to take up a craft there’s a pretty consuming level of work involved and that every little bit of support really makes a difference.

Richard wears Four Pocket Chore Coat in Natural, Patch Pocket Shirt in Cream and Five Pocket Selvedge Jean.

Does this notion of hand crafted and locally made translate into other areas of your life?

Yeah absolutely. Aside from a growing collection of ceramics from other potters, I have a couple of artworks and objects from makers and artists who really inspire me. There’s so much value in the way that crafted objects connect you to their makers, or to an idea, or a time or place. I love food and wine for all those same reasons.

Best food + coffee pairing?

Cold cut sandwich, hot filter coffee. Side of crisps.

What's next for you on this journey?

Good question!

There’s actually some pretty exciting things in the works. It’s a little unexpected, but I’ve taken an opportunity to set up a studio of my own down in Ōtautahi/Christchurch. I’ve got a wheel, a kiln and there’s a big open shed with three phase power. I’m really looking forward to getting busy once things are set up so if you like what you’ve seen so far, watch this space.

Richard wears Four Pocket Chore Coat in Natural, Patch Pocket Shirt in Cream and Five Pocket Selvedge Jean.