Pottery For The Planet is the creative love-child of Renton Bishopric and Clare Botfield. These two artists and passionate activists were drawn together through environmental campaigning back in 2006, and have continued to campaign (and do life) together ever since.
Clare’s strong connection with the Earth began as a kid, when she would help her parents in their Australian Native Plant Nursery. In her early twenties, Clare joined the direct action groups in Tasmania who were trying to protect the old growth forests. After that, her commitment to protect our planet and be the voice for change was solidified. A visual artist and designer, Clare trained as an art teacher before establishing her intentional crystal jewellery business, and joining forces with Renton.
Renton is a second-generation potter, learning the trade at an early age from his Kiwi dad, Steve Bishopric. Steve arrived in Queensland from New Zealand in 1977 and built his first wood fired kiln within a few weeks. He introduced Renton’s mum to pottery and together they opened family pottery business, Nob Creek Pottery.
Nob Creek Pottery grew quickly to become an iconic Australian Pottery, with many visiting international potters passing through to teach and create. Renton has fond memories of staying up at night with visiting artists to fire the huge Japanese Anagama kiln.
Renton’s business-mind kicked in early. As a kid, he would make small sculptures and animals to sell to the tourists who visited the family pottery.
After travelling overseas, Renton returned home with fresh eyes for the world of ceramics and began a traineeship in the family studio.
Clare’s talents as a visual artist and designer merged seamlessly with Renton’s ceramics design and pottery skills to birth the concept of Pottery For The Planet.
2009: Renton and Clare established their first pottery studio in Central Queensland.
2012: Clare created the Cinnabar Soul brand to start selling the healing crystal jewellery she had been making for years.
2012: Renton joined the Queensland Flying Arts Alliance and started attending business development workshops. These workshops were an important turning point for Renton, as they gave him the inspiration to turn his artistic practice into a business.
2013: Renton’s ceramic work, “Coal for Breakfast?” won the major prize in the Queensland Regional Art Awards - The Wayne Kratzmann Award. Recognising the opportunity to make a significant impact with their work, Clare and Renton used the prize money to invest in creating Pottery For The Planet.
2015: The couple relocated to the Sunshine Coast to take their products to a larger population. They setup Clare’s handmade crystal jewellery and crystal shop, Cinnabar Soul, in the vibrant hinterland town of Eumundi.
In the same year, the first Pottery For The Planet studio was established in old horse stables out the back of Mt Coolum. The first official team member, Stephen Roberts, came on board to support Renton in the studio.
2016: The first Planet Cups were created for Woodford Folk Festival. The Planet Cup was a big hit, and after the excitement of Woodford, Renton and Stevie produced a second run of cups. The timing was perfect, as the ABC’s War on Waste Series was about to go to air. This series created a monumental shift in Australia’s attitude to single-use products, and demand for our Planet Cups grew rapidly.
Finally, Clare and Renton had found the way they were going to impact sustainability through business in a bigger way.
“Throughout my life I have been fortunate to have art as a medium to communicate my views on the bigger environmental, social and political issues we face on the planet. In recent years we have taken this one step further in creating products that are beautiful, functional and most of all, great for the planet” - Renton Bishopric
In only a few short years, the Pottery For The Planet studio has:
- become Queensland’s largest employer in the pottery industry (with 14 team members on the Sunshine Coast)
- grown distribution to over 300 Australian stockists
- expanded to Western Australia with good friend, Matt, serving the WA market from his studio
- continued and further developed a longstanding family relationship with a family-run pottery in Vietnam
- started exporting to New Zealand to serve yet another group of conscious cafes, cellar doors and boutiques
Now, through Pottery For The Planet, Clare and Renton are involved in many environmental campaigns, such as stopping new coal ports on the Central Queensland Coast, the #StopAdani campaign, and an ongoing partnership with the Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS).
The Pottery For The Planet family are dedicated to contributing solutions to the war on waste, and continuing to serve the Planet in ever-evolving, empowering ways.