It’s been months in the planning from when we first sat at Scott’s café and talked over the idea of creating an event with you to celebrate the beauty of “handmade”. Now only days away from our Deciduus presents – “A sweet surprise” event, what were the biggest challenges? We have always enjoyed making the plates as each stage of the making and decorating presents different challenges. In this instance, we discovered that fancy cut edges added huge stresses to the clay leading to many cracks that rendered the plates unusable, often after hours of decorating. In the end we made 42 plates to get the final group of 25. How many steps are there from start to finish in creating these plates before we can hold them in our hands to enjoy as a finished product? The plates are made by rolling out a sheet of white clay,  cutting out the plate shapes and pressing them between our chosen mold templates. They are then recompressed, especially the edges, in order to prevent cracking. A day later they are removed from the moulds, the edges trimmed and recompressed. From this point onward decoration can happen.  We use coloured clay slips and techniques like sponging, stamping, sgrafitto (scratching through the slip), slip trailing, embossing, sprigging, Mishima (a type of inlay) printing and painting. Often a plate will have a combination of these. After the decorations are complete, the plates undergo an initial bisque firing, then are sanded and glazed ready for their second firing. In some cases the plates received a post-firing treatment of enamel highlights. The whole process generally takes 2-3 weeks and a lot of handling of the clay in its most fragile state. You and Helen are both highly regarded sculptural ceramic artists with your works held in private as well as public collections. Could you tell me a little about how Small Stories Ceramics started? Small Stories evolved over a few years. We met at Auckland Studio Potters in 2009 while studying the Diploma of Ceramic Arts (Otago School of Arts). We were involved in several group shows and discovered that we shared many interests including animals, travel, reading, story telling and drawing. “Small Stories” was our first plate event in 2011 and since then we’ve exhibited as the collaborative art duo Small Stories. We present one or two shows a year.  Small Stories Ceramics artists: Susan St Lawrence Ceramics and Helen Perrett ceramic artist Deciduus – fine art and plant boutique (17 Main Rd Tirau) Deciduus – Create Grow Collaborate – www.deciduus.co.nz “Sweet Surprise” event – 30 June Deciduus presents – “A sweet surprise” email deciduus.nz@gmail.com for ticket enquiries.