About Nice Assets

Nice Assets is the work of Nicole Gaston, a Newtown-based craftswoman who creates fun colourful ceramics.

Follow me on @nice.assets for regular updates.

Get in touch if you’d like to visit me at my workshop, 305a Mansfield St, Building M, Newtown, in Te-Whanganui-a-Tara.

Please note studio visits are by appointment only.

Background and kaupapa

Originally from Chicago, I began working with clay while studying towards my PhD in Information Studies in Wellington, New Zealand. I like to think of my pottery as an extension of my professional and academic work in libraries and education. Pottery is another tool I can use to explore and communicate my thoughts on equity, power, and society, always with the aim of working towards a more sustainable, equitable world.

I identify as someone of Ashkenazi Jewish and mixed European ancestry, raised in America’s Midwest. But don’t forget ethnicity is a construct! I have lived and worked in West Africa, the Caribbean, Southeast Asia, Europe, Canada, the USA, and for the last 12 years in New Zealand Aotearoa. I prefer to self-identify as tauiwi rather than pākehā. My pronouns are she/her. I acknowledge my privilege as a cis-white woman and actively work to amplify the voices of those with less societal privilege than me.

My experiences living and working in diverse communities and with people from many different cultural backgrounds have informed every aspect of my life.

Ceramics gives me the opportunity to explore difficult issues in a way that can be both playful and humorous. Often the work of decolonisation can be confronting and challenging. This is especially true for those who have long held dominant or privileged roles in society.

I feel so lucky to be able to work with the medium of clay and other natural materials to engage people in conversations around objects of daily use.

Creative expression is also extremely important for my mental wellbeing. Making the kind of work that explores these kinds of issues (and the fact that people like it, and buy it!) is a privilege and an honour that I never expected. It brings me so much joy to be able to do this little project.

Exhibitions and awards

Tea set with political message 'ask me about why white privilege', 'ask me about my capital gains from stolen land', etc.
‘Decolonise my breakfast’, white stoneware, Ceramicus 2019. Photo by Chris Parkin.

In 2018 I won the Waikato Ceramics award for Best First-time Exhibitor at the annual Ceramicus exhibition.

I also exhibited work in the 2019 Ceramicus exhibition (photograph above) and the KINK 2021 group show.

woman standing in pottery studio
photograph by Andrew Ross

et cetera

In addition to pots I make lots of other stuff, at my home workshop in Newtown, Wellington, Aotearoa.

I also work full time as a librarian and help run the Ceramics Association of New Zealand, the Mechanical Tempest Community Bike Workshop, and the Pyramid Club/Sound and Light Exploration Society.