Adele Robinson grew up in Beach Haven, Auckland and at school, art was always her top subject. Even as a young child, Robinson was making and selling her creations. “Back then it was plants that I had grown or clothing I made to sell at markets or to friends,” she said. “I got into ceramics because mum was a part-time potter and she had a kick wheel in the garage, so I started playing with that when I was about 12.” Growing up, she would watch her mother bring home her pieces from the classes she did and would go with her mother to small pottery studio sales on the weekends.

Heavily inspired by nature from New Zealand’s beautiful land, Robinson is passionate about showcasing New Zealand’s unique viewpoint to the rest of the world. With no formal training, she added that the best way to learn is just to give it a go and see what happens. Robinson worked for Collis Studios many years ago which she said was an amazing experience. “Peter Collis is one of New Zealand’s master craftspeople with so much knowledge and skill, that was a truly inspiring time.”

Alongside her partner, the duo make every piece themselves and take great pride in the fact that everything is handmade from start to finish. Everything is hand decorated and each piece unique. “Having an idea in your head and then transforming that idea into reality is a slow but rewarding process.” Making sustainable and ethical pieces is also important to the brand. Borrowed Earth tells a story and wants to create pieces that people will treasure. “If we are going to make something, we want it to have a positive impact on the customer and our planet,” she said. “Conscious consumerism is what we are about. Every dollar you spend creates the world you want to live in.”

Borrowed Earth sprang to life in the 90s when Robinson left her office job. She started to create a few things to sell at markets and quickly became a regular at the Takapuna Market.

When it comes to online and bricks and mortar, Robinson said it is essential to have both; however when it comes to Borrowed Earth, nothing beats bricks and mortar. “When you can pick up a piece touch it and make that connection that only handmade has that’s magic, but in this day and age online has its merits too. Sometimes we are just too busy to go out and shop and who doesn't like to hit the buy now button in the comfort of your own home.” Social media has provided a great platform for the brand to showcase their work quickly. “Because all of our work is handmade and each piece is different, we can just take a quick photo and get it out there.”

Looking to the future, Robinson has lots of new ideas and designs for their next ceramic collection. “We want to build up our Maori inspired collection with kowhaiwahi design and whakatauki.” Robinson added that she would love to expand their recycled furniture and kowahiwahi soft furnishing range.

Currently stocked throughout New Zealand galleries, gift stores and apparel retailers, Borrowed Earth can also be found in Australia. “We are always looking for great stores where our work would fit into and expand our brand overseas.”

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