Judi Brennan has been a successful clay artist for many years. She has won several pottery awards including a merit in the prestigious Fletcher Challenge Exhibitia and has her work all around the world.
In 1997 after many years as a potter, Judi became fascinated with the art of mosaics. She changed direction from producing hand built dinnerware to focusing completely on mosaics when she moved to Mapara Road in Acacia Bay Taupo to start the Clay Art Mosaic Studio, a unique learning environment for beginning mosaic enthusiasts. She created a mosaic garden around the studio, complete with an outside mosaic living room. This supplied wonderful inspiration for beginners wanting to do their own mosaic projects.
The pathway leading to the studio created huge interest from people wanting to make something similar in there own garden – Judi had embedded feature pieces that she had made out of clay eg cats, dogs, fish etc into the paving to form a fun pathway. This interest led to years of producing, with a staff of 5, the Clay Art Studio mosaic feature pieces that everyone has come to know and love.
Judi sold the Clay Art Studio Feature Piece business in September 2005 to make way for another new direction – to create L’Arte Mosaic Café and Gallery. She wanted to create something totally different where people could come and enjoy fantastic food / wine and the best coffee in a wonderfully unique garden settling.
It all came together ... Judi’s chef daughter Jo and partner Andrew own and run L’Arte’s busy cafe - the food, wine and excellent coffee together with quality service has surpassed Andrew, Jo and Judi’s dreams - In 2010, acknowledgement from the Lonely Planet publication when it named L’Arte in the top 10 places to visit when in New Zealand said it all.
Judi now creates wonderful new work from her busy workshop attached to L’Arte's very unique little gallery that is nestled in the mosaic garden.
The new Clay Art Studio is now in The Historic Village ,17th Avenue , Tauranga. The new owners Steve and Lynn still run workshops and have an extensive range of mosaic products for sale. Their website is still the same www.clayartstudio.co.nz