Raewyn Atkinson was born in Napier, New Zealand in 1955. Her involvement with clay spans over 25 years, during which time she has exhibited widely both nationally and internationally, and received numerous Creative New Zealand grants and awards including the Norsewear Art Award in 2003 and the Portage Ceramic Award in both 2003 and 2015. in 2015 she was also awarded the Juror's Prize at the Gyeonggi International Ceramics Biennale in South Korea.
Fascinated since primary school by studies of Antarctica and the exploits of Captain Robert Falcon Scott, Raewyn first visited Antarctica in 2000 as an 'Artist to Antarctica Fellow', and made the trip again in 2003. Those visits – combined with a three month Japanese residency in 1998 that sparked an interest in translucent porcelain – have resulted in several major exhibitions, TERRA NOVA and DESIGNS ON ANTARCTICA. The exhibitions were inspired by the relics left by past human endeavours in Antarctica, along with the present focus related to global warming and tourism.
The facilities at the School of Art Practice at U.C. Berkeley during a three year 'residency' in California provided an opportunity to experiment with porcelain and glaze on a monumental scale. The local environment also provided material and inspiration for working with found ceramic, culminating in the exhibition, Wasters at Bowen Galleries in 2013.
"Raewyn creates a tremendous tension between the sense of robustness and rough surfaces, versus a sense of beauty and fragility." – Sarah Farrar, Wellington City Art Gallery, 2006