My earliest memory of playing with clay was in my second year at high school. Having joined the pottery club I can remember the joy of hand-building a pottery house, which, to this day, still sits in my garden over 30 years later.
For many years afterwards I would admire the craftmanship of pottery and wished I could make such beautiful pieces for myself. So, three years ago, I took the plunge and joined a pottery class and, guided by my very experienced and patient teacher, I started to learn pottery skills. Each week my teacher would set me new challenges and his mantra 'every piece of pottery made is an opportunity' stuck in my head. As I learnt from my mistakes I honed my skills into the potter that I am today.
Not being satisfied with my weekly class I decided to set up my own pottery studio at home. Our log cabin in the garden became my creative space and with potter's wheel and kiln installed my weekends are now filled with making, throwing, glazing and creating.
As a mother of two sons and working full-time, my pottery hobby gives me the headspace that I need to be creative in this upside down world we are living in now. My husband often says that a few hours of 'potting' shows in my face as I am calmer and more centred after a busy working week. I suppose it gives me an opportunity to be kind to myself and embrace something that brings me joy to make and to others who buy the pottery I create.
If you have ever visited a pottery suppliers you will know about the vast array of clays and glazes on offer. It can be daunting to know which ones to choose!
Having tried and tested many I like to use a white stoneware clay with 'grog' thrown it!! Grogged clays have the added element of sand or silicia - this gives them more stability when using them and less likely to collapse on the potter's wheel. Once this clay has been fired you can feel a slight texture to the pottery, which can be sanded down, but the beauty of this added element often gives additional texture and interest to a piece when glazed.
I love to use the delicate and translucent celadon glazes for my pieces, adding texture and depth with patterns, stamps and mixing different complimentary colours to the stoneware. I also use the Potter's Choice glazes which achieve a more vibrant and often drippy, iridescent effect which means that each piece is truly unique. The joy of opening the kiln after each glaze firing really is something to experience as you never really know what delight you are going to see or what unexpected glaze effect you are going to achieve.
Handmade pottery is very different to pottery that is commercially made.
It is important to embrace the rustic elements of the piece, the not quite perfect symmetry, the sometimes uneven finish and to be able to do that is to truly love the artistic element of owning one unique piece that has been lovingly crafted.
It brings you closer to the creative process and the person that made it, in the studio that they created it and into your home to enjoy it.
The glazes are all food safe which allows the pottery to be used for many different purposes and you will see from the product descriptions, that your pottery piece is only limited in its use by imagination.