Biography

Where do potters come from…

Some are clear that it's what they've always wanted to do. Many others arrive via other careers. This latter is the category I fall into. I've had a number of jobs over the years; from supermarket management (long ago, and far behind me!) to graphic design and later, craft teaching. All of these came and went before I found what I really wanted to do and gathered the courage to follow that impulse. However, all the experiences I've had along the way have contributed (and continue to do so) to the person and the potter that I am now…

The birth of a potter

It was towards the end of my time as a designer that I decided to take a part-time pottery course at my local college in Worcester, really as an antidote to the frustrations of my day job! However, as soon as I started, I realised that this wasn't just a distraction, it was a whole different way of life, a different outlook altogether. I tend to believe that it was the dissatisfactions of my working life up to that point, as well as this 'revelation', that led me to become ill with ME (or CFS as it's now known). This changed my plans – in fact it meant that any plans I might have had were finished, as I was unable to work at all, and I emerged 5 years later as a slightly different person. This 'rest period' allowed me to see that a totally different approach to my life was called for, and it was clear to me in consequence that I wanted to persue a career as a potter.

True path or detour?…

However, life not being a linear or logical affair (for me at least!), I began my return to work by training to become a teacher! Not a field in which I had any experience, but it was an opportunity which seemed too good to miss – too full of new possibilities. After an 'in service' training the opportunity came up for me to take on teaching craft and I jumped at it. I spent the next 3 years teaching forge metalwork, silversmithing, copperbeating, woodcarving & joinery, amongst other things… and lots of pottery. It was a wonderful experience and great fun.

However, after a time I felt I'd reached a crossroads – was I going to continue to teach – to dedicate the rest of my life to this new profession, or was I going to 'go for it' and try to make my way as a professional maker – an urge that had never left me since doing that first course in Worcester? I realised that I wanted to do so much in the ceramics world; more than I had been able to up to that point, so I decided to take the plunge and devote myself to it full-time.

I miss teaching very much – being surrounded by the energy and possiblity that children and young adults have so much of. But I've carried this excitement with me and now I plough it back into my work and the ceramics that I teach…

Ceramics has taken me over! There is so much that I want to do, so much fulfilment from expressing ideas that continually evolve, techniques and processes which reveal more possibilities the deeper I come to understand them.

Back to the studio…

 

 

ABC potters mark 'sprigged' onto each vessel