I have been asked many times “how did you get into pottery?” I could answer that I have always loved creative stuff and I was exploring new possibilities. However the real reason I developed a clay addiction is all down to Kirsty Allsop, the television presenter. In late 2009 I was watching her in a programme where she helped people with their interior design issues. The couple featured on the show had an eclectic selection of furniture and accessories they had both brought to the home when they got married. Kirsty was bringing it all together with a theme and a sense of harmony and with a view to the couple making something special for their new look home she took them to a visit a Potter where they made large coil pots.
I was mesmerised and even whilst watching the show I was googling Pottery Classes in Birmingham. I was surprised to find how few there were but relieved to read that there was a wide range at The Midlands Arts Centre (MAC) in Edgbaston. I booked on line and could not wait for the new term to start in January.
At the beginning of January 2010 I started in a beginners’ class at MAC with an excellent tutor Sue Lilleman. The style of the class suited me really well as each week we were taught a new technique but we were left to take that where ever we wanted to. From the moment I touched the clay I was hooked. I went on to take a slip casting/mould making class with the great ceramicist Sue Dyer which really was a privilege
The Midlands Art Centre has to be one of the most amazing facilities in the country for artists and lovers of the arts. There are classes that cover every aspect of art, music and drama, there are theatres, a cinema, café, bar and so much more. For me the most remarkable opportunity at MAC has been the acceptance of my application to obtain an ‘Artist Pass’. This enables artists/potters to use the studios when there are no classes which can equate to around 25 hours per week, the cost for this is reasonable too.
I feel fortunate to have the best of both worlds, I can work in my studio in my garden and use my small electric kiln or I can travel just over 4 miles to MAC and make my larger pieces and use the large kilns. I also go to MAC for the great company and camaraderie of the other potters who ‘get it’ when things go wrong (which they frequently do!). I have known for a very long time that I have to say a certain number of words in a day and if I work at home all day every day and am not able to chat to people I run the risk of imploding.
So – in a nutshell that’s how I became a ceramic artist/potter; it is because of Kirsty Allsop and the Midlands Art Centre here in Birmingham.