For the past three months I spent most Saturday mornings challenging myself to learn how to make pottery at an open-access studio, Turning Earth Ceramics, in hip East London Hoxton. The studio in located in two large arch ways and has plenty of space to make, dry and bake your ceramic creations. They do eight and twelve week courses where you learn three common ceramic techniques; pinching, slab building and throwing on the wheel.
I’m not a fan of pinching and I have learnt slab building before so I was keen to learn about the wheel. I had to wait a few weeks and be patient as first you have to learn some health and safety, how the studio runs, clay differences and kiln theory. In week three I was able to try my hand on making a pot on the wheel. It was not an easy skill to pick up and I lost quite a few to pot heaven or they have interesting kinks in their bodies. Some weeks I took a break and worked on plates and bowls using moulds as this is a much quicker process for me and resulted in some beautiful pieces. Each time I went back to the wheel I was able to make something a little better then before. Once everything was fired we were able to glaze our pieces and I found this process just as fun and therapeutic as making pots. My favourite tool here was liquid wax that you can paint on a piece and this prevents the glaze going there and burns off later in the kiln. For me it made the glaze process much quicker and I also was able to get clean lines with the wax.
Our teacher Sarah, was one of the loveliest people I have met in London and very encouraging to get new people into the potting world. She is a master potter, from an artistic family (her mum pots too!) with a wealth of experience and was such fun to talk too and get advice. I’d compare the process of making pottery and your mindset to yoga. It requires you to focus and be in the moment. No thinking of something in the past or wondering about the future otherwise any time my mind wandered the pot would suffer! I’ve loved the process so much that I have been put on the waitlist to become part of the main studio and I already have orders from friends to make pieces!
Turning Earth Ceramics are about to open a new studio in October and this means that they will be able to offer a whole range of new classes. If you are interested stalk them on their website! There are also quarterly ceramics sales at the studio if you want to pick up some pieces to fill you home. If you visit them at the Hoxton location, nearby next to the overground station, is the most delicious Swedish bakery called Fabrique that sell so many temptations and I implore you to go and try the vanilla bun. It is heaven, full of sugar and butter, if you were to die shortly after you would be happy in the knowledge this was the last thing you ate!