I started creating pottery when I was 7. You may be think that seems a bit young, but I come from a family of potters. While neither of my parents has made pottery for a living they were both very passionate about it, partly because both their parents made and sold pottery. I therefore grew up with a shed full of pottery equipment in easy reach. This combined with a highly embarrassing love of the film Ghost made me want to try it from an early age.
I remember sitting for hours in the back garden shed as my grandpa talked me through the dos and don’ts of pottery-making. After some paint-staking hours and silly mistakes I discovered that I had a natural flair for it. I first started selling pottery for fun as a teenager in a yard sale to make some extra pocket money and found it always went well. When my grandpa passed shortly after my high school graduation I decided to skip college and move into his studio instead and have been creating and selling pottery every since.
I find pottery-making extremely therapeutic and a wonderful way to express all my creative energy. Because I have been doing this professionally for so long now though (coming up to my 15-year anniversary!) I have at times suffered from creative block. One way in which I overcame this for the first time about 8 years ago was by taking a trip to Bangalore, India.
Pottery has been a strong tradition in India for centuries and Indian pottery techniques are well regarded within the pottery community. I spent an eye-opening three weeks in India meeting with various potters, watching them work and learning invaluable tips, techniques and general life lessons. My favourite technique that I picked up there and has since featured heavily in my work is Aari embroidery. Aari embroidery is a type of stitch work used typically in the decoration of blankets and apparel - so not a typically pottery technique. However the striking thing about Aari embroidery is the motifs that run throughout it and it is this that can be applied through pottery, using ink instead of thread.
This experience made me realise that inspiration can literally be found anywhere. Cheesy yes but a well tried and tested truth. Don’t let conventions hold you back; it is through searching for different ways of doing things that you can find your own unique angle.