Handmade Pottery in Somerset, United Kingdom

About

I've always loved art and craft since I was little. As a child I was always drawing, painting or creating the latest thing I'd seen on blue peter with sticky back plastic!

 

But my love of pottery started in the art department of my secondary school back when I was around 11. I can remember now the first time I touched clay.

 

It was magical being able to mould this wonderful material into anything I wanted. 

I signed up to study art and ceramics at my local college when I was 19 oh my gosh I was so excited I was in my element! Learning the techniques of pottery came so naturally to me and I loved studying the wonderful studio potters like Bernard Leach, Lucie Rie and Hans Coper.

 

When my course finished I didn't know what to do, I didn't have any money to set up my own pottery and to be honest there wasn't much careers advice at my college.

 

So life went on... and my pottery dream became just that a dream that I couldn't see a way to make happen.

 

At a few points in my life I tried to make it happen but money and lack of resources got in the way but it was always something I would find myself day dreaming about, imagining how it would be, what kind of clay I would use....

 

In 2019 that voice in my head got louder and louder, I was running my business Sparks and Daughters with my daughter Verity that I had founded from my kitchen table in 2007. I was feeling exhausted and burnt out as I had put my heart and soul into it for 12 years.

 

I took some time out and that's when I decided it was now or never to set up my own pottery. I remember the feeling when I made the decision I felt euphoric, I was finally in a position to do it!

 

I booked myself into some classes at the renowned Leach pottery in St Ives founded by my hero the father of studio pottery Bernard Leach and in January 2020 I found myself on the most adorable little train heading to St Ives

I stayed in a little place called pottery cottage just around the corner and I was beside myself with excitement to get started. Those weeks that I spent at the Leach were absolute heaven spending all day reconnecting with my love of clay the skills that I'd learnt all those years ago came flooding back to me and it was as if I had been doing it all my life. 

 

It was the most amazing time of my life after all I was here studying pottery in Bernard Leach's studio if I could've told my 19 year old self that I would'nt have believed it!

 

I already had a log cabin in my garden that had been a previous home for my first business so I decided this would be my pottery studio.

 

I had decided on the name of my business 'The Thoughtful Potter' because I knew that everything I wanted for my business would be done with thoughtfulness and love.

 

My studio was fitted out with work benches all made from reclaimed wood that we had in our wood shed using old doors from previous out buildings and a wood burner to keep me cosy in winter.

 

Looking back I was so lucky to have managed to get all of this done when I did, because not long after the pandemic hit and we were all in lockdown.

I remember that day in March 2020 when my dream had come true, my studio was all set up with my equipment, my pottery wheel and kiln in place, my glaze materials neatly stacked on my shelves ready to throw my first pot and bam I froze!

 

Self-doubt had kicked in and I burst into tears. Imposters syndrome and all my self doubt and anxiety that had plagued me throughout my life came flooding in.

 

Negative thoughts filled my head like my science teacher's report saying 'Deborah is weak at science' after all making pottery involves a lot of science from mixing glaze ingredients to working out the dark art of firing the kiln.

 

For weeks I avoided my pottery studio busying myself with other things because I have to admit that after all the years of building up to this moment I was scared of failure...

 

Weeks later through instagram I heard of a potter that had set up 'throw for the NHS' where potters around the country would have a day of throwing and then sell to raise money for our wonderful NHS. 

This was it this was what I needed to get started!

 

So I announced on instagram that I would be getting involved and the community got behind me! I threw my pots and made my first glazes (I didn't know if they would even work).

That first kiln opening was pretty nerve wracking but they all came out well and they sold out within minutes. I couldn't believe it I was elated! It was incredible doing something for others had given me something back too. I now felt confident that I could do it.

 

I'm now a full time potter doing what I love every day and my vision of running my pottery is everything I imagined it would be.

 

I create pottery inspired by my love of nature. I'm able to work with the seasons, picking flowers from my garden and pressing them into the clay to create nature inspired pottery. I'm able to combine the things I love; clay, flowers and my love of water colour painting as each piece is hand painted too.

 

I like to add thoughtful words that have helped me with my mental health over the years and it means the world to me when I receive messages that they've connected with you too.

 

When you buy a thoughtful pot you can be assured that it has made with thoughtfulness and care from moulding the clay, to hand decorating to use eco friendly recyclable wrapping materials

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