|Me at my wheel - looking suitably uncomfortable and nervous - as I throw the very first few beakers at the pottery|
|My first board slowly filling up|
|Five full boards, each with 18 pots and starting on a sixth.|
|I felt a real sense of pride putting my first |
Winchcombe stamps on pots that I had made.
|My beakers on the shelves in the kiln room, along with work|
by the other potters, glazed and waiting for a firing.
|Decorating a beaker by combing through iron slip|
|Combed decoration through blue slip|
It was a huge thrill when my first pots came out of the wood kiln, especially after being involved in the firing. I kept two of the decorated beakers and as I progress in my career it will be a pleasure to keep them as markers to look back to as some of my earliest work. I have now had my pots in a few firings and have seen them in the shop, personally sold them to customers and had them included in orders. Excitingly, now some of my work is going to be included in Winchcombe's contribution to an exhibition in Tokyo, at Gallery St. Ives, as part of a group show of English slipware. I cannot imagine a time when I will feel complacent about making things with my hands that mean something to someone else.
|The pots stacked on the shelves after unpacking the kiln - the first time my pots were included in a firing|
|The two beakers I kept from that first firing.|
|Slipware beakers, with two styles of combing, being sent as part of the exhibition.|
In amongst all my other responsibilities (mixing and preparing the clay, biscuit firings, glazing, preparing and packing the kiln, cutting and stacking wood, firing the wood kiln, and countless general workshop jobs) I now also throw the plates here at Winchcombe as well as some other pots in the range. The truth of course is that throwing is only one aspect of working as a potter, and within that it is only a portion of what it takes to make an individual pot, but I see throwing in terms of learning a language, a skill that allows you to express yourself - rather than an end in itself it is the means by which you say things, and greater fluency leads to more beautiful work. I have a long, long way to go but I have a real hunger to become a highly accomplished production thrower, knowing full well it will take decades of hard work. I will be forever grateful to Matt for throwing me in the deep end like that. He somehow seemed to know that I would be able to swim even though I did not know it myself.