Laura Crosland - a journey in Clay!

My name is Laura Crosland, I studied ceramics for 5 years at Wolverhampton University. After completing my BA and MA I wanted to get some hands-on experience with already established potters, to teach me the things you can't learn at Uni. My work is all wheel thrown and altered in various ways, including the attachment of lizard handles!

I started by working 2 days a week for Peter Beard, as his work is a huge inspiration to me.
This was a great opportunity for me to see how one person can successfully organise, make, sell and exhibit work. He sells work in galleries all over the world, does many shows in different countries and makes commissioned pieces.

My duties included mixing glazes, glazing test tiles. hoovering the studio, rolling out test tiles, crumbling dry glazes and much more. All the time during these jobs we were talking and Peter gave me so much valuable advice about how to become successful!

This work was separate to Adopt a Potter, so I am very grateful to Peter for being supportive and encouraging my learning. It was quite difficult to travel to Leamington Spa from Wolverhampton by train, with my fold up bike! Then cycle to his house in the countryside, but it was definitely worth it for the experience I gained from my time there. I would recommend getting experience to any new potter, it may be hard, but it is worth it in the end! And don't be afraid to contact someone well known, they are usually very nice and willing to help if you are obviously serious about it.

What's Next?
 Having worked with a potter working in his own studio, selling through galleries and shows, I decided I should try and gain experience in different environments, to help me decide what type of studio I want to work in. My next destination is Dartmoor, Devon, to work with Penny Simpson. She runs her own studio which also has a gallery/shop attached, selling her own work to the general public.

Her work is very different to Peter's, so duties and techniques will differ. Penny also sells work at shows and teaches in various places including Japan. I visited for the day to meet Penny and whilst there I met her current apprentice. It was good to see the studio and spend a day working there, before I move there for 3 months. I will be there from March to June and during this time we will take part in a show in Bovey Tracey.
This work is also before I even begin my Adopt a Potter Apprenticeship! So by the end of it all, I will be ready to begin on my own!

And Finally! 
 The final leg of my journey takes me to St Ives, to do a year's apprenticeship at Leach Pottery.
This will again be completely different to both Penny and Peter, so will provide new experiences and knowledge. It will be such a great place to live and work.
Many famous potters have begun their career as apprentices at Leach Pottery, including Micheal Cardew and William Marshall. I am sure I will learn an immense amount of information during my time there and I will meet lots of interesting people. I will be living in the cottage next to the pottery, so will be involved in any events, firings, visits etc. I am excited to begin my experience, as long as the weather will allow me to travel!

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