Being a potter is not a path to fame and ritchies but does reward you in many ways. The satisfaction I derive from the myriad of tasks in working with ceramics is vast. My typical day starts with a walk along a beach in East Lothian with Lizi, my wee black Labrador. Whatever the weather or season this is a superior start to my day compared to driving through rush hour. And the views are better. Lizi checks her ‘p-mails’ and investigates the seaweed, chasing the odd seagull. I keep an eye out for blue glass, often while listening to blue grass! Fresh coffee and radio 4 then kick off the working day in the studio.
My work is mainly influenced and inspired by my local environment, my fascination with boats, the sea and motorcycles. When the sun shines, I head for the hills on my ‘mostly’ trusty old Honda 400 four. This is quite a contrast from my childhood in East Kilbride and student years at Glasgow school of art. The tranquility and beauty of the Lammermuir hills are a wonderful distraction.
A typical working day……
Walk Lizi – throw ball – make coffee – throw ball – throw – lunch – throw ball – make pots – listen to the archers – coffee – a bit more work – walk Lizi.
Being a potter, you naturally meet lots of other potters. Most are willing to share ideas, information and technical details. I had the good fortune to meet David Cohen when I was a student. Later I shared a studio for 14 years. More than a work-mate we became firm friends and his expertise, master craftmanship and wisdom I miss. Dave died in 2018 and his loss is felt daily, especially when making clay and firing raku.
The multiple tasks of ceramics stop boredom from setting in. I throw, model, slab build and pinch clay to make my work, all pieces are individual as moulds and I, are not compatible! The malleable quality of clay, its ability to imitate various textures and the possibilities of the surface have beguiled me for 40 years; here's to the next 40!