Get Crafty at Yat Pottery

How are your New Year’s Resolutions going?  It’s a mixed bg for me. “Less wine, more water” didn’t make it to the end of January. But “Less Meetings more Crafting” is going better. 

If, like me, you tend to live in your head, with thoughts spinning round non-stop at all hours of the day and night, doing something arty or crafty can be better than meditation. When your hands and eyes are focussed on form, and colour and texture there’s no mental space available to be worrying about anything else: you are fully “in the moment”. 

I’ve always wanted to have a go at throwing a pot. So, on a chilly day in early February I caught the 232 over to Ross and headed down the road to Yat Pottery to try my luck on the wheel, under the expert guidance of potter Adam Campbell. 

Adam and his wife Giillian own Yat Pottery based in a tall skinny building with a huge shop window, on the High Street right in the centre of Ross. 

Adam pots and Gillian paints. They both sell their work, but their real passion is sharing the experience of creating with others. 

One-to-one and group classes are available in Ross and through outreach sessions in the community. Adam runs regular pottery workshops at Sheppard House in Newent. 

I went for a one to one session which, for £45, gives you 90 minutes with Adam to create a bowl on the wheel. 

I was excited but nervous. I’m partially sighted, and worried that I wouldn;t be able to see what I was supposed to be doing. But Adam explained that potting is 90% touch anyway. And so it proved. 

Working on a wheel right in the shop window  – free entertainment for the good people of Ross – we got straight down to it. 

Centering the clay on the wheel is the key to any successful pot. If the clay isn’t centred you’ll get a wobble, and that way lies disaster – anyone else old enough to remember The Generation Game will know what I’m talking about!

With the wheel spinning at its fastest – 250  rpm  – Adam sits opposite you, across the wheel and guides your hands on the clay to show you how to get it perfectly centred. The technique of guiding rather than just explaining speeds up the learning massively and your hands quickly get the hang of things that would have taken hours to explain in words. 

With our clay successfully centred the speed of the wheel progressively slows as I learn to make the cavity in the centre my piece, lift the sides and finally and most nerve-wracking, lean them outwards to create the bowl shape. Amazingly my bowl never wobbles or collapses and by the end of the session I have a small but perfectly formed vessel. 

Could I sit down at a wheel and throw another successful pot, unaided?  No! But I do have a grasp of the basic technique and a sense that with practice, this is something I could learn to do, and enjoy loads. Thank you Adam!

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