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This month we speak to our Pottery guru, Lola Swain. 

Firstly, tell us about yourself

I am a qualified teacher and a self-taught exhibiting potter. I have a purpose built studio in my garden and now spend most of my time creating ceramics.

What do you like most about Pottery?

I love the tactile element of clay and its wide range of possibilities. It is a process of sense and when in my hands the need to touch it, explore it, shape it is instinctual. It is very responsive to actions and can stimulate imagination and develop creativity.

Outcomes can be practical or pieces of art can be created to admire and at times it can be both. One can also work expressively with this medium or in a more controlled way. 

What is your favourite thing to make and why?

I particularly enjoy making coil pots. They are hand built from earthenware clay using traditional coil methods.  The coil layers are built up from a slab base, a versatile method allowing a natural form to slowly evolve, in keeping with the intimacy of the process.  These are decorated with layers of coloured slip and burnished

Why do you decide to hand-build your work instead of throwing?

Hand-building allows my work to slowly evolve. There are few limitations and the scope for exploration is vast. It is satisfying, calming and therapeutic and when I’m in my studio times stands still allowing me to relish in this indulgence.

Can beginners or individuals who believe they lack a creative flair enjoy pottery?

I often explain to people that you can produce a very pleasing piece of pottery that would sit proudly in your home without much experience. You just need to be guided by a professional that can encourage a creative way forward when and if needed. 

What advice would you give someone who is just beginning and wants to learn pottery?

Attending a pottery workshop at Create98 is a great way to feed your interest in ceramics. You will learn basic techniques eg coiling, pinching and slabbing and explore various surface decoration/textures to create wonderful pieces to adorn your home or present as gifts. It is very relaxing practice and allows us to take a break from our busy daily lives and plunge into a creative process and learn something new.

Lola runs a variety of daytime and evening classes throughout the years for all ages, as well as private events and children’s parties.