Learning a new craft

Amanda holding out a clay pot that she has just removed from the wheel

I am definitely a lifelong learner, so learning a new craft has a huge appeal for me. I was therefore delighted to receive a pottery session voucher as a birthday present back in February. At that point, no sessions were possible due to lockdown restrictions, but just recently the classes began again. Hooray! My lesson took place at Clayspace in Margate (details below).

The front of Clayspace, a pottery studio, in Margate, Kent

Pottery (or ceramics) is not absolutely new to me. It’s subject I really enjoyed at school but was strongly advised not to take at the age of fourteen. (It was considered to be a ‘non-academic’ subject.) So as a rather conformist teenager, I ended up with these subjects: English Language, English Literature, Maths, Biology-with-Chemistry, French, German, History and (Ancient) Greek. Later, at university I studied an academic course in French and Spanish (as a new language). It took me many years to return learning creative subjects as I had so wanted to do at fourteen. Finally, in my thirties, I went to art college to study textiles. It was quite a journey. Along the way, I also picked up separate qualifications in Embroidery and also in Patchwork and Quilting. (As I said, I’m a life-long learner!)

So how nice to learn to throw a pot. My tutor showed me how to take a lump of clay (as seen on the far right of the photo) centre it on the wheel and then gradually form it into the shape of a vessel.

learning to centre a lump of clay on a potter's wheel

It’s a very physical activity, demanding lots of concentration and very steady hands!

learning a new craft - centering the clay on a potter's wheel

My time-slot allowed me to make four pots. This is one of them.

Amanda holding out a clay pot that she has just removed from the wheel

It is very helpful for someone who teaches (as I do) to be a beginner again. I loved every minute of the one-to-one tuition. There was so much to learn! The tutor was calm, patient, enthusiastic and helpful. She demonstrated techniques clearly. She also had to remind me of certain points more than once!

One of the enjoyable parts of my job is to teach absolute beginners how to make quilts on my own one-to-one course ‘Quilt in a Day’. This is also ‘learning a new craft’. I ask each person who comes what their favourite colours are and prepare a carefully curated selection of fabrics for them to use on the day, for example, pinks and greens – as seen in the photo below. (See the Classes page here for details of how to book).

a person learning a new craft,  stitching a patchwork block in pink-coloured fabrics on the 'Quilt in a Day' course

Each class lasts from 9.30 am to 4.30 pm, so it’s a very full day, but it is a joy to see someone go home with their own completed sample quilt, with the skills to make another in the future.

A bit like me and my pot!

You can find Clayspace at 61, Northdown Road, Margate Kent CT92RJ or online at: http://www.clayspace.org.uk

Amanda Jane Textiles offers unique fabrics for sale here, quilt patterns here and classes here

Published by Amanda Jane Textiles

I am an artist, designer and maker living in Ramsgate, UK

4 thoughts on “Learning a new craft

  1. Nice! Well done. I’ve never tried that, but you’ve made a lovely job of it.
    I love to learn too. I study the Bible, Chinese, German and science most days, and I’m doing the Embroiderers Guild courses a bit at a time. Royal School of Needlework classes begin in less than 3 weeks too! 🙂

      1. I’ll be starting their Certificate in Technical Hand Embroidery soon. The first module is Jacobean Crewelwork.
        I’ve also signed up for drawing and design sessions. Much needed!! 🙂

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