Not everybody has had the luxury of knowing what they want to do since they were very young. It’s not that I haven’t been interested in other things, or that I didn’t toy with other ideas of what I would like to do with my life. It’s more that I’ve always known deep down in my gut exactly what I need to be doing – like a magnetic pull that you can’t control.
One of my earliest memories is visiting a pottery on holiday in Cornwall and watching the men transform a ball of clay on the wheel into a pot. At the age of 5 it seemed like the most magical thing ever. I was completely transfixed by the fluidity and plasticity of the material. The overriding feeling in that memory is of being held back (by my parents) so that I didn’t rush forward and plant my hands in the glorious lush clay.
As a child we were always encouraged to be artistic. My mum often encouraged us to make presents and cards for people. Her stock line to us if we complained of being bored was ‘why don’t you do a drawing dear’.
I was very lucky at secondary school as we had a separate ceramics department, and a brilliant and dedicated ceramics teacher – Gill Reece. She inspired me to pursue my love of clay and every moment of making in her class was a joy.
Once I’d finished school I went on to do a foundation course where I got to learn about many different art disciplines. I loved my foundation course and really enjoyed learning about all the different areas of the art world, but I was still hooked on ceramics. I felt I could express myself most effectively and have the most fun working in clay.
In 1993 I went on to do a three year degree course in ceramics, in beautiful Bath. After my degree I set up my studio in London (my birth town) at Cockpit Arts in Holborn. I had a studio there from 1997 to 2012 and had a wonderful time developing my ceramic work and practise, making friends and meeting my future husband. We then moved the studio closer to home with the birth of our two children.
Geoff and I love swimming and have always had a yen to live by the sea. In 2015 we all moved to Hastings in East Sussex, setting up our shop ‘Pelham’s fine furniture & ceramics’ in central St Leonards. Behind the shop we have our studio where I make my ceramics and Geoff restores and gilds furniture.