I was slightly apprehensive about taking a pottery class because the last time I worked with clay I was fifteen years old. I recall it making my hands feel dry, and I worried about my nail polish and the clay particles getting stuck up my fingernails. The teacher was strict, and I never really loved what I made back then either.
As soon as I arrived for pottery masterclass at SkandiHus studio in Upper Clapton, London, I felt comfortable. The teacher was so welcoming. She told us not to be intimidated, that it was about the process rather than the final product. I held onto this notion as I worked the clay in my hands, following her instructions, removing any air bubbles before we began shaping the clay. I was soon in the zone, smoothing the cold grey sphere, just feeling my way, and letting the clay dictate what it wanted to be.
The studio was beautiful a sunlit airy space with plants and finished earthenware and stoneware work on display.
The woman who started this small business was a lawyer who was really tired of her fast paced, stressful job. She took a pottery class and became hooked. It wasn’t long before she gave up her high-pressured career to open and run the studio.
There is something so satisfying about working with your hands. We worked in silence some of the time, all 12 of us in the taster class entranced with our process. The teacher also taught us how to use the tools to make patterns, how to repair the cracks in the clay, how to attach handles to our pots if we wanted to, by using the coil technique.
I was so much more fulfilled by the craft than I had anticipated, in fact I may even sign up for a course of classes. This way I will learn more techniques and get to try other projects, including throwing pots on the wheel.
The studio is just 0.3 miles from Hackney Downs, and half a mile from Hackney Central. I think it is a perfect activity for those over 55 because it is relaxing and yet it encourages mindfulness. It is an accessible space with the studio all being on one level. I felt the camaraderie of the group was lovely, especially after the isolation of the pandemic, but also, I liked the means to be able to be meditative too when I was busy focusing on the creative process. I return to the studio in six weeks to collect my fired and glazed work of art. It will be a lovely keepsake, reminding me of how we can create beautiful things at any age.
See more details about pottery masterclass at SkandiHus studio