‘Got any idea what you want to make?’ asked our aged hippie art teacher. ‘Er…’ ‘Well it’s just because I see people come in here all the time without clear ideas of what they want to make and after two hours end up not completing anything.’ ‘Oh don’t worry, we’ve both had pottery experience before – I’ve made a, er, piggy bank, ashtray and a won’t-hold-water vase, I think we’ll be fine.’ I replied sort of smugly.
A friend and I had come the Hackney City Farm for their Wednesday night £10 drop-in pottery session for hobby 24. We paid our tenner, got our clay blob, found mini chairs and looked at each other. We scratched a few ‘tools’ from the old-man-work-shed room, piled high with fired half clay remnants, and got to work on our pottery.
After breaking our clay into pieces and pondering things we could make, we looked around to some of the more seasoned artists for inspiration. My compadre nudged me, snickering into her sleeve ‘look over there.’ ‘Where?’ ‘There…’ subtly pointing with her elbow. A lady was finishing off the face on the end of what looked like a baton, that she then turned around to reveal was in fact a large, veiny knob. Now sniggering into my own sleeve, we critiqued the art form in our finest British accents, while trying unsuccessfully to get a close up photo. Alongside will have to suffice and I think captures the, er, form.
After exhausting all manner of childish johnson jokes, we returned to our own limp creations.
Alas our hopes of recreating Ghost on the pottery wheel (apparently called ‘throwing’) were dashed when we found there was a long list of names of people waiting and would be long after 2 hours were up. I started doing a jewellery box, no wait a flower petal bowl, no how about these fancy chopstick holders. At the end of the 2 hour session, I nodded sadly to our hippie prophet, and declared that we had in fact made nothing. He kindly offered to fire our assortment of ‘bits’ to which we happily declined. ‘I’ll fire ’em anyway so collect them next week’ he said. ‘Thanks’ we replied as we walked off into the night.
This class was not a tutored one, but more one for those just wanting to ‘have a go’. Come with ideas. Or don’t – playing with clay for two hours can be very therapeutic.
Other pottery places around London (untried):
- Pottery Art London – £35 for 2.5 tutored class, maximum group of 6 – Acton
- iamsjm – £40 for ceramics taster – central London
- Parade Mews Pottery – £140 for 9 weeks – Tulse Hill
- The Ceramics Studio – £30 drop-in Wednesday class – Bermondsey
- Clapham Pottery – Beginner’s Sunday classes £40 3.5 hours – Clapham