‘What would you like to tell people about your pottery classes?’ I asked. Here is a selection of responses: ‘Pottery classes have saved me.’ ‘A haven in these challenging times.’ ‘Pottery has kept me safe this year.’ ‘I’m developing skills, meeting friends, and having fun.’ ‘It’s me time.’ ‘I can share ideas, be inspired and see people; the highlight of my week.’
In the Health and Wellbeing area, we know that learning craft skills, and making things has a positive impact on our mental health. In 21 years’ teaching, I’ve often heard comments like those above; this year it’s really serious. After months of isolation and living with uncertainty, it is marvellous that we have been able to restart pottery classes. Tutors and other staff worked extremely hard to clear and, reorganise the pottery studio, and other specialist craft rooms. We came up with creative solutions for a COVID-19 secure return to the workshops in September; no sharing of tools, regular cleaning, and safe distanced working. It remains a mammoth team effort across the Brampton Road site.
As the term has continued, I am immensely proud of the work that is being made; each student, in the, smaller than usual, classes has upped their game. In the absence of other face to face interaction, or even family contact, their energy and passion for pottery is focussed. The relief to be in a creative, supportive human environment again is palpable. Pots have been bigger, or more complex, joyous, skilful and individual.
We plan a celebratory exhibition of pottery in the spring or summer. Last year’s show had to be online only; this year, we hope to welcome you to the studio once again.