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Our apprentiship scheme

"To become a professional craftsman is a radical decision, often undertaken as a form of protest against a dehumanizing environment and way of life."- Lucie-Smith, 1981

I often use this quote as it resonates with me more than any other.  And reflects the decision I made to become a Maker more than 25 years ago.  I had spent the majority of my schooling life watching the clock, waiting for the tortuously slow hour to pass.  When I left school I decided to do something with my life that did not involve wishing great chunks of time away.

I went to Art college and loved it, the experience gave me so much, helped me to free up, discuss concepts, write, learn art history but unfortunately it did not equip me with the skills I needed to become a Maker.  At that time in the early nineties, potteries were closing down, apprenticeships were non-existent and the potters that were still surviving were battening down the hatches.  So, I taught myself, I was lucky enough to become Artist/Potter in residence at Quay Arts.  Teaching others and teaching myself, it was a steep learning curve!

I made many and huge mistakes, learning was slow and difficult and I accidently put toxins in my body by putting my hands directly into a glaze without wearing gloves.  To this day I still have trace amounts of cobalt oxide in my system.

In this age of instant gratification and results at the press of a button, it is difficult to imagine spending years learning how to throw a pot on the wheel, learning how to use your body so that it doesn’t get damaged, being at one with the material, let alone understanding glazing, learning about the firing process and above all finding your own voice and your own creative expression.

It is a difficult and challenging career to embark upon, but for those who do it becomes a passion and obsession. 

In many ways I was lucky but I was also stubborn and an incurable idealist.  Some of the mistakes and hard lessons learnt were valuable but many were just a waste of time and effort.  By creating an apprenticeship scheme it allows me and my team to help support our new, and thank fully, growing number of Makers.  They are taught and supported within an enthusiastic and very talented group of teachers and professional Potters. 

Key areas are:

·      Space and time to practice

·      Repeat throwing to specific designs

·      Glaze technology

·      Firing

·      Opportunity to assist on Studio 45 workshops

·      Professional practice

·      Health and safety

Our current apprentice Raphy Seck is now also on our technician team and will be ‘head apprentice’ next year.  She will be in charge of passing on this knowledge and information.  If you are interested in becoming an apprentice or if you are interested in supporting or sponsoring an apprentice please contact me richendamacgregor@gmail.com

 
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Lucy phillips - our volunteer

We are also very blessed to have our wonderful volunteer on the team Lucy Phillips who has joined us like a duck to water.

About lucy

I am a passionate, curious maker who dreams of handles, pots and spouts.  

With a background in slip casting and mould making, I am developing a more traditional approach to ceramics through thrown tableware. Recently moving down to Devon in pursuit of wood firing, I have collaborated with Studio45 to investigate local materials. My aim is to create a more sustainable practise for the future.

I have a growing curiosity in the uncontrolled, yet partly manipulated, ways in which clay reveals its story. Through telling us its process of how it was formed, we can see what the clay has to say. 

This material is captivating and I am enticed by its challenge.