Pottery Workshops – A Beginner’s Tale

Life is so hectic. It’s a rare and precious thing to have the opportunity to sit and give your undivided attention to one activity.

That’s how it was for me during my first pottery workshop with Mena at East Gate Gallery. Rare and precious, utterly focused as I was for three hours on ‘creating stuff’.

My hopes were not high. In fact, looking back, I’d say I was probably a bit nervous. I had never attempted any pottery since a clumsy seven-year-old me made some sort of hefty brown purposeless vessel at school.

I was not the only one with ‘L’ plates. There were four of us beginners around the table, under the gentle guidance of Pembroke-based ceramicist Mena Williams, of Mena Ceramics.

We chatted, then we were quiet, we laughed, then we concentrated, we heard the ticking of the clock and the breathing of our neighbours. A rare thing indeed.

And we made stuff! Good stuff! I came out of the workshop with 13 perfectly acceptable pieces of ceramic art. Small – and by no means perfectly formed – pieces of my own prized time moulded into little jewellery dishes and ornamental hangings.

The gallery – with its new ‘Potting Shed’ pottery studio – is a very tranquil place to be, and in the company of others willing to ‘give it a go’ I tapped back into the creative part of me which has been buried beneath parenthood and the trappings of working life for too long.

So did I go back? Yes! Am I now a pottery genius? No! But I am chuffed to have just dived in, produced some work I am proud of and supported a local artist whose creativity inspires and provides so much pleasure to others.

Now that Mena has The Potting Shed, complete with two potter’s wheels, I am looking forward to my first foray into the world of pottery throwdown! Watch this space!

By Laura Ridgway

Laura Ridgway