I have a not-so-secret obsession: ceramics. Jugs and little pots, in particular. I can’t walk past one without adding it to my collection. So when I was given the opportunity to attend a weekend throwing and turning course at West Dean in Sussex, I couldn’t say no. For anyone who is new to pottery (like me) prepare yourself for a challenge. The course is intense and jam-packed – don’t expect to have much time to explore the grounds! From the moment I arrived on Friday evening to the time I left on Sunday afternoon, me and my fellow ‘potters’ were engrossed in the studio learning the arts of kneading, throwing bowls and cylinders, and then turning to scrape away any excess clay.
Our tutor was the expert craftswoman Alison Sandeman, who patience and enthusiasm throughout was second-to-none. And, having heard nothing but praise for West Dean, I can see why. The setting, service and sustenance is fantastic and just what was needed for an enjoyable weekend away. As my pots are being glazed and fired, I can’t wait to see the finished result – sure to be a talking point and welcome reminder of this happy experience. westdean.org.uk