Why Pottery?

26.10.21 4 min read

If you found yourself on this page, you probably already have an idea of how magical pottery can be. But as a professional potter and full-time craft advocate, I’m so happy to share some of the reasons it’s so special to me as well as what led me to it.
I came to pottery mainly by chance after a few unfulfilling years working in marketing. Looking for a creative outlet, I stumbled upon an evening class around the corner from my flat and was instantly hooked. It wasn’t just the beauty of the processes themselves—the hypnotic twirl of the wheel, the feeling of gritty clay between fingers, the ability to manifest a usable object out of nothing but mud and thoughts—but by the infinite variety of the medium. It gives you the ability to create all kinds of beautiful objects that can become key parts of your life or others.
Pottery gave me an opportunity to slow down and to focus on the creative process. Having spent years making nothing but word documents, excel sheets and emails, I could sit down for an hour and create something that never existed before. Creating with our hands grounds us in the world around us and allows us to create a physical mark on our environment. Our creative efforts become real, usable objects that we can enjoy and treasure.
The Pottery Starter Kit from noah gives you this creative superpower in a single box. 
It’s up to you to decide how you want to use the pottery Starter Kit. It can be a solo activity with very clear intentions: perhaps you want to make a trinket dish for a loved one or an incense burner for your morning meditation. You can set out with a clear end result in mind or follow the tutorials to make something beautiful or functional. Instagram and Pinterest are great for inspiring these initial ideas - take what you like and leave what you don’t, combine aesthetics and ideas to make the item uniquely yours.
Perhaps you just want to fiddle with clay while listening to music or watching your favourite TV programme. That’s great too! Knead some clay and just play: squeeze, roll and squish as you begin to understand how the clay responds to your touch. Although it’s often nice to start with a rough idea, there’s nothing wrong at all with allowing inspiration to come to you—great ideas often strike when we make space for them. The act of working with our hands allows us to be present: it gives us that beautiful moment where we simultaneously focus on a simple action while letting our mind run free. If you’ve ever experienced runners high or got caught up in a task for hours without realising, you might be familiar with this feeling that some call flow state.
It’s also a great way to relax with friends, a partner or your children. Whether you all make the same thing by following one of the Beyond the Box tutorials together, or simply take a couple of hours to see what you all come up with, it’s an opportunity to let the hands wander while you chat, laugh and enjoy the moment. It’s great for a date, a girls’ (or guys’!) night in, or even an office social.
However you choose to work, the ultimate aim is simply to enjoy the process. Making something with your hands is deeply therapeutic so don’t get too attached to an outcome. As long as you enjoy the journey, the destination is just a bonus! Hopefully you end up with something that you can admire, make use of, or gift to someone special, but even if the end result is just a couple of hours’ relaxation, you’ve been successful!
Set the mood with whatever rituals you use to relax—be it mediation, a glass of wine, a cup of tea or some candles and incense—and make a space, both mental and physical, for you to enjoy the creative process.
Noah has a wealth of tutorials available that will introduce you to the common processes for working clay that can be applied to almost any idea. If I were starting out, I’d watch the Pinchpot video and go from there but if you just want to grab the clay and tools and get started, you’re unlikely to go too far wrong.
We also have a series of ‘How to…’ tutorials that walk you through making specific items. That said, speak to 10 different potters and you’ll discover 10 different ways of working so don’t get too attached to the ‘right’ way of doing anything. Follow the steps but if you think of a better or easier way, feel free to deviate.
The only rule I’ll give you is this: Any time you attach one piece of clay to another, use slip (a thick mixture of clay and water which acts as glue) so nothing pops off as it dries. Beyond that, seek out inspiration, figure out what works for you, enjoy the process, and have fun.
I’m so happy to have you with us, and hope you find the process as beautiful and satisfying as I did when I started!