Pottery lesson – Laura makes her own cookware

potCookware addict Laura Emmerson tries her hand at making her own kitchen kit

I’m about as creative as a house brick, so being sent off to try pottery was sure to be amusing, if not productive. But, says potter Marvin Kitshaw, you don’t have to be a creative genius to throw a pot. “As long as it’s made of clay and holds water, you’ve made a pot,” he says.

The nearest I’ve ever been to a potter’s wheel before was the last time I watched Ghost on DVD, and strains of Unchained Melody were in my head as I ventured to Muddy Fingers for my workshop.

From butter dishes to money banks, hip flasks to chicken roasters, you’re at liberty to make whatever you fancy in the workshops, which is how I ended up with a hip flask decorated with skulls (I did say I don’t do creative).

pot1And if the world is your oyster, so the pot is your salt pig, or is it an ashtray? It could be either. Class sizes are small so you can have plenty of assistance, or be left to your own devices if you prefer.

Marv and his pottery partner Diane have recently relocated to the Mushroom Works in Newcastle, home to a community of talented artists in various guises from sculptors to painters to jewellery makers, and it’s really worth a visit for the gallery and shop spaces alone.

I’ve always fancied making my own cookware, and Marv makes it look easy, though it’s anything but. My first discovery of many was that anything but the shortest nails are the enemy of a good pot, so I cut mine and my second attempt was more successful. In fact, I’d say that the slightly uneven finish added to an endearing rusticity with which I was rather pleased.

With my pot made and my name scrawled in the side, I moved on to making a hip flask by hand rather than on the wheel.  The professionally made version of these little flasks, complete with shot glasses, are a new line for Muddy Fingers, and I was pretty pleased with my own version, much like everyone’s child is beautiful to them and them only.

The Muddy Fingers gallery and shop is a treasure trove of specialist cookware, kitchen and homeware as well as jewellery and giftware. Marv and Diane also run classes, workshops and Raku sessions, build bread ovens, design and make tipi fire pits, create sculptures, murals, and pit firing and much more.

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