a wandering woman writes

Saturday, October 07, 2006

A potter is born

Ladies and gentlemen, señoras y señores, damas and caballeros, there you have it.

My first coiled pot.
I've been holding out on a part of my August vacations in the UK. I spent 2 days and 3 nights in the cottage in the photo in the Fens, in West Norfolk.

Learning to pot.

I found Howard and Kate on the internet. I was determined to try potting while in England. Obsessed, in fact. For months I'd suffered with an intense craving to run clay through my fingers, a craving I found odd, considering I'd never touched the stuff. I looked for a potting course in Salamanca. Nothing. I was digging my way through all the week-long courses in England and Ireland when I came across Kate's studio, Bodgers Farm Pottery.

With Howard retired from his own business in London and their children grown, Howard and Kate bought Bodger's Farm a couple of years ago. They put together a pottery studio and fixed up the comfiest B&B rooms you're likely to find.

Kate sells her work at galleries and fairs, and offers studio rental. Lucky for me, she also offers tuition by the day, with her undivided attention.

When Howard picked me up at Downham Market station on Sunday evening, he firmly announced that he and and Kate had decided I simply couldn't eat alone for three days.

And so it was that the bed and full board I'd arranged for lack of a car (Bodger's Farm is well beyond walking distance) turned into three luxurous meals a day. Three homecooked meals with Kate, Howard and a mysteriously self-refilling wine glass accompanied by a warm and sincere invitation to make myself at home, and what I hope will be the undying love of a feisty, energetic collie named Effie.

My second evening at the farm, I snuck away for a walk. Effie enthusiastically volunteered to guide me, and we headed to the canal created to drain the Fens (a natural wetland) a few centuries ago. We turned left along the canal, watching a tiny floater plane land and take off a few times. Two long lefts later we were back at Bodger's Farm. A couple of delicious hours of flat, and quiet.

In two days I coiled the monster above, built 3 or 4 pinch and slab pots, and slipped into ectasy at the wheel. Because I only had 2 days of tuition, Kate fired and glazed my handbuilt pots and a handful of wheel pieces. I'm anxiously awaiting their arrival by post.

Wednesday morning Howard packed me back into the car for the short ride to Downham Market Station. Before we pulled out of the driveway, Kate paired a warm hug with the final quality-control question.

-So are you addicted?

My name is Erin C. And I strongly suspect a Welsh woman living in the Fens has handed me a lifelong addiction to clay.



  • Many of my friends are potters....I guess I'll just add you to the list. I'm not though, somehow I've managed to resist the siren call of the clay.

    By Anonymous AdriftAtSea, at 4:09 PM  

  • Well you must get good gifts, any way,hey?

    You're young yet, LOL, it may come after you. I'll have to post my new life metaphors, Dan....potting's a rich a source as sailing, just about!

    By Blogger wandering-woman, at 10:29 PM  

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