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cheltenham 6th former does work experience at eastnor pottery in herefordshire

cheltenham 6th former does work experience at eastnor pottery in herefordshireSay hello to Mac!

Mac, a 6th former at Bishop’s Cleeve High School in Cheltenham spent his work experience week with us in February.

We loved having him around the place and his enthusiasm and good nature made for a brilliant experience all round. At the end of the week we asked him to write a short review of his Eastnor Pottery experience. This is what he had to say:

After being informed by my school that we were expected to find a work experience placement, at first, I was lost for ideas as to what I wanted to do. I searched for weeks to find something that interested me, and ended up sending around twenty e-mails to various different businesses, all of which either rejected me or did not bother to reply, the process of finding something ended up being a stressful and demoralising one. That’s when I decided to send an e-mail to Eastnor Pottery and had a good feeling about it. A day later, Jon replied and immediately came across friendly and enthusiastic about the idea, which really put my mind at rest, and I was exited when everything was sorted out for me to spend a week there.

Before I arrived, I was initially a tad nervous, which is the way I feel when being placed in an unfamiliar environment, however as soon as I entered the building, I was immediately put at ease. Everyone I met were so kind and welcoming, and I settled in very quickly. I thoroughly enjoyed my time here, and any task I was given, I took on with a smile plastered on my face, from washing and cleaning the studio to glazing finished pots, loading the kiln and even being able to make  my own products, it was a pleasure to work in such warm and bright surroundings with people who evidently love what they do, which shows clearly through the workshops they offer, which I observed closely and would recommend to anyone. Furthermore, it has given me a new interest in ceramics, which is something I’d love to extend beyond my work experience placement. Finally, id like to offer my deepest gratitude to Jon, Sarah, and the rest of the team at Eastnor Pottery for providing me with an amazing experience, in a studio I would love to potentially return to one day, this time as a customer, to use the skills they have taught me to use! 

I think we might be seeing a bit more of Mac in the future. :)

Jon Williams working on the potter's wheel with a student at Sunfield residential SchoolPeriodically, I have the privilege to work at Sunfield Residential School in Stourbridge. The school cares for vulnerable young people who have severe and complex educational needs, such as Autism.

One of the many aspects I’ve really come to value about my visits to the school is the opportunity to work one to one with the students. Every interaction, how matter how varied, slight or short is all the better for the dedicated engagement.

Sometimes the students make huge journeys in confidence, creativity and understanding in a very short time frame. Here is an extract from my scribbled session notes from one such interaction that lasted approx 30 mins:

 ‘J’ refused to take part at the beginning and sat wheel-side watching the demo, arms firmly crossed and coat well and truly buttoned up. Member of staff ‘A’ takes a turn on the wheel to encourage him to participate. We ask ‘J’ what shape he would like to see being made on the wheel. “plate!” ‘J’ watches as I make a plate. Once it is completed, we adjourn to the floor to form letters from small coils of clay – he touches the clay for the first time, progressing to picking the clay letters up and attaching them to the soft clay plate. The letters spell out his name. We discuss the ceramic process and firing, showing him a shop brought mug and telling him this is what his plate will look like when he gets it back – would he like to make a mug? “yes” Coat off, old shirt on (too small) so it comes off again and then he sits at the wheel, makes a guided pot properly touching the spinning wet clay and ending up with his hands covered in slip. We then make a handle together and add the handle to the freshly thrown form – magic!