For today’s Meet the Maker we’re checking out Avesha Dewolfe (She/Her) of Spiral Tide Pottery. Based out of East Lothian, Scotland, Avesha has been working in ceramics since she was ten years old when her mother surprised her with a kick-wheel class for her birthday. Talk about a lifelong love of clay!
Make sure to follow her on instagram @spiraltidepottery where she shares numerous videos about her unique process and make sure not to miss #sundayslabmeditations as it’s such a lovely way that Avesha is connecting with the community and sharing musings about clay and life and all the intricacies of finding time for self-care as a maker running a business.
Avesha’s focus in the studio is beautiful handbuilt functional pieces. She makes enchanting works that evoke nostalgia for coastlines and sand between your toes. When asked about where she looks for inspiration she replied: “Nature gets me right in the heart every day, it is magical! My biggest inspiration though is the ocean. I’ve lived close to it my whole life and no matter which coastline I am on the sights, sounds and smells of the ocean always inspire and relax me. My biggest goal for my work is for it to bring the ocean into the hands of the people who buy it.”
Teapots are currently her favourite form to make in the studio; “they are so satisfying to build and when they pour beautifully it is like winning the lottery!” I think many of us know that feeling of a perfectly pouring teapot! And a special bonus is that she’s actually going to be one of our workshop presenters later this year on September 25th, so mark your calendars for that!
When we asked Avesha what the most valuable lesson clay has taught her, her reply was detachment. She states; “As odd as that sounds, I have noticed that when I am able to keep myself from getting too anxious about the build or the end glazed result, I am MUCH better at going with the flow of the process and to take in what the clay is trying to teach me at each step of the way. Also, staying detached helps me to remember that I’m not in control of this medium (are we ever?) and that helps me to roll with the punches and stay creative when things go wrong in the kiln or a piece doesn’t work out like I’d hoped it would.” What a great approach to ceramics as we can all relate to the lack of control in the medium, the triumphs when things go as planned and the lessons we learn when they don’t.
Working out of her backyard studio, Avesha and her kiln named Betty (a Fuego model by L&L kilns) are also often joined by Shaemus the cat, a lovely, but also frequently napping companion for the long hours at the workbench. The picturesque studio is “…a 10 foot square, single brick wash-house that was built in 1863… it used to house the toilet & washing facilities for our row of cottages before indoor plumbing was a thing. Nowadays, after it fell in on itself from neglect, it has a lovely conservatory roof that lets in lots of light and is the perfect sized space for what I need.”
Avesha divides her time between being in the studio part-time and her work as a social worker. She did work full-time in the studio for a time, but the balance wasn’t quite right. She states; “I am happier as a part-time clay artist and that knowledge has been hard-earned. To me, being happy in yourself as well as in the studio is the most important thing and to find a balance that works for you is absolutely essential.” Good advice to ponder for those of us who are constantly trying to find a way to be in the studio full time.
A few quick facts:
Her soundtrack in the studio: “Lately, I have had Beautiful Chorus on repeat in the studio, but sometimes I listen to books I already love… for me, I get really lost in the clay & making so if I try to listen to a new book or a podcast while I’m in the studio I miss huge chunks of them. “
Piece of ceramic that she is currently trying to get her hands on: “Someday, I hope to be quick enough to be able to add one of Sarah Pike‘s mugs to my mug collection!”
If she wasn’t an artist she’d be: “Neurobiologist 🙂 I think the brain is frigging fascinating!”
Ways to cure a creative block: “For me, what works every time is to change the scenery… to allow myself time away from the studio to be in nature or beside the sea or to spend time with people I love. I’ve found that giving myself permission to leave the studio and the creative block behind for a day or two to nurture myself in other ways almost always gets the creative juices flowing again.”
Biggest achievement to date: “In 2009, I moved to Scotland from Maine, USA. In my mind, that move and being able to find a new creative groove after having to leave my wheel behind, will always be my biggest achievement. I was a soda firing wheel thrower before moving to Scotland… there was no money or space to re-create that studio set up when we finally settled over here so I started playing around with handbuilding. When I found slab building it was like a light went on inside myself and I have never returned to the wheel. Making that move and finding slab-building because of it are my biggest creative achievements so far.”
Thanks so much Avesha for sharing with us! Please make sure you give her a follow on Instagram, connect with her on the Ceramic School site and save the date for her Ceramic School workshop on September 25th, 2022!
Leave us a comment below about what you love best about Avesha’s work!
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