Local studio potter and Great Pottery Throwdown contestant Elaine Wells is one of over 500 artists who are part of Bucks Open Studios this month. We watched her in action on her wheel in her Chesham Bois studio deftly crafting clay into pots and even had a crack at throwing our own.
As long as she can remember Elaine Wells has made anything and everything but ever since a pottery evening class in the late 90s when a member sold her a wheel and small kiln she has been totally hooked on throwing pots. And there is nothing she enjoys more than sharing her art.
“Being with like minded people is just brilliant“ says Elaine. “Bucks Open Studios gives plenty of chance for that and it’s a great confidence booster. As artists we often work in isolation and getting together to share an exhibition space or just talk is really helpful. Having fixed Open Day dates to work towards sets you a challenge and then when visitors arrive and are interested it is so encouraging. This is my third year, I’d recommend any artist to join in.”
Elaine has been surrounded by many talented creatives of late. The experience of taking part in BBC 2’s The Great Pottery Throwdown she says was ‘just the best.’ The nine who battled for the title of Britain’s top potter are now firm friends “We talk on Facebook all the time – we bounce ideas, support each other or just chat.”
Elaine accepted an internship with judge Kate Malone soon after she left the TV series and is currently working on several inspirational projects with the internationally renowned London based ceramic artist.
“Kate is such a perfectionist! I have seen my pots improve a lot since knowing her. I used to make feet for some of my pots by squashing and rolling the clay and just hope they were even but Kate is very precise and there is no guesswork – every element is consistent. I have learned to weigh clay and works systematically from left to right so I know which piece is likely to dry out first. Kate’s knowledge of glazes is extraordinary – she has a huge archive of recipes and is master of decorative sculptural pieces. It has spurred me into experimenting more – I am definitely influenced by her thirst for finding new glazes and loved trying out a glaze that gave a bobble finish”
Elaine in turn inspires others, teaching pottery basics at workshops in her home garden studio.
“ We have great fun. I am a hoarder and use all sort of paraphernalia to make impressions in the clay. Buttons make interesting shapes and forcing clay through a tea strainer turns out perfect hair strands for Christmas angels or wool for sheep! ”
See one of Elaine’s Kate Malone influenced bubbly pots our June Cover!
Watch Elaine at work in her studio on 10/15 /16 /17 /18 / 22 / 23 / 24 June. Mon, Tues, Wed and Fri: 11am – 4pm. Thurs: 3pm – 9pm ; Sat: 11am – 5pm. and Sun: 11am – 4pm
Appointments available at other times during and after Bucks Open Studios