30 March 2017
We launched WR Workshops this month - a range of arts and crafts skills workshops we'll be running throughout the year to champion local artists and give you the chance to get hands-on and learn something new.
First up was the very talented Matt Grimmitt, from Winchcombe Pottery. Matt spent the day at our yard throwing and chatting to us all about the history of Winchcombe Pottery, and the ethos behind how each piece is formed, with function as it's heart:
Q: How did you get into pottery?
A: 'My Great Great Grandfather was from a family of potters that ran Leckhampton Pottery in Cheltenham and when that closed down he started working at Becketts Pottery ( old name for Winchcombe Pottery ) and through my family I took and interest that led into it being my chosen vocation.'
Q: What is your signature style?
A: 'Winchcombe Pottery I suppose. We make domestic stoneware pottery that is intended for daily use.'
Q: Which part of the process do you enjoy the most?
A: 'All of it really, a lot of people have preconceived ideas that my time is spent purely at a wheel throwing pots. The way we do it is very labour intensive and I enjoy the whole process from cutting wood for our kiln to mixing clay, but of course throwing pots on a wheel is one of the highlights.'
Q: How do you find inspiration for your collections?
A: 'Winchcombe Pottery’s range is set at 70 or more shapes that we continually make, some of them have been made here since the early days and are still relevant to today’s use. As people's taste changes there is room to add shapes that are more relevant to today’s use but luckily Ray Finch spent 70 years doing this so a lot of what we do has been thought through for us already. We do make bespoke pots for customers and that's always fun.'
Q: What does an average day in your workshop look like?
A: 'We do the same jobs over and over but in a slightly different order and I work alongside two other potters and students so I guess busy is the answer.'
Q: What piece are you most proud of creating?
A: 'We make thousands of pots so picking one is impossible.'
Q: What has changed about the profession in recent years?
A: 'I guess the way a lot of potters sell their work has changed for the whole industry with the advent of social media. There seems to be a distinct lack of training facilities and education for people who want to be potters. But with Pottery being made into a TV format that can only be a good thing for the whole industry. Winchcombe Pottery has trained a lot of potters and will continue to do that.'
Q: When not at a wheel, what do you enjoy doing around the Cotswolds?
A: 'I have a Whippet that requires a lot of walking, so you can usually find me in a field with the dog looking for ancient pottery shards on the floor. Pottery is more than just a job for me it's a way of life so it's mainly pottery related.'
A huge thank you to Matt. It was a complete privilege to talk to someone so knowledgeable and passionate about their craft.
More WR Workshops to come. Watch this space...