Time for a pottery throw down

Pop-up events can come in a variety of shapes and sizes as Charlotte Pearson discovers.

Tuesday, 13th December 2016, 9:49 am
Updated Friday, 8th June 2018, 5:30 am
Pictures: Emma Harrel - www.emmaharrelphotography.com

When you think of pop-ups the last thing you think viable to do is pottery.

However, Finola Maynard has perfected it to a fine art so she can share her passion with people across Sussex and beyond.

“The pottery wheels are portable and so are a lot of tools I use,” explains the ceramicist.

Pictures: Emma Harrel - www.emmaharrelphotography.com

“I go in one week and they make the pieces, then I take it away to be fired in my kiln and the next week they glaze them.

“It takes a little organisation but it can be done.”

It was while studying a degree in three dimensional materials at university that Finola admits she fell in love with ‘throwing’, which describes when a lump of clay is placed centrally on a wheel and then squeezed, lifted and shaped as the wheel is turned to create a piece.

“I just love with throwing the way you can hand craft something,” she smiles.

Pictures: Emma Harrel - www.emmaharrelphotography.com

“Also how quickly you can mass produce something like bowls or mugs.

“There are loads of ways to make ceramics and throwing is just one of those.

“I really enjoy it and find it all very therapeutic.”

Pottery as a therapy is something that Finola has explored further by offering the pop-up pottery to both adults and children.

Pictures: Emma Harrel - www.emmaharrelphotography.com

“I found when I was teaching adults I became less of a teacher and a sort of therapist of friend,” she reveals.

“When people sit at the wheel it can be quite hypnotic and they would start talking to me and telling me their life story.”

One of Finola’s aims was to create a community feel to her sessions where people can be creative and open up.

“I see myself as a facilitator,” she says.

“People can be very nervous but I am here to let them know it is ok and give them the confidence to throw down and make things themselves.”

It is something she has expanded to include working with children with learning difficulties and autism.

But rather than just going into schools and teaching them pottery she decided to take a different approach.

“I show them they can have a career in ceramics or have a business around crafts,” explains Finola.

“At the moment they are designing a logo for their businesses, they will make items which we will sell on Etsy and the money will go back into the ASD unit for them to use on school trips or whatever they like really.

“I’m dyslexic and was never very good at English, maths or science so I want to show kids they can set up their business in something they enjoy.”

The pop-up events initially started at the Mucky Duck in Brighton but as the popularity grew so did the number of venues she worked in.

“I didn’t have to pay for the venue as they had people buying drinks from the bar,” she reveals.

“There is a great community atmosphere and it just grew and grew.”

As well as the pop-up events Finola has also taken her pottery to weddings, private parties, corporate events and community projects.

“I have just finished working with Twin Pines cafe in Brighton,” she says. “I worked with them to create their plates, bowls and mugs.

“I asked them what coffee they were going to sell so it was really collaborative and I am proud that they will be using my ceramics. It is an area I would like to do more in.”

The business launched about a year ago and she recently moved into her own studio in Eastbourne.

“I was working out of my home and had the kiln in my conservatory and I found it was getting a bit too much,” she reveals.

“I looked at studio space in Brighton but I found the perfect place in Eastbourne where I am able to grow and do all the things I need to such as the group classes and one to one sessions.”

Throughout December Finola will be using her studio as a shop front where people will be able to see her demonstrate her skills, and also buy items from ceramics to vouchers for one to one sessions or one of her events - perfect for a Christmas present with a difference.

For more information on Finola and to find out details of her latest pop-up events, visit finolamaynard.com