Freya Bramble Carter
My father's work has had a strong influence in my even starting this work. I saw the beauty in it early on and was seduced by the feel of the material, which lead me onto further usage.
With practise, I learnt to be confident and started making a living off teaching pottery when I was 22 years old, and I grew from there. I learnt how to pass the knowledge on from how my father passed it on to me - you also learn best when your teaching. You learn the craft inside out when teaching because you have to guid people through their mistakes as well as your own!
I stretched a lot through my experience on the BBC's Great Pottery Throwdown. Everything changes when put under time pressure! I found, suddenly I was incapable of doing the most simple throwing tasks - my hands were shaking and my mind was blank with panic all the time. Let alone the difficulty of getting my brain around more of the complex building tasks. I was very very nervous. You had to rush the process. If you wanted to get it all done you must proceed as if success is inevitable and as though your life depended on it. It took me a while to get into this competitive mode! Everyone was friends and wanted to help each other, we all know how hard it is!!
Despite this, there was huge value in the speed and pressure. I found there was a lot to learn from not being precious and having a 'keep going' attitude. In fact the most important thing I learnt was to actually make things work, when usually I would just throw things away over the smallest mistake. Patience and perseverance.
Connecting with others through my ceramics is key and I see it as part of a bigger picture in connecting to the world, inspiring others for positive wellbeing. Relationships are really important to me. I sometimes feel I have a nurturing, healing role- always wanting to look after people and make sure they are happy in they’re lives. The workshop can be a very social place. The clay attracts and holds a space where I'm often at the receiving end of a transformation, debate or discussion.
Working with Clay: The versatility of the material is what I enjoy most about using clay as a medium. And strangely how demanding the graft is, it takes a lot of discipline and structure in my lifestyle to make it work.You can't cheat timing and mother nature.. it asks a lot of you to always be there by your work every step of the way! Commitment.I use my hands to manipulate the clay. Whether that’s in a sculptural sense or using the wheel to make pots round in shape.
I use a lot of volcanic glazed that I make up following special recipes in the studio, which help to create depth in texture and colour.
When I see these textures of glaze layered on top of eachother; I think of the earths crust, red magma and the power of this system we cannot control. And then I feel the smooth and rough textures, a rainbow of textures from wet and sloppy, soft and pliable, stiff and chalky, to solid stone, and sharp as a ceramic knife- I remember almost cutting my finger off from the shards of a broken Pot.
I'm currently holding classes in my workshop that I share with my father, and have a private space to do my own work. The physical labour of running a studio and with clay is very demanding but can give the greatest rewards.
What a huge pleasure and privilege it is for me, to be doing what I do, and to bloom with others around me.