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About Ceramic Crafts

Sally Moss in the Arreton Studio
Sally Moss in the Ceramic Crafts studio at Arreton Barns on the Isle of Wight
I first discovered my love of clay at the Martin Ward Ceramics Studio in Worcestershire where I attended a weekly evening class. Within a very short period of time I knew I had found my true vocation. After about four years of tuition I went outand bought all the equipment I needed to set myself up as a potter. I soon discovered it was not that easy and I had very little knowledge of how to use a kiln, what type of clay to use, how to glaze, how to make glazes etc; the list was endless. I checked to see if the local college ran ceramic classes and to my delight I found they did! I enrolled that day on a City and Guilds pottery and ceramics course and it was great fun, and as I let my mind wander and produce more complex works the academic side of studies became easy as I was loving the whole experience.

In 1995 I started selling my work to local shops and craft centres and the response was very rewarding with many re-orders and commissions being requested. Soon this part time hobby was looking as if it could become a business venture, so with the help of my husband I converted the garage into a fully equipped studio. I knew it would not be the ideal solution for more than a few years as the business was growing steadily and the garage was too small for my aims and ideas.

In 1999 I moved to a larger studio and workshop in a Midlands craft centre where I could finally apply all my ideas, now not only could I make, demonstrate and sell my pottery, but I could teach in the clay workshop and organise clay play days for children as well (kids love working with clay).

I spent two happy years at the studio/workshop in the midlands but I was getting itchy feet again; I wanted to move to an area with more potential, where more customers and children would come into the studio. The choice wasn't hard really - after coming to the Island year in year out for our family holidays, we decided to move the business to the Island.

My work has changed over the years and with the increased demand for my products my pottery techniques have improved. I started with a fantasy theme, making mushrooms and witches houses, I then produced larger mushrooms, mushroom oil burners, lamps, water features and planters and with the fantasy theme came fairies, dragons and pixies.I try to keep with this theme but I am frequently asked to carry out special commissions and design original and elaborate house name signs.

Due to the continued success of the pottery my husband now has to help. He makes all the glazes (currently experimenting with new colours and contrasts) glazes all the pottery and fires the kiln, leaving me to concentrate on the making.

On the technical side, the clay we use is a stonewear clay which is buff in colour. We fire the electric kiln to 1,250 degrees centigrade; this makes the pottery very tough and frost resistant. The glazes are made using a formulation which includes Cornish stone / whiting and the colours are obtained using varying quantities of minerals and irons.

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