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Pottery masterclass for Fenland reporter Kat, or just a bum deal?

What do you do when you have time to take off work during a national lockdown?

For those of us who have annual leave booked in, it’s hard to decide how to fill the time when holidays are impossible, day trips are against the rules and you’ve completed Netflix.

I had this exact problem recently, but having been inspired by Channel 4’s Great Pottery Throw Down and plenty of Instagram influencing for home pottery kits, I decided it was time to embrace my inner artist. Could I be Lincolnshire’s answer to Grayson Perry?

Reporter Kat Wakefield's lockdown pottery thrown down creations
Reporter Kat Wakefield's lockdown pottery thrown down creations

In reality, I am the least artistic person you could meet. I struggle to draw stick men and my mother still wheels out my school art project attempt at making an egg cup – which would struggle to hold anything smaller than a football successfully – to amuse friends and family.

However, if you’re going to try something you might as well do it when there’s nothing left to do – and I’m a big believer of the “go big or go home” mantra.

Just in time for my week off work, my sculpture kit arrived, filled with air drying clay, tools, paints and instructions. I was fully prepared to fail!

One of reporter Kat Wakefield's pottery creations
One of reporter Kat Wakefield's pottery creations

It should be noted that creating your own plant pots, trinket dishes and vases is a slightly more long winded process than you might have first imagined.

Once you have created your masterpiece, it must dry for at least 24 hours before you attack it with a paintbrush, and – as this clay is water-based – you should try to avoid creating objects which would be used with liquid, a tip I learnt from social media star Shade Shannon, a former Spalding High School student.

This meant that my attempt at a body-shaped vase (which are all the rage with interior designers currently) meant purchasing a smaller glass vase to use as the main receptacle for all of the flowers I’m bound to receive next Valentine’s Day...

I moulded the body shape around the glass vase and, after a lot of work on the buttocks (think Kim Kardashian), I left the vase to rest and shifted my attention to a trinket dish or two.

One of reporter Kat Wakefield's pottery creations
One of reporter Kat Wakefield's pottery creations

This is a much easier task and, quite frankly, I’m not too sure why I jumped in at the deep end first. However, I had three hand-made offerings to show for an afternoon’s work and, despite the carnage I’d left on the kitchen table, I’d come out relatively unscathed.

After having allowed my Turner Prize-worthy creations to dry (it took around 48 hours), I was able to assess any cracks (there were a few and only one was intentional!) before painting them, using Emma Bridgewater’s designs for my inspiration on my trinket dish but taking a more modern and, dare I say it, fashionable approach to the vase with a solid wash of grey. Then came the final step – sealing them with the sealant which was also provided.

I must admit, I was proud as punch with the final result. What was originally a gamble in the hope of saving a few pennies actually became a fun activity which produced a couple of pieces I am delighted to show off, while saving me around £300!

I would encourage anyone who’s considering having a go at their own pottery masterclass to go for it.

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