Last year, as colleagues started dashing out of the door at 5.30pm heading for pottery class instead of the pub, a friend-of-a-friend started a ceramics business – and my Instagram feed filled up with covetable crockery. It was clear: pottery is hot right now.
Whether you’re an entry-level hobbyist, a seasoned ceramicist, or you’d just like to buy some nice pots for your gaff, Turning Earth E10 – a new centre for ceramics in Leyton opening this weekend with a two-day makers’ market – should be on your radar.
“We provide courses and memberships for people who want to come to the studio at flexible times and take their hobby more seriously,” explains founder and creative director Tallie Maughan. “Anyone who wants to join is welcome – all of the equipment is provided as well as technical support. We’ll have a weekend ceramics market twice a year so people can come and purchase locally made work, watch demos and have a go themselves. Plus we’ll be opening a gallery, so there’ll be a place to come and buy locally made pots right here in Leyton.”
Tallie chose E10 for the location of the second Turning Earth (the first is in Hoxton) in part because of the regeneration that’s happening in the borough. “The Argall Avenue estate is now well lit, with cycle paths throughout and right next to the newly opened Lea Bridge Road station, making it accessible across London,” she explains.
“Rather than just big industry, the area is now attractive to smaller makers and the local community. We want to contribute to the area as part of a wider mix of small creative businesses providing cultural and community based activities, especially as places like Hackney become increasingly gentrified and inaccessible for artists.”
The centre is located on the top floor of a newly-renovated former engineering factory in Argall Avenue, an 8500 square foot space that’s flooded with natural light, filled with hanging plants and furnished with pieces made down the road at Building BloQs in Tottenham, another open-access makers-space.
“The whole building has recently been taken on by creative community company Mentmore Studios and converted into seven spaces for medium-size making businesses including several furniture makers and artisanal bread makers Pavillion,” says Tallie. Caffeine addicts will be happy to hear that Leyton Street Food Market regulars Husvagn are opening a new café, Lighthus, out front selling coffee and lunch.
Tallie puts the current popularity of pottery down to our increasingly tech driven and uncertain world and our need to connect in a more meaningful way. “Modern life has deprived many of us of the simple act of making and we spend our lives working almost entirely mentally. Making a pot is relatively simple to learn and immediately rewarding. Economic and ecological uncertainty are causing many people to become disillusioned with the rat race and instead want to enjoy the present and engage with the world in a more deliberate, responsible way. Putting your hands in clay is a very basic way to feel part of the world around you.”
The centre unlatched its the doors to the first members last week. This weekend sees it officially opened by local MP Stella Creasy and there’s an everybody-welcome two-day market to celebrate the occasion.
“Drop by any time between 12 noon and 6pm on Saturday and Sunday to see demos and purchase ceramic pieces from 60 different makers,” says Tallie. “There’ll be food and drink available, and it’ll be a fantastic festive occasion for everybody.”
Who knows, it could be the start of a whole new career.