Meet The Makers is a series of interviews supporting our resident artists here at Know the Rose. From ceramics, to art prints and bespoke gift cards - when you shop with us, not only are you supporting our vision, but also those of local makers who are passionate about their craft. 

Hi Janette! In this series we introduce our makers here at Know the Rose. What is it that you make for us? 
I make pottery vases on the wheel in various sizes and shapes.

How long have you been creating for and what was your career journey prior to JK Clay?
I have been creating pottery for over 40 years with a 15 year break in between. I have been back working with clay since 2019. Pottery was my hobby when I worked full time in the banking industry but after having my family I decided to pursue pottery as my full time career as I no longer wanted an office job and it was the best decision I ever made.

What inspires you to create everyday?
I love sitting at my wheel and working with clay. It is so therapeutic and very rewarding when you see the end results of your creations. I get great satisfaction from being creative. Trying new designs, glazes and clays is challenging but allows me to continue to create new and different pieces and maintains my interest in this craft. I love the thought that I am creating pieces for others to use and enjoy in their daily lives.

Could you give us a little insight into your creative process? What steps are involved in the making of your pieces?
  • First you cut and weigh the clay out to ensure all pieces will be similar in size when throwing. This is essential if you want to do production throwing of the same item.
  •  You then knead the clay to remove any air bubbles and inconsistencies in the clay. The clay is now ready to be thrown on the wheel.
  • You make your piece on the wheel and then allow it to dry to leather hard stage.
  •  Once the pot is leather hard you return the pot to the wheel and turn the base. This step tidies up the pot and trims unnecessary clay.
  • The pot is now completed and left to dry thoroughly. 
  •  Once dry the pot is then put in the kiln for its first firing which is a bisque firing which takes approx 10 hours
  • The pot is removed from the kiln, dusted and then has its base waxed to repel any glaze. It is then glazed by dipping or pouring the glaze over the piece. Any excess glaze is wiped off the waxed base.
  •  The piece is then loaded back into the kiln for a second firing which is the glaze firing which takes approx 11 hours.
  •  After 2 days of cooling, the kiln is unloaded and each piece has its base sanded to smooth the surface. 
  • We now have our finished piece.

Can you tell us one thing people don’t know about your work?
I don’t think people know that I sold at the markets for 14 years. I also don’t think people are aware of the time it takes for a piece to be completed and that I make all my own glazes from tests and trials I have done over many years of research.

How do you practice sustainability in your craft or everyday life?
I recycle all my clay that has been discarded after making and trimming my pots. This clay is then used again to make more pots. No clay is wasted. I use recycled boxes for packaging together with biodegradable bubble wrap. 

What’s been the best part of running your own business?
Running my own business was beneficial when I was bringing up a family as it allowed me to be home for them.  I was independent and my own boss which was a lovely position to be in. You have to be disciplined but it is also very rewarding and satisfying running  your own business in this creative industry.

What’s been the biggest learning curve with your craft? 
Knowing that not everything you produce will be a success. You have to realise that the public are your scrutineers and they may or may not like what you make. Also you have to accept that you will have breakages and losses along the way and you have to be resilient.

What’s your favourite quote to live by? 
Take each day as it comes.

Explore our range of JK Clay handmade vases here
Follow Janette on Instagram here.

June 28, 2022 — Rosie Browning