Q+A Lisa Wood-Teall, Potter
What do you like about working with clay?
I love working with a natural product and clay is so tactile. Being a potter is both practical and creative which suits me perfectly. I also enjoy learning new skills – we’re always pushing the boundaries when developing new products so you never stop learning.
How did you first get into ceramics?
I joined Branskome 8 years ago and moved to John Julian in 2012.
What’s been your biggest challenge?
Clay being a natural product responds to the weather and varies from batch to batch. After all, it does come out of the ground, which means there’s never a dull moment. On hot days in the summer we have to be careful that it doesn’t dry out too quickly and in winter drying the clay is now helped by our new drying room.
It was a big learning curve working out the best way of making handles for our mugs. Also perfecting the spouts on the Pouring Mixing Bowls which all have to be pulled by hand and need to nest seamlessly as a Set of 3.
Which John Julian piece do you most enjoy making?
I love making the Fluted Bowl – it is such a beautiful standalone piece which requires a huge amount of fettling. This involves scraping and smoothing each of the edges running vertically up the bowl. There are 24 in total so it takes some work but the result is very pleasing to the eye.
What new piece would you like to see made?
I’d like to see a John Julian jug and some cups and saucers. There are more products in the pipeline for this year.
Town or country?
I’m a country person. Towns are not for me – they make me feel claustrophobic. I love being outdoors and feel very at home in the countryside.
What’s your favourite thing to do at weekends?
I have a polytunnel on a farm where I spend most of my weekends especially in the spring and summer. We have quite a community atmosphere with barbecues and get togethers where we cook and share our produce. I also love to do a bit of wand whittling in my spare time. I sell these through local shops that are into all things mystical.