Established last year by Keith Webster, Ravn Clay on Ford and Etal Estates benefited from a successful Kickstarter campaign to raise funds to buy its first kiln.
“The support was amazing,” he said, “and thanks to lots of backers, I’ve spent the last 12 months organising the space, developing my practice and teaching, and of course making lots of pots!”
The ambition behind the project though is to improve access and opportunity for people in the local area, not just to make pottery for people to buy and enjoy.
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“When I wanted to start to learn pottery, I had to travel to Edinburgh for evening classes,” Keith recalled. “It was a good hour’s drive either way from Berwick, and for many people that just isn’t practical.”
Keith believes that working with clay has the potential to be more than a messy diversion, or a wet-weather activity with the family.
“Studies have demonstrated that crafts can help alleviate symptoms of anxiety, depression, loneliness, and even dementia, helping people cope with different negative feelings while offering a social support,” he revealed.
“Put more simply, a craft, and pottery in the case of Ravn Clay, can offer practical distraction (to avoid stress), contemplation (problem solving and thinking skills) and self-development (to support self-esteem and confidence).
“Of course, people might just want to make their own mug, and that’s fine. But by making a mug, you are giving yourself time to step outside of the everyday; do something creative, practical and messy - like we humans have been doing for years!”
And after the upheavals of the Covid pandemic, he believes that in some small way, Ravn Clay can offer local people and visitors the chance to promote their own well-being.
Workshops are being held in the studio at Heatherslaw, with all the materials and tools provided. Participants will leave their work with Keith to be fired, glazed and finished.
He said: “When someone’s finished work is collected, or arrives in the post, they will have seen how they took their ideas and efforts and transformed a lump of wet clay into something unique and timeless. How inspiring is that!”
For more details visit www.ravnclay.co.uk