I sometimes work at a community pottery facility close to my home. I have used it for quite a few years now, and it has been running for 23 years under the name of Artbase studios. Run by the council, it provided a warm, supportive environment to anyone who wanted to drop in and make a pot. There was no curriculum and no teaching as such, but if you wanted to know how to do something, skilled instruction was at hand. I once took a friend of mine who fancied having a go, and her quote perhaps best summed it up.
"This place is like something out of a dream," she said.
I couldn't agree more. What a magical place it is. There are professional potters, extremely skilled amateurs, people who've never tried it before and everyone in between. There are people in their twenties through to pensioners.
I have learned so much there, and would never have had the chance to experiment and grow in my own practice without it. I have made good friends and have grown as a person and a potter there.
Sadly, Salford council don't see it the same way and we are closed as of 29th June 2008.
We have formed a committee and a group under the name of Salford Community Pottery in order to try to continue autonomously, but at the time of writing, the future looks pretty bleak.
I'll keep you posted...