Outside Interest: Pottery

Written by: Jez Abbott
Published on: 22 Oct 2014

Josie Bateman

Northamptonshire County Council flood and water manager Josie Bateman talks about her enthusiasm for pottery.

How did you get into pottery?

I've always loved art and after I graduated in town planning in 2003 I decided to join a local pottery class to balance my work life with something that gave me enjoyment and, hopefully, a bit of relaxation. I honed my skills and now take on commissions, but most of the time I do it for the love of the art of pottery. I prefer making functional items such as plates and vases rather than ornamental pieces and a lot of what I create I give away as presents.

What does it involve?

Wednesday evening is class night at the Methodist chapel in the village of Roade. On goes the pinny; out comes the clay. I spend three hours throwing the clay and creating pottery with an organic decorative theme – many of my vases come out of the firing kiln writhing in glazed insect and vegetation motifs. Some of them have gone into exhibitions; others have even won prizes in local competitions, thanks to valuable instruction from from the couple who run the evening class. All this for a £3.50 class fee plus whatever you spend on materials – great value. 

Why do you do it?

I do pottery for the love it: it's very relaxing and a fantastic way of showing my artistic flair – it chills me out massively and gives me the chance to be creative. Ironically, I'm a bit of a tidiness freak so perhaps this is a kind of outlet, an excuse to get dirty as well as creative.

What’s the toughest thing about it?

Toughest thing is squeezing in my outside interest to the day – my planning career is a highly time-consuming career involving plenty of evening meetings and long working days.

What’s the most rewarding thing about it?

Seeing what you've made at the end of the process is very pleasing while creating something that serves a useful purpose adds to the sense of fulfilment.

Are there any similarities between your day job and doing pottery?

My workplace team is very small and flood and water management is a fairly new service area for us, so I have to be creative in my role and come up with innovative ideas. The best service delivery is often creative.

Do you have any unusual interests or hobbies that you would like to tell us about? If so, please email planning@haymarket.com