Feats of clay - why not try your hand at pottery?

Rae Hayman demonstrates his pottery skills to Mollie and Anwen.

Rae Hayman demonstrates his pottery skills to Mollie and Anwen. - Credit: Matt Adams

If you've been inspired by lockdown binge-viewing of The Great Pottery Throw Down and wanted to get clay between your fingers, then why not sign up for a bespoke tuition class in one of Hertfordshire's most picturesque villages?

PotterRae is a small studio located in the beautiful community of Walkern, run by Rae Hayman, a former electronics engineer who turned to pottery as a therapeutic alternative to his long career designing microchips.

He specialises in tuition, classes and pottery workshops for individuals or groups, offering a quiet moment of creativity away from the pressures of daily life, as the feel of clay squidging between your fingers eases away the stresses of the wider world.

Rae said: "Working with your hands is a brilliant way to calm the mind and I am passionate about sharing this with anyone that wants to get involved.

"I think everyone, regardless of how creative you might think you are, can benefit from the outlet of making and learning techniques with clay, so get in touch and let’s work together."

One of the pigs prior to going in the kiln.

One of the pigs prior to going in the kiln. - Credit: Matt Adams

Looking for a way to entertain the kids during the endless summer holidays, we booked a single session with Rae to give our nine-year-old and five-year-old daughters an opportunity to create a cute piggy and ceramic owl decoration, but mum couldn't resist joining in as well.

He mainly works with adults, so we were lucky to get them in for a go, and he provided entertainment in between the pottery with some amateur magic tricks.

Anwen works on her owl.

Anwen works on her owl. - Credit: Matt Adams

Mollie's blue pig.

Mollie's blue pig. - Credit: Rae Hayman

A finished pig by Hillary.

A finished pig by Hillary. - Credit: Rae Hayman

Anwen's finished owl.

Anwen's finished owl. - Credit: Rae Hayman

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Rae is a patient and informative tutor, explaining why a particular practice is best, rather than just instructing on the basic creative process. So the reason why you put a hole in a hollow object is to avoid it blowing up in the kiln.

He teaches by demonstration, and responds to feedback from clients to improve on his designs. So his latest version of an oblong oven dish has soft and rounded corners to avoid food getting stuck in the gaps. This means he constantly evolves the way he works, and your tuition will benefit from his latest designs.

The finished products were surprisingly good, and after being fired in Rae's kiln now occupy pride of place on a shelf in our kitchen. And mum has been back since to carry on her newfound love of pottery with a series of classes away from the kids!

For further information on courses, visit www.potterrae.co.uk