The celebration of our 'Made By Me' campaign continues, this week with a very special Founder Edition. Stone Studio Founder, Jennifer Redmond, shares a snippet of her incredible journey with the art of pottery and its impact on her self-esteem and confidence, a transformative journey that eventually empowered her to start a studio of her own.
Q: Can you tell us about the first time you tried pottery?
A: The first time I tried pottery, I came home on such a high. It was something I had always wanted to try, but it took me ages to build up the courage to sign up for a class. I've always been a bit shy when it comes to meeting new people, and frankly, I was quite intimidated by the whole idea of it. But when I arrived at the studio for the first time, I was greeted with nothing but kindness and compassion. The instructor was incredibly patient and welcoming, and as soon as I got my hands on the clay, I became completely lost in the moment. I can still remember the first piece that I made, it sort of looked like a wonky little noodle bowl, and I can still remember how proud I felt when I finally brought it home to show my husband!
Q: Can you share with us a little bit about your journey with pottery?
A: After that first class, I got totally hooked. I signed up for a four-week course and after that had finished they couldn't get rid of me if they tried. I would drop in two, three, four times a week to throw. It didn't help that the studio was right around the corner from my job, so I would often pop in after work, too. After a few months, the owner of the studio asked if I wanted to volunteer at the studio every Sunday in exchange for free studio use. I said yes (obviously!) and used the opportunity to learn as much as I could from the owner about everything and anything.
About one year in, the owner asked if I wanted to start teaching, and little did I know, that would completely change my life. I have never thought about teaching before, but something about sharing this passion with others ignited a spark inside of me that I never knew existed. I spent the next few years working and teaching in the studio, absorbing as much information as I could from whoever was willing to share it with me.
Fast forward a few years, and my (Aussie) husband and I decided to make the jump across the pond and settle down in the Northern Rivers of NSW. I was looking for a similar studio to join, but I couldn't quite find what I was looking for, so I took the opportunity to set up my own home studio and really focus on developing my skills in production pottery. However, I found myself missing the community aspect of working in a community studio. Alas, the idea of Stone Studio came to life.
Q: Where are you on that journey today?
A: Today, we are three years into opening the doors of Stone. We have two studios with over 75 members in total, and it brings me so much joy to be able to share my passion with others and be part of such a thriving and inspiring community of like-minded individuals.
Personally, my focus for the past few years has primarily been on teaching and working to get the two studios humming, however, this year, I'm really looking forward to investing in self-development to push my own skills further, especially when it comes to throwing and glaze development.
Q: What does the art of practising pottery mean to you?
A: For me it's a few things...For starters, it keeps me grounded. Some people run, some people do yoga. For me, it's getting on the wheel. The act of throwing commands such focus, that you can't think about anything else. It forces me to get out of my head, and into my hands.
It's also community. As silly as it might sound, I feel like I've found my people. No matter your background, no matter your age, we all gather over a common love for clay, and I think that's pretty special.
And lastly, as someone who has really struggled with anxiety and low self-esteem, pottery has really helped me grow in self-confidence. I walked into that first class thinking I would be no good at it, but I walked out with a pot. It wasn't the best pot or the prettiest pot, but I was a pot that I made with my own two hands. And that's what I love so much about teaching pottery, anyone can do it. Even if you're terrible at the beginning, if you commit to it and keep practising, you will get better. Every pot you throw will be better than the last, and to be able to see the progression is a pretty awesome feeling.
Head over to our Instagram @stonestudioandco to discover how you could WIN!