A fortnight ago I was lucky enough to spend the weekend on Speyside. We were spoiled with spectacular weather and I managed to squeeze in something that I’ve been wanting to do for some time… To pay a visit to Thomas Gough at the Speyside Pottery. Thomas has very kindly agreed to let me witness one of his wood firings. So far I’ve been unable to take him up on it, but it was a treat to finally meet him in person after a few months of exchanged emails.

Once a Chemistry teacher, Thomas was taught pottery in Argyll, by Joe Finch. It was fascinating to be shown round his gallery, studio and kiln room; and to learn about his process. Thomas single fires his pots, a process believed to give a greater depth to glazes, but often it carries more risk. It is amazing how in spending a relatively short time with another potter you can learn so much. From simple tips to do with wiring off thrown pieces from the bat, to ideas on clay storage (an old freezer), and mixing (an ancient industrial dough mixer) – just brilliant. Things that could take a lifetime to work out, but take seconds to pass on.

I’m becoming increasingly intrigued by different potters’ studios and workshops, maybe because I am dreaming of working in my new one soon.

Thomas Gough’s studio

Ludie Rie’s studio (photo: Wikimedia Commons, by Andreas Praefcke)

The Leach Pottery (photo: Wikimedia Commons, by Jordanhill School D&T Dept)