As new members of our Chatham County community, Chatham Park is powering our Go See This series this year because art is an integral part of Chatham County’s identity. They join us in inviting you to Go See This . . .
Early this year, British-born potter Hamish Jackson was busy building up attendance for his studio classes and creating pottery for sales and exhibitions. His apprenticeship with local potter Mark Hewitt had finished, so Hamish was focusing on his own classes and sales of his pottery. In March, the pandemic changed everything.
“I had all these plans in the spring and summer, but everything was cancelled due to COVID-19,” he says. “I found myself with unexpected time on my hands, so I spent a month developing Pottery Boot Camp Online. It’s a fun and engaging class for anyone with access to clay and a wheel.”
Hamish worked as Mark Hewitt’s apprentice for four years, putting in the work to learn the intricacies of his craft. “I met Mark when he was teaching in Italy. I heard he took on apprentices, so I just kept emailing and badgering him until he took me on. I had to wait about a year and a half, but then an opening arose, so my wife and I moved to North Carolina so I could begin the apprenticeship. A lot of what I teach in Boot Camp was learned through my time at Mark’s studio.”
The beauty of Hamish’s Pottery Boot Camp course is that you can sign up at any time and you can do it all at home or in a public studio. Once you’ve registered, you’ll receive a comprehensive handbook as a PDF document, which outlines the 10-week course. The course begins with guidance on the tools you’ll need and how to prepare and recycle your clay, followed by individual lessons on different types of bowls, cylinders, flower pots, mugs, pitchers, and jars, culminating in a detailed lesson on making tea pots. Each participant can also schedule a one-on-one Zoom call with Hamish to troubleshoot issues that they may be struggling with.
Each week’s lesson includes a comprehensive set of resources. “As part of each week’s lesson in the handbook, there’s a description of my thoughts about the shape of the pottery we’ll be working on, a drawing of exactly what I’m looking for, a reading that relates to it, and video demonstrations,” says Hamish. “The videos are quite helpful because you can use them at your own pace. When I teach in person, I’ll do only one demonstration and then the class gets on with it. But with these videos, I demonstrate each pot several times and hone in on specific skills. Unlike an in-person demo, you can pause and rewind, too!”
Since all of the participants are on their own at home, Hamish created a private Facebook group for them to connect with each other and share pictures of their pieces. “People can register for the course at any time, so the participants in the Facebook group are all at different stages within the course. People have been very encouraging towards each other.”
The course is open to people who are relatively new to pottery and to those who have been at it for years. “The course is appropriate for all levels, even if you’ve been doing it for 20 years as a hobby,” says Hamish. “Making pottery is like playing a musical instrument; you have to put in the hours of practice. A lot of people don’t have the framework and associated tasks to build on their skills. The course is great for people looking to dramatically improve their skills on the wheel and gain confidence with advanced techniques like pulling handles and making lids that fit.”
- What: Pottery Boot Camp
- When: Open enrollment
- Where: Your home studio, Facebook, and Zoom
- Cost: Normally $175; through June, $140
- For more information about the course: visit https://www.hamishjacksonpottery.com/shop/pottery-boot-camp-online
- Questions?: Email Hamish directly at firstname.lastname@example.org