I wasn’t sure really what to expect, I knew they were a small business growing very fast so I was a little apprehensive of how I could benefit them, I didn’t think my ceramic skills were up to a very high standard and I thought I’d be a bit of a nuisance. It turns out that Glosters are a much bigger business than I though and have big plans of expanding, I was very lucky to be a part of their growth by helping them create their new ‘Hub’ which is a creative space for anyone to come in and make their own work or offer workshops. I also was allowed to make and glaze some products for their new supplier ‘John Lewis’ which is a big step for the business, it also made me very excited to know I’ve made something that’s been sold there, I did not expect to have such a great opportunity from them!
I’m quite happy to work on my own and get given a task to complete, the potter was very busy with orders so most times I was given the freedom to make anything. I’ve realised I’m good at adapting to what needs to be done, at the start of the week I was quite slow at making, this is probably because I was new to the environment and the methods of making but gradually through the weeks I was improving and making quite quick to meet the demand they were expecting.
I spent all of my time in the workshop making, I was supposed to spend my time 50/50 between the shop and the workshop but I realised my passion mainly is in the making, this did not stop me taking part in the marketing side of their business as they’re constantly thinking of ways they can gain customers. They’ve recently started taking their social media advertising very seriously as they’ve seen themselves grow rapidly, social media has gained their customers trust seeing how they make their products which has resulted in them being loyal to the business. Having all your customers updated with new stock can boost sales as well, people have started to buy their products because of the name instead of the product, they have many orders all ready for Christmas decorations and dishes that haven’t been designed yet! We discussed new methods for them to try meet more makers and Myfanwy mentioned that she’s made friends with other makers through Instagram and have meet up with them in fairs, this helped them find new stockists for their shop which they could trust and guarantee quality in the products they sell. To try find more makers we decided to make the hashtag #OnTheWheelWednesday where people would Instagram what they’re making that day, this was a success as I’ve discovered many new makers, it’s great for people to see what each other are doing.
I would have liked to develop my communication skills, if I had a good idea or used a good method of making it was hard for me to persuade them to consider some of these findings. They have an extruder in the workshop which they don’t use but it would be a great method for them to create handles for their mugs, it would save them a lot of time instead of pulling a handle or slip casting a handle but because they have never used it before their quite reluctant to experiment with it.
At the start of the work experience they were quite eager to have new products in the shop so they wanted me to experiment using the equipment and materials they had. Because of timing I wasn’t able to produce anything up to standard I could try to sell in the shop to see if people would be interested in, this is because they had to priorities orders they already had and I had to help out making them instead, I wasn’t very confident either in my ceramic skills at the time but towards the end of the work experience I was much better at making. If I would have had four extra weeks, I would have definitely designed products in their style and tested selling them in the shop, it would have been a great experience to market them and see what people are interested in.
This work experience has definitely confirmed my desire in working with the area I’ve chosen to study, with each project we get I always consider adding an element of ceramics into it but I’m never confident enough to do so, because our projects tend to be short there is no room for error if we’re expected to produce a final piece. Because I’ve been making continuously using clay for over four weeks now I’ve learnt a lot of techniques and methods which would have took me much longer to perfect if I was learning through trial and error, it was very useful having the potter teach me all his tips and tricks which he’s perfected over the years. I don’t want to focus specifically in ceramics because I still have a strong desire to experiment with the juxtaposition of materials.