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Turning heads

Words by Hannah Tapping

Capturing an obsession with clay.

Laura Crosland studied ceramics at university: “Having enjoyed using clay during my A-levels, I decided early on that this was going to be my career – I loved it. Clay seems to have that effect on people! It becomes an obsession. After university I worked for a couple of different potters before moving to Cornwall, where I completed a year-long apprenticeship at the Leach Pottery, funded by a charity called Adopt a Potter. This was an amazing opportunity to further my skills and knowledge and prepare me for setting up on my own.”

All of Laura’s work is thrown at the potter’s wheel and then intricately carved by hand; she has always been fascinated by patterns, especially geometric and tessellating forms. To her, a pot is a blank canvas to decorate: “I love figuring out how my designs will fit on to each pot and flow over the form. I am also inspired by flowers and leaves that grow in pattern formations, these suit my more curvy forms. I plan my geometric designs by marking out a grid on to my pot, then drawing each shape of the pattern. I then carve around each of these shapes, so that they appear raised from the pot, which creates interesting textures with my glazes. I then use multiple glazes on each pot, which create rich colours where they all blend together.”

During her time with the Leach Pottery, Laura spent the first year training to become a production potter: “This means I now have the ability to efficiently make the same pot, with the same shape and dimensions repeatedly. It’s a difficult and very useful skill. After the first year I was then an employee, as a production potter making Leach standard ware. My time in the studio was so valuable on my journey, learning from potters who had trained all over the world. It has influenced my work in so many ways, giving me the skills and confidence to go on to make my own unique pots. I now teach on the intensive throwing courses at the Leach Pottery.”

Makers and Doers is the latest project by photographer Adj Brown, a series of images capturing Cornish artists, craft makers and creators. With a sense of curiosity, Adj explores each of their personal spaces and work processes, offering a rare glimpse behind the scenes. “It’s a privilege to witness these skilled and passionate individuals bring their creations to life and get the chance to showcase these fascinating people doing interesting things.” “I was delighted to collaborate with Adj,” says Laura, “I really love his style of photography, capturing the person in their environment and showing personality within an image. A studio is such a personal space that you spend a lot of time in, so it is wonderful to have photography that captures the essence of this.”

Laura will be taking part in an open studio event during St Ives September Festival at the Gaolyard Studios, Dove Street, St Ives TR26 2LZ, from 13th September.


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