When I sit at my wheel, I love nothing more than to make useful pieces for the table and for busy kitchens. My aim is then to transform them into something striking and beautiful with hand-painted images of flora and fauna, all finished with colourful glazes. All of my designs are hand-painted on bisque ware, some of which use a wax resist technique, which reveals the qualities of the different clays. And what inspires me? I am as likely to be influenced by the hedgehog that lives under my garden shed as I am by the perfect forms of the ancient potters of Japan.
For the first time I will be selling my embroidery designs on small hoops, ideal for gifts as hanging decorations.
My main career over the past 30 years has been as an actress and writer under the name Sheila Kelley. I am most recognised for the many films and plays of Mike Leigh, Alan Bennett and Stephen Bill. I have also worked in all the major theatres in London as well as other cities around the country.
As a writer I have been published by HarperCollins after winning the Ian St James Short Story Prize in the mid-1990s. I was awarded the Shetland Literary Prize after my play ‘Christina’ toured the islands and represented Shetland in the Glasgow City of Culture Festival.
While at home, I enjoy playing the fiddle and guitar and for several years was a member of the Irish band, Betty’s Kitchen.
But over the past 20 years, after my pottery training at Warwickshire College, I have built up my own small studio in the basement of my home. So today, I enjoy making and exhibiting my work with others, both locally and around the country.