I’m Niklas and I am this years apprentice at the Barn Pottery which is run by Nic Collins and Sabine Nemet.
In 2013 I finished a three years course at the school for ceramics in Landshut, Bavaria. To develop my pottery skills further I turned up at Nic’s and Sabine’s workshop just to find myself in a work situation that I wasn't used to. The daily business was about preparing wood – sawing, splitting, stacking – and jobs around the workshop, like glaze mixing and clay pugging, kiln packing, firing kilns. In the time spent working with Nic and Sabine it opened my eyes to the wide variety of work that is needed to run a wood firing pottery.
But now I am back again, I have to ask myself: What am I expecting from this year? Is it for improving my wood stacking skills? Am I not fed up with cleaning the kiln shelves?
During the last stay at the Barn Pottery I met some students who came to us with great expectations about making pots all day long.
But the reality for a wood firer is that the time of which is spent on making pots is only a small share of your working day, not only for me as an apprentice, but also for Nic and Sabine themselves. Having that realized and accepted as a part of the process gives me now more freedom in my mind to concentrate on actually that small share that completes a potters’ life – pots. Alongside and through my daily work I desire to study them, read about them and look closer at them than I have ever done before.
And then in the evening, after learning the finer details of stacking wood correctly, I would finally sit down on my wheel, trying to find out what the essence of a good pot is and to bring my thoughts during the day, stacking wood, into practice.
For giving me this great opportunity, many thanks to all the trustees and to everybody who made that possible!
This month, the schedule gives us some spare time for doing some major cleaning up in the garden and around the workshop. So there are plans for building a storage shed for our tons of clay and to cut off some trees for fire wood as well as building a compost toilet.
So I'll keep you up to date