Ex-head teacher Bridget Hemmings has always had a passion for designing, creating, and making things. Three-years ago she took the ultimate leap and gave up her successful teaching career to become a potter. She now has her own online shop, and specialises in crackle glaze porcelain and pieces with gold lustre rims. Not bad for a business that started at her kitchen table in Cheddar.
Bridget: "Nearly three-years ago I gave up my full-time job as a headteacher in Somerset and started to become a potter. My garage was converted to a beautifully light and airy ceramics studio, where I now spend a great deal of my time, although when I started it was run from the kitchen table! I love being creative and working to create unique pieces, and specialise in porcelain ceramics. Recently I have been exploring – crackle glazes, mold making, and using gold lustre rims to add the finishing touches to some of my work. I also make mosaics from broken vintage china and run workshops."
Bridget was brought up in a creative household and credits her grandmother as early inspiration. It’s her own family who now give her ideas, motivation and support.
Bridget: "I have always designed and made things since I was a child. When my children were young I had a small textile business, designing, making and selling children’s clothes. Then for many years my teaching career took over. It has only been since I finished in education that I seriously took up a creative life style again. I run the company, though my family help me and give me inspiration. And my granny used to make lots of things with us so I have always been creative."
Bridget also received a lot of support from her friends early on in her pottery adventure, and she credits them – as well her her family – for inspiring her to open her own online shop.
Bridget: "Two years ago I started selling my ceramics. I had started to make so many pieces and people started wanted to buy my work so I set up my Etsy shop and joined CHAFF – Cheddar Arts Fringe Festival. When I first started selling pieces it was mosaics made from broken china, but as I became more proficient with the porcelain, I started to sell these pieces too."
Bridget now creates stunning individual porcelain pieces, and specialises in gold lustre rims and mosaics. But it’s her work with crackle glaze that constantly excites and surprises her.
Bridget: "My favourite pieces are my crackle glaze pieces. I think it is because you never know how they are going to look when they come out of the kiln. I get inspiration from different exhibitions and travelling. For example I went to the Grayson Perry exhibition in Bristol which was incredible; very inspiring and thought provoking. I am also inspired by Cheddar Arts Fringe Festival and I am a CHAFF member. We exhibit on the May Day bank holiday weekend each year. I have also done the Made in Bristol Fair, and last year I took part in the Nyland Manor Christmas Fair at the end of November."
So why does Bridget love Somerset?
Bridget: "I love the landscape and the countryside; how rural it is. It is such a beautiful county with so many different aspects. The people are also great and my family live here!"