Rosie Hay is the Founder of Rosie Hay Ceramics, who makes handmade ceramic pieces, both wheel thrown and slab built.
How does your creativity present itself? As my business is pottery/ceramics, my creativity presents itself in each piece that I make, from the shape to the design, and right down to the glaze choices and pattern.
What is creative about your work?
Each piece that I make is in it's own way unique. Being handmade there will be some slight variations between one piece to the next, and although I can glaze pieces with the same colours they will all have their own unique design as each piece is individually finished. Its amazing to see what starts out as a lump of clay turn into a functional piece of work - ie. a mug, a bowl, a burner, a spoon-rest, a vase, a teapot - I get such a kick out of it!
What is your most used item / software / app in your work? Apart from my pottery wheel and kiln, I would say my most used item would be some of my pottery tools. So, for example, I use my metal kidney tool to help shaping at the throwing stage. I also use it when I'm trimming each piece and I use it again to scrape off excess glaze at the final stage of making, ahead of going into the kiln. I use Instagram/Facebook predominantly to share my small business publicly, and I run my website through Wix, which has an app I can access through my phone to keep an eye on orders etc.
What is the biggest challenge you face? I guess it's getting my products out there to be seen by the general public to engage with prospective customers. Over 2020 all fairs were cancelled due to covid, so I've concentrated on Instagram and Facebook as a way to share my work. As I only set up my small business at the end of 2019 I'm still fairly new to it all so feel I have a lot to learn. Having confidence in yourself and your products plays a big part in it too and, as I'm a bit camera shy, I've had to try to overcome that to put a face to the name behind my business. I'm hoping to be a lot more visible online in 2021. Another challenge is time management - as a product based business, time is always of the essence.
How do you deal with that?
I created a website so that I could add my products on there for sale, and at the end of November I had my first online shop update which went really well. So instead of face-to-face fairs, it felt like an online fair instead. I've also started to record myself making some of my work and share the videos to my Instagram and Facebook pages, showing behind the scenes stages of making which people seem to like. I've had some other small businesses get in touch to stock some of my products in the New Year so I will be getting stuck into making stock to meet those orders and venturing into the land of trade/wholesale and feel this is a good way to get my products out there and seen by new audiences.
Regarding time management, I will be doing a lot more planning for 2021 as I wasn't really working to any structured plans during 2020. I think to plan ahead will encourage me to manage my time a lot better.
How do you top up your creative cup?
For now I just get out and experiment in my studio with a hands on approach. I love trying new things and seeing how it works out.
When Covid restrictions have eased I would love to attend workshops to learn new techniques but for now I'm quite happy to just keep on making and experimenting with my own ideas. I also watch a lot of YouTube videos of pottery making and can't wait for The Great Pottery Throwdown to return in January!
What podcast / book / person would you recommend to another creative freelancer?
I would recommend following Lucy Sheridan on Instagram. I've learned a lot both on a personal level and with regards to business. Lucy has recommended a book called The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks. I haven't read it yet but it's definitely one that I will get on her recommendation.