Words and photo by Tristan Ovington.
For Nikki Williams, the 55-year-old business owner of Pottery Moon Gifts, her first experience of clay in 2001 was love at first throw.
“I have been doing pottery as a hobby for many years after attending evening classes,” she explained. “About eight years ago, a friend asked me to make her a bowl for a wedding gift and then other orders started coming in for bespoke items such as anniversary and birthday gifts.
“During Covid, even though I had a full-time job and I was working from home, I loved being with clay, as it has therapeutic qualities. The joys of opening the kiln to see how your items have turned out is very addictive.”
So what does Nikki enjoy about the process of making and selling clay pieces?
“I love the idea that someone has bought an item that they love and has chosen to display it in their home or give it as a gift. I put a lot of love into even my smallest pieces as they come from my heart when I’m making them. Each piece is a small part of myself.”
Like many small businesses, Nikki’s journey has not been easy. “Starting a small business is hard at any time but even harder when the cost of living is so high and people don’t have much spare money to spend.
“My kiln previously cost £5 a firing but that has doubled to £10 which has an obvious impact. I have learnt many lessons in the past 18 months to understand how to make the business work using online sales, craft fairs and selling from different outlets like the wonderful Stuff Emporium.
Despite the hard work, it’s always worth it. “I designed a house sign for a customer last year for her villa in Greece. This year she came back and asked me to design another one.
“That makes me so happy that not only did they love the first one, they entrusted me to create another for them. Feedback from customers is also very special. It is one of the highlights of having people purchase your handmade pieces and appreciating the fact that you made every part of it.
“The Great Pottery Throwdown has meant that pottery is more accessible for people to try than ever before. Just have a go and you never know what skill you might develop that you didn’t know you had.”