Allan Manham‘s pots have a wonderful organic quality that drew me to them from the first time I saw them. So you can imagine how excited I was when Allan agreed to show me around his studio.

My very own Allan Manham pot

My very own Allan Manham pot

Walking down the alleyway that leads to Allan’s Putney studio is like stepping back in time.

Lovely mechanical things in the space around Allan's studio

Lovely mechanical things in the space around Allan's studio

The building that houses his studio must have been there for hundreds of years and he is surrounded by bits of machines and the people who work with them – not a shiny Apple Mac in sight!

Allan working on a coil pot

Allan working on a coil pot

This seems an appropriate environment for a craft in which you are so physically in touch with the materials and the making process. Pottery’s no fun if you don’t like getting your hands dirty. And the texture in the image below really reminds me of the unbeatable feeling of clay in your hands.

Work in progress

Work in progress

I was inspired by how achievable Allan’s space was. The space wasn’t a lot larger than a spare room, and his materials and equipment quite simple. Because he creates hand coiled pots, there’s no need for a big kick-wheel.

Clay rolling area

Clay rolling area

Tools and inspirations

Tools and inspirations

Some of Allan's pots on a plan chest

Some of Allan's pots on a plan chest

His kiln is housed in a separate area and is large enough for one of his largest pots or several smaller ones. His advice is always to buy the biggest kiln you can afford.

Allan's kiln

Allan's kiln

And outside, a simple sawdust-filled metal bin with holes in the side is all he needs to smoke fire his pots, creating distinctive markings.

Smoke firing bin

Smoke firing bin

Inside smoke firing bin

Inside smoke firing bin

A massive thank you to Allan for showing me around. Allan will be taking part in the first weekend of Wandsworth Artists Open Studios 1st – 2nd October, so keep an eye out for more details about that nearer to the time.

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Further reading for the especially geeky: