“The sheer joy I felt was such that I knew I had found what I wanted to do,” she said.
She was encouraged by her late partner John to follow her dreams and she went to Chesterfield College to study ceramics followed by university at Derby leaving with a firsta class honours degree in Applied Art in 2000.
Bouyed by her success at university and armed with new knowledge about colour techniques she decided to become a full time ceramicist and 15 years later she works from her beautiful cottage in a peaceful hamlet near Matlock and has a flourishing business.
She is particularly thrilled that this year she has been been awarded a coveted place at the Earth and Fire Ceramics Festival at Rufford from June 26-28. She was also be part of the Belper Arts Festival Arts Trail on May 3 and 4.
“It has been hard work but I am pleased with how it has progressed, but I couldn’t have done it without the support of my now grown-up sons and John,” she said.
There is no potter’s wheel in Ann’s Upper Lumsdale studio as all her vessels are handbuilt.
“I am not keen on machines as such and I would rather do everything by hand. It might be more laborious and time consuming but it is just me and the clay and that is what my work is about,” she explained.
She says that she creates the clay she works with by building up a giant sandwich of different clays and colours. “This method of making echoes the asymmetry of the rocks, earth and trees that inspire my work,” she said.
“Each piece I make is unique and a great deal of love and care has gone into each one.”
Her vessels, with or without lids can be used as vases or as decoration. She also specialises in making funerary urns and has a range of tiles.
n Ann provides introductory handbuilding workshops and also gives demonstrations to groups.
Go to her website http://www.annbates.co.uk for more information.