Couple turn to ceramics for a calmer life

When the nine-to-five grind is wearing you down you might fantasise of freeing yourself from the confines of a regular salary, but few of us ever find ourselves actually living the dream.

Not so for Lesley and Terry Nason of hotHouse Ceramics.

A few years ago both of them were working in demanding careers – Lesley as a commercial textile designer in the fashion industry and her husband as an engineer.

Now they spend their days in the delightful surroundings of the award-winning Sudbury Courtyard working with clay and chatting to visitors to their gallery.

They both have broad grins as they explain that the stress that was blighting their former life has all but disappeared and they couldn’t be happier.

Lesley switched using her creative skills from textiles to ceramics more than ten years ago and made it her full time occupation in 2011, encouraged by an interest in her work by those who saw it. 

Her porcelain wall art and jewellery has a distinctive look and is clearly made by an artist who loves surface patterns.

“I am inspired by the Derbyshire countryside and hand draw the detail of my images into the soft porcelain so each one of them is unique,” she says.

The ceramicist threw herself into her new entrepreneurial life by fitting in as many art trails, festivals and fairs as she could, while creating her work from a studio in the garden at the couple’s Egginton home. 

Despite having a full-time job himself, Terry helped to get the business off the ground by travelling to the events with her and loading the work in and out of their car.

“He was my roadie for those first few years but now he is displaying his own work alongside me and I couldn’t be more pleased,” said Lesley cheerfully.

When you see the quality of Terry’s functional stoneware you will be amazed to learn that he had never touched clay until two years ago.

“I was off work sick and wanted something to do. Lesley had a potters wheel in the studio and I had been watching The Great Pottery Throw Down on the TV so I thought I would have a go myself,” he explained.

“Well it turned out I couldn’t do it just like that, but I decided I would like to learn so I booked myself on a course at Middleport Pottery where the programme was filmed.

“That was it for me I was hooked. I just love working with clay and experimenting with multi-coloured glazes. 

“Last year I decided I wanted to join Lesley and handed in my notice at work.  It was definitely the right decision to make and I have no regrets at all.

“This studio in the Sudbury Courtyard came up at that time and we thought it would be perfect as both a place to work and a gallery. We really enjoy being part of the creative community here.

“It is also good to be able to separate our home from the studio. It stops me becoming distracted by household chores apart from anything else,” he said with a laugh.

Sudbury Courtyard is next to the National Trust’s Sudbury Hall just a few minutes from the A50. For more details go to http://www.sudburyestate.com

To find out more about Lesley’s work go to http://www.lesleynasonceramics.co.uk and both Lesley and Terry have facebook pages.