Julia Dreher of Wanstead Pottery teaching children pottery
It was whilst studying Art and Design during a Foundation course that I first encountered clay, and it was a meeting that would shape my future, albeit via a rather convoluted route

Following the Foundation course, I specialised in Ceramics at Falmouth School of Art, a stunning part of the country to be based. From there, and having moved to London, a chance opportunity secured me my first job, as a leather goods designer. And so began a career that spanned 25 years, took me all around the world, many times, and allowed me the privilege of working with some of the most recognised British retailers and designer brands

My career as a Design Manager ended abruptly however when, following a cancer diagnosis in 2017, I was made redundant. My health and recovery were of course my main focus during this phase but it was around this time that a friend suggested we sign up for a pottery course. I’d dabbled with clay during the intervening years, but my career had been relentless and never afforded me enough time to pursue ceramics, even as a hobby

The chemotherapy treatment had not long ended and I felt that working with clay again would be the positive distraction I needed. I was not wrong. I can only describe the sensation I encountered on entering the pottery on our first day as a kind of epiphany. I felt an overwhelming feeling of belonging, and a realisation that I had ‘come home’. It was quite surreal and that experience marked a fundamental turning point in my life. Following the diagnosis and redundancy my future had been very uncertain but, in that moment, I knew what I had to do

It has taken quite some years to get to this point, my recovery has been slow, but the studio is now complete and I am very much looking forward to welcoming students, young and old, to join me in a calm and inviting space to explore the marvellous medium of clay

I have a fully equipped garden studio in the heart of Wanstead and will be teaching various hand-building techniques and how to throw on the potter’s wheel. The classes will be small and I look forward to you joining me in the studio.