Tell us a bit about CLAE and how it all started
Im Josie and I’m a 28 year old potter from Kent. My dog Alice is a 7 year old golden doodle (she’s also from Kent). I didn’t really choose the pottery life but it chose me! I have always needed a creative outlet in life and just for a bit of fun and something to do 3 years ago I joined an evening pottery for beginners workshop with the charity ‘clayspace’ in Margate Kent and thus my - what can only be described as an obsession - began. Throwing pots on a wheel became so therapeutic for me and I would look forward to that 2 hour Thursday evening session so much. The people at clayspace became friends and the kind and nurturing atmosphere only made me enjoy pottery more. Soon I was volunteering in the pottery helping the owner Bridget with a bit of teaching and tech work. It was loading and unloading the kiln and reclaiming and wedging up clay which really did teach me how to manage and set up my own pottery.
When we moved from Faversham To Folkestone I decided to take the plunge and do pottery full time so I bought the equipment and set up a studio in the garden and haven’t really looked back since. I create functional wares inspired by nature. I’m all about tactile and natural product that make you happy to hold and use. Making things that I want in my house and having them well received by stockist and customers gives me so much joy. Often I am the most inspired when walking my gorgeous dog Alice.
Tell us about Alice and how she came into your life
Alice, as I said at the beginning is 7 years old and my husband and I bought her as a puppy as soon as we were married. I had wanted a dog for years and years and begged my mum for one as a child so as soon as I was in the position to get one I didn’t hesitate. Alice brings so much joy to mine and my husbands life, she really is a member of the family.
How does your Alice fit into your general working day?
Being a studio dog really is a full time job for her, she especially likes basking in the sunshine of my studio door listening to the dull hum of my wheel as it turns. Every now and again making me ruin a pot by making me jump as she barks in her sleep! She is my shadow when working and never leaves my side. Working from home can be quite hard but Alice reminds me to get outside and go for a walk which refreshes us both.
Living in Folkestone is fantastic as it’s such a dog friendly town. Most cafes and restaurants are dog friendly and in the summer the beach is Alice and my favourite spot. She’s obsessed with fetch nearly as much as I am with clay and absolutely loves a salty tennis ball from the sea.
What essentials do you always have on you when heading out for a dog walk, and what do you carry them in?
We tried tonnes of collars that were not quite right until one day while shopping in east London we saw a kintails collar and lead. Alice has the navy blue and I wouldn’t leave home without it. She’s mostly off lead and her CLÆ dog tag keeps her safe. As I said she loves fetch so I always keep a couple of tennis balls incase she loses one to the tide and a really ugly luminous orange ball thrower to save me having to pick up her gross slimy ball! She has a bottle of water and a small CLÆ dog water bowl with her name embossed on the side for when we stop and have a drink as she gets very thirsty, especially in the summer months. She also always wears a bandana because, well you know! All this I carry in a tote bag I got free with my glasses from the company cubitts!
What adventures do you both have planned with Alice have planned for later this year?
This year has been a funny one with this lockdown. My husband and I volunteered in Uganda for a month at the beginning of the year while my mum kept Alice company and it was such an amazing experience but hard not being with her for so long! We do, however, want to go back to Africa to help again as soon as we can so for now we are keeping our heads down and working hard Alice is just living her best life as usual.