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  • Writer's pictureMarsh Farm Glamping

Ellis Pottery of High Ham

Updated: May 27

Visit Somerset and Meet the Makers!


Somerset is a county overflowing with fabulous finds. From artisanal cheeses to award winning ciders, hand crafted gin to the best organic meat and veg, we really do have some of the best producers around. We also have an incredibly diverse range of creative talent from glassblowers and artists to weavers and jewellery makers. In this series of interviews I am going to showcase some of our most talented local business owners. So, when you come and visit Somerset, and are looking for wonderful places to go, and things to do, you’ll know just where to start!



Rob Ellis at his potter's wheel throwing a mug

Today I would like to introduce Rob Ellis, from Ellis Pottery of High Ham.


I am delighted to have Rob as our first guest interviewee - his pottery is utterly gorgeous, and best of all, his workshop and gallery are only 10 minutes down the road from Marsh Farm Glamping.


So grab a cup of tea in your old and probably boring mug (may need replacing – we can help with that!) and let’s find out a bit more about how Ellis Pottery came to be…




Background

Located in the small village of High Ham, Rob works out of his workshop at the end of his garden. Having been persuaded to attend evening classes back in 2002, Rob found his passion for pottery somewhat unexpectedly, but has not looked back since. Over the succeeding years he has honed both his skills, and his equipment, and now produces stunning stoneware clay pieces ranging from mugs and bowls, to pots, cider jugs, tea pots and even bird feeders. Each piece is hand thrown, and therefore completely unique.



A selection of hand crafted pieces of pottery on display

In 2023 Rob gave up his career as a helicopter engineer of over 30 years to become a full time potter. I caught up with him to learn a little bit more about his pieces, his inspiration, and what, as a local, he loves most about our little corner of Somerset.


Rob, please describe your aesthetic? Do you believe in function or beauty as the main goal of a piece?


Traditional, rustic, functional, simplicity – a few words to describe my style of pottery.


I enjoy making simple functional forms and prefer to let the glazes do all the talking. I am not artistic so I choose not to decorate my pots with designs, but in developing my own homemade wood ash glazes I have achieved a sort of an artistic flair!


How do you find working from home after a change of career?


The transition has been quite easy since I have dreamed of doing this for some years. I miss the camaraderie of office life, although that had changed with COVID anyway. My potting has had to become more disciplined. As a hobby potter, I worked very inefficiently, making pieces to restock or for commissions. Therefore, I made small batches of different shapes and sizes which meant I never got into a good rhythm for throwing, and packing the kiln became quite a jigsaw. I am now trying to develop my practice to overcome these issues.





Do you have any advice or tips for new starters?


Learn the golden rules at the beginning, but then don’t be afraid to teach yourself and develop your own way of working.


Don’t become a potter if you want to be rich!

 

Do you teach or run courses? Can people staying at Marsh Farm Glamping come and visit and perhaps purchase a piece as a souvenir of their visit to this part of Somerset?

 

Any guests at Marsh Farm Glamping who would like to have a go on the wheel are more than welcome to give me a call to discuss/arrange a session. My suggestion is an hour for two people at a time. I will do a throwing demonstration then give them both time on the potter's wheel, guiding them, to make a piece of pottery which will then be glazed and fired by me for collection/posted at a later date. Prices from £25 per person.


Our gallery is always open by arrangement, so visitors just need to give us a ring. Now I work from home I am around most of the time. It might be a good idea to make arrangements in advance, especially for throwing sessions, as I wouldn’t want to disappoint any visitors if I’m not available at short notice.




What do you love about the local area – can you recommend any hidden gems that guests should check out when they visit Somerset?


Sara and I both love walking in the surrounding countryside, whether it is in High Ham through the woods near Turn Hill, Millennium Wood or Eastfield Nature Reserve or slightly further afield across the ‘levels’. It is always good if the walk involves a stop at one of the many cider farms or local pubs.


What is your favourite way to relax when you’re not at the wheel?


Potting was always my way of relaxing after a day in the office, so I am lucky to be doing what I love all of the time now. As mentioned before, we enjoy walking and I meet with friends regularly to go out for a run (usually from a pub so that we can have a pint or two afterwards!). In the lead up to giving up my engineering job I had great plans of long cycle rides for enjoyment having cycled the 32 mile round trip to work for many years but haven’t quite managed to plan that into my schedule yet.



The Welcome sign for Ellis Pottery of High Ham's gallery

Huge thanks to Rob and Sara (who also produces stunning pieces in her own style out of their home-based workshop and gallery) for telling us all about Ellis Pottery of High Ham.


If you a book a break at Marsh Farm Glamping, you'll find a couple of small pieces hanging in the hut - I'm too precious to add any larger pieces, sorry, you'll just have to visit their beautiful gallery and snap up your own!


Alternatively you can commission an even more unique and memorable piece for a special birthday, anniversary or celebration, or order certain pieces online here. As good an excuse as any to visit Somerset if you ask me!


You can also follow them on social media - see the buttons below...


Do feel free to leave any comments or questions below too and stay tuned for our next lovely local business, coming soon...





A display wall of stoneware at the gallery



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