Good Green Gifts is based in a hub of creativity. Downstairs, we have a pottery studio, a book binders, a guitar maker, a jeweller, a screen printer, theatrical wig maker…
However, our focus today is on Mohamed Hamid, a master potter, whose studio is home to many pottery students (some of whom have been working with him for over 20 years). Step inside, and you will normally find three or more students on the wheel or hand building alongside a wide variety of pots, sculptures, cups and bowls all at differing stages of creativity and progress.
Mohamed has been making pots for 30 years, and after college he trained with both Alan Cagier-Smith and Jonathan Chiswell-Jones before setting up his own studio in 1989 with a Crafts council grant.
Mohamed is passionate about his craft and believes that having a piece of beautifully hand made pottery is a life enriching experience, with these objects being enjoyable aesthetically and practically. There is a story behind every hand made pot – the history of the maker, the influences on the potter that have informed the form, the decoration and the glazes used. The history of the training that the potter has undertaken, the experiments with kilns, glazes, clays and the endless trial and error.
Pottery is a relatively eco-friendly practice. The materials are natural, there is little waste, most of the materials are local. Glazes and pigments are all natural although the firing process is the least eco friendly part of the process demanding energy use and some emissions. Buying UK pottery means that you can support crafts people, local economies and can avoid the environmental consequences of mass production and importation.
Mohamed is concerned that due to strict EU and health and safety regulations, pottery is no longer taught in schools. He worries about the impact this will have on the number of truly skilled potters. In addition, due to cheap imports, the UK based ceramics industry is struggling and, if we are not careful these wonderful skills will be lost.
At Good Green Gifts we recognise the importance of supporting skilled crafts men and women, and, as well as Mo, we have a large number of UK potters people making hand made pottery for our gift and wedding lists, as well as the classic Burleigh ware – one of the few remaining UK potteries.