Meet Jess Hollins, the visionary artist behind Clay & Canvas. Earlier this year, Jess embarked on a remarkable journey that has led to the creation of beautiful and unique pottery pieces and her new, very own Clay & Canvas studio in one of our Wild Hut’s shepherd’s huts.
Jess’s journey into the world of pottery took root during her pottery course at Leach Pottery in St Ives, Cornwall. The experience was transformative, and led her to realise her passion for crafting with clay. With each turn of the potter’s wheel and every glaze, Jess’s love for pottery continued to flourish. Eager to further her skills and pursue this passion, Jess had a vision – to have her own studio space where she could immerse herself in the world of pottery.
To do this, she needed a dedicated space. After looking at various sheds and outbuildings that could be placed in the orchard at their family home, it was decided that a shepherd’s hut would be more fitting for the landscape and complement the rest of the garden and the grade II listed family home. It was then that she stumbled upon Wild Huts and came to view one of our existing builds, which was previously used as a flower hut. As soon as she viewed the hut in person she knew it was perfect for her pottery studio.
The first step involved insulating the shepherd’s hut to make it suitable for year-round pottery creation. It was also repainted inside and out with a bespoke shelf created by Karl at Wild Huts to showcase Jess’s creations. Further modifications were made to create a low shelf at one end and a creative corner and area to house a Belfast sink at the other end of the hut. Additionally, a slate-panelled section was added to the hut to house Jess’s very own kiln, a crucial piece of equipment for firing her pottery creations.
The ultimate goal was to have the shepherd’s hut fully operational by the summer of 2023. This timeline was particularly important for Jess, as she works part-time at a school, in addition to being halfway through her Fine Arts degree at university, and intended to dedicate her summer holidays to intensive pottery practice.
After initial inquiries in the spring, and modifications made by the Wild Huts team, the shepherd’s hut was delivered to Jess’s orchard during the first week of July. The delivery and placement on site came with its share of challenges. Some hedges had to be carefully dug out and replanted to accommodate the hut’s arrival. It now sits beside her mother’s yoga studio and in front of raised beds full of nasturtium toppling over the sides.
Behind the hut, is an idyllic view of green fields and sheep grazing. The windows on all sides of the hut are perfect for framing the landscape outside and are adorned with mini bud vases, which have been a highly requested item from Jess’s collection. The double doors of her hut are framed with tall olive trees and when the wind dances through the orchard, the delicate clay wind chime – also hand-made by Jess – that hangs off the door creates a melodic tone.
Jess is passionately committed to honing her craft, and as the months roll on, she’ll be diligently crafting a fresh array of pottery pieces. She’ll also soon be launching her website and offering one-to-one pottery throwing classes for beginners and even a combined yoga and pottery workshop, working with her mother. For the moment follow her journey on Instagram – Clay & Canvas and be inspired by her work in her new pottery studio.