For this month’s tutor interview, we travelled to Maidstone to meet Pottery Tutor Viv Smith. Viv combines her teaching with being a curriculum leader for our creative courses so after she had finished teaching a pottery class at The Cube in Folkestone, she travelled to Maidstone for her work ‘behind the scenes’ and to have a chat with us. A ‘claim to fame’ for Viv is that she once took part in a screen test for the popular BBC2 show “The Great Pottery Throw Down” as a guinea pig of sorts when the show was first coming together.

Favourite food: Seafood, especially scallops.
Favourite hobby outside of work: Pottery and Gardening.
Favourite book: A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth.
First thing you created from clay: The first “well-thrown” creation that Viv made was a bowl.
Favorite thing you’ve created from clay: A wall piece of a landscape and seascape for her degree, which you can see below.

Degree show - wall piece 2

How did you discover your passion for pottery?

“I went to Cornwall on holiday and saw a sign in a shop window saying ‘try the potter’s wheel’ and fell in love with it. I then took up an adult education course with KAE and completed my City & Guilds qualification and then went on to complete my degree.”

Being a tutor has really brought home the value of adult education.

What made you get into teaching pottery?

“I already had basic skills in creative teaching and enjoyed pottery so decided to start teaching it.” Viv’s City & Guilds qualification and degree meant she was more than qualified to start teaching.

How long have you been teaching pottery?

“I have been teaching pottery for KAE at The Cube in Folkestone for three and a half years.”

As well as being a tutor, Viv is also a curriculum leader for our creative courses. We asked her about the challenges and what she enjoys about balancing her roles both behind the scenes and at the forefront  as a tutor. “It’s very interesting to make decisions as a tutor and get to meet the students , and to talk to tutors with the understanding of being a tutor myself.”

Do you have a favourite learner experience or creation?

There wasn’t a specific learner experience or creation that came to Viv’s mind, but she enjoys seeing the quality of a student’s work develop over time, and especially loves to see the therapeutic effects that courses have on a student. “Being a tutor has really brought home the value of adult education. It allows people to escape everyday problems in their life and be creative and meet new people.”

Favourite potters/artists?

“Lucy Rees, and a general love of any sculptural ceramics.”

What would you say to anyone thinking of doing an adult education course?

“Do it, you’ll love it!”

It’s fantastic for us to see someone like Viv using her creative instincts and skills to not only design the courses for our learners, but teach them too.

Viv’s courses

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