Teaching people how to make a career in craft

Co Down ceramicist Patricia Millar Picture by Ian Pedlow

MANY people might think that craft is a hobby and not a viable full-time job, but Co Down woman Patricia Millar would beg to differ. The Ballywalter-based ceramicist gave up teaching to take up craftmaking as her sole profession.

“I had been a teacher for 25 years when I realised that I needed change of career. I had a very poor work-life balance – juggling work and looking after two young children – and had become unwell from stress,” she says.

“I'd bought a couple of bags of clay and started creating a sculpture and found working on it very therapeutic. Then I thought, 'This is what I should be doing'."

Patricia quit her teaching job and went back to college to study ceramics.

“I finished college last June and since then I have started my business, making ceramic pieces. My work is inspired by the beauty of the Ards peninsula. I buy clay locally and use natural materials such as seaweed from Ballywalter beach, old banana skins, pine needles and coffee granules to colour my pieces.

“It is hard work but I really enjoy it and I'm able to focus on being mum, which I haven't been able to do for a long time. I start my day at 5.30am and finish at 3pm, when I collect the children from school.”

Patricia is taking part in this year's Creative Peninsula, a series of events taking place in Ards and North Down from tomorrow until August 9. Now in its 14th year, the CP programme enables people of all ages to try their hand at arts and crafts.

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