From patients to pottery

Work experience students Evie Cowling, Sophie Smith and Kitty Foss spoke to Jane Bond about how a pottery hobby has escalated into selling her plates, bowls and more to friends and businesses


Retired theatre nurse Jane Bond never expected to make a second career of her hobby when she discovered a love for clay after a six-week pottery course.

Now, a year on from finding her creativity streak, she is supplying a top Norwich restaurant with plates, dishes and bowls as well taking on commissions.

“It wasn’t something I had thought of doing before,” she said. “Perhaps the creativity streak is something to do with the caring side as a nurse.”

Her hobby became a passion and, after posting photos of her pieces on Facebook, she instantly had requests from various friends asking her to make something for them.

But it was at Worstead Festival last year, where Jane’s talents suddenly had a larger audience. She said: “I help out each year behind the scenes in hospitality and washing up for the chefs in the kitchen theatre. I was a bit cheeky and asked if the chefs would use my plates to hand round the food they were cooking.”

They attracted the attention of Roger Hickman, the owner and head chef of his highly-commended, fine dining restaurant in Norwich and he asked her about providing tableware for him and to contact him after the festival.

“I didn’t didn’t have the confidence at the time to ask him about it,” she said, and time lapsed. Six months later, he posted a picture of Jane’s tableware online and got in touch to order more than 100 pieces, from serving dishes to amuse bouche bowls.

It was a big change from making single items for friends, so she decided it was time to invest in her own kiln. She’s now thinking of buying another to keep up with orders.

So far she has not had to advertise her wares, using social media and word of mouth to spread the word. She said: This keeps it close to home and more bespoke as she thinks it’s extremely important that “it doesn’t become a production line”.

Last Christmas, at a small fair in Worstead, Jane noticed the amount of artistic talent within the village and how there wasn’t really anything or anywhere local to showcase their talents.

So, at this year’s Worstead Festival, she has got together with like-minded artisans to launch Made in Worstead, which will be held on the Sunday, July 29 (Saturday, July 28, will be a produce show).

The idea isn’t just to sell their work, but also to attract more artists from the area to get involved and start to build a bigger community of local people who enjoy art. Jane made it clear that it’s important to her that it stays “handmade and original” to make the group different and unique.

She has various plans for the future, both personal and for the artisan crafts group, including her own studio so she has more space to build up her collection. She has many ideas for the group, such as a Christmas fair in the church and organising demonstrations and workshops in the village hall.

The overall aim is to get people involved so that they may even find something they love doing, just like she did with pottery a year and a half ago, which has become so much more than just a hobby.



Community groups benefit from Worstead Festival

Schoolchildren, a community choir and its audiences, an archives group dedicated to charting the history of a Norfolk town and a group working towards updating play equipment were among those to benefit from the latest handouts from the Worstead Festival charity.

The charity has a long history of helping groups and organisations both in its villages and in neighbouring parishes.

Thanks to the small and dedicated group of volunteers who organise the July event, this year the organisation handed out grants totaling £16,000-plus at its annual meeting on December 7 at Worstead Village Hall.

The festival made a profit of around £20,000 this year, helped by good weather and 15,000-plus visitors.

Those to benefit were Worstead Primary School, The Choir Worstead, North Walsham Archives group, North Walsham Play, Worstead Guild of Weavers (for toilets at their HQ) and Scottow Church (for church heaters). Money left over will remain in the funding pot.

Chairman Simon Cole said: “The effort that goes into the festival over the course of the entire year is all worthwhile when we get to give these grants to groups who are doing so much good for their communities.

“The 2016 festival was a particularly good one, with some new ideas working well and our visitors responding very positively to the whole event.

“Plans for 2017 are well in train and we look forward to welcoming both regulars and those who have not come to see the festival before.”

Matthew Smith, from North Walsham Play, which received £2,500, said: “The very generous donation has enabled us to start putting plans together to bring about the new play park in the new year. The donation means a lot of all members of the committee and we would all like to personally thank everyone involved with organising such a well-loved and well-supported festival.”

Wayne Beauchamp, from North Walsham Archives echoed that sentiment, saying: “Thanks to the awesome Worstead Festival committee for donating £500 to our group, The North Walsham and District Community Archive, to help with our work archiving the area’s history. This will help enormously. We plan to buy storage equipment for keeping our massive collection of photos and documents safely stored, both digitally and physically, and also a new portable scanner to aid in digitising photos ‘on location’.”

The annual meeting included the election of directors for the year, with six standing again and one new member joining.

Next year’s event will be held over the weekend of July 29 and 30. Grant applications open in March and close at the end of September for the amounts to be agreed in time for the 2017 AGM at the beginning of December.

See more at, check out the festival’s Facebook pages and follow @worsteadfest on Twitter.

 PICTURE CAPTION: Worstead Festival chairman Simon Cole (left) with representatives of organisations who were awarded grants (from left) Helen Kelly (Choir Worstead). Matthew Smith (North Walsham Play), Jo Read (Worstead School), Ellie Beattie (Worstead Guild of Weavers) and Wayne Beauchamp (North Walsham and District Archives).

PICTURE CAPTION: Worstead Festival chairman Simon Cole (left) with representatives of organisations who were awarded grants (from left) Helen Kelly (Choir Worstead). Matthew Smith (North Walsham Play), Jo Read (Worstead School), Ellie Beattie (Worstead Guild of Weavers) and Wayne Beauchamp (North Walsham and District Archives).

A wow at Worstead

The busiest and most successful Worstead Festival since the relaunch of the event in 2011 will have raised thousands of pounds for charity this weekend.
Fine weather save for a heavy shower on Saturday afternoon meant gates were busy on both days, especially Sunday.
A rejigged site layout and improved signage meant visitors had more to do, with activities suited to a wide range of ages including archery, a flower festival, music festival, clowns, two music stages, bars and two display rings.
“The way the site has been laid out has created an even more professional feel to the weekend,” said festival trustees chairman Simon Cole.
“This is our first festival since the first one 50 years ago without our former chairman and president, the late Gavin Paterson. I think he would have very much approved of this year’s event and it’s very happy atmosphere.”
Young people from surrounding villages played a greater role in this weekend’s event, with a new youth committee running three stalls all in aid of charity.
Emma George, marketing and events manager at caterers Cafe Britannia said: “It’s been a wonderful weekend, this is an event which attracts a particular lovely crowd of people.
“In the three years we’ve been coming as a business, I’ve never seen it so busy, well done to all the organisers.”
Organisers will announce in the coming weeks how much has been raised for charity. Local groups can apply for funding via the festival website