A former desk worker who decided to turn her hobby into a business has launched a pottery supply shop to help craftspeople in the region.

Laura Mackley worked in insurance but threw herself into pottery during lockdown after becoming a fan of BBC hit show The Great Pottery Throwdown.

"It captivated me from the outset," she said.

East Anglian Daily Times:

"I had no idea that I would be so excited about the hobby but I just got hooked and joined a community of like-minded pottery enthusiasts in the region who make pieces for themselves and for others."

Now she has launched Eastern Pottery Supplies - which stocks a range of pottery products - at Stonham Barns Park retail village near Debenham.

As a relative newcomer to the craft she saw a gap in the market as interest in crafts soared post-pandemic. 

Her new store stocks a range of pottery materials including clays - which can be kiln or oven baked or air dried – and glazes and tools.

East Anglian Daily Times:

Laura - who was living in Stowmarket but has now moved to Felixstowe - said she was encouraged by her husband, Tim, to take the plunge and launch the business.

"I am so happy that I have. It’s really such an interest that it doesn’t feel like work at all. I make pieces that are functional, decorative and even jewellery and I am looking to sell some of these items too," she said.

She wants the new outlet to be a hub for potters from Suffolk, Norfolk and Essex to pick up supplies and discuss new materials, techniques and projects. It is also dog-friendly, as she has two dogs.

She continues to make pottery herself and makes items which are functional or decorative - and even some jewellery - which she will sell in the shop.

"The problem was there are very few pottery supply outlets around to buy from and it is important to speak to others when buying supplies so I thought I would start my own supply business," she said.

East Anglian Daily Times:

Since Laura took up the hobby, she has taken various pottery courses at West Suffolk College.

She has also supported some creative events in the region including Art on the Prom in Felixstowe.

Laura’s sales are currently mostly to individual potters, but she also supplies businesses too.

From January she will be running classes on hand building, wheel pottery and air dry pottery as well as home-school sessions for young children.

Among her new business clients are the Beehive Coffee Shop at Diss and Landguard Fort at Felixstowe.

She feels potters need inspiration and communication with like-minded creatives - which she hopes her new business will supply by providing a meeting place for them.

As a youngster she tried out various crafts, she said.

"My Dad was a graphic designer, so I was used to being in a creative environment while growing up," she said.

"I tried various arts and crafts pass times like drawing, painting, knitting and crochet - but pottery is definitely my thing."