Turning Earth Graduate Mentor Application

January 24, 2023

Turning Earth is recruiting final year ceramics students and recent graduates for its voluntary studio mentor programme.

Mentors provide regular on the floor technical support to members and enhance the community, in return gaining development opportunities in ceramics as well as the resources they need to work on their own projects.

The role offers 15 hours a week membership (with a surcharge to cover the cost of firing) for final year students and recent graduates of ceramics programmes (and graduates of arts programmes that have focused on ceramics) who can offer 4 hours a week as a mentor. These hours are flexible; mentors choose a slot from the rota for each week and complete their hours to unlock 15 hours personal time.

Clay projects undertaken on behalf of the studio will be tailored as far as possible to the interest of the graduate (for example glaze tests for those interested in glazing, throwing tasks for those wanting to develop as a thrower, tile making for those wanting to develop their flatware skills.)  The opportunity to shadow our technicians will also benefit those wishing to develop studio management skills.

Job description

The primary role for Mentors in the studio is to support the community, providing a familiar face and a visible point of engagement, providing a friendly focus for discussion and opportunities for questions and advice. For four hours a week, Mentors will be present in the main studio area as part of their role , whilst working on ceramic projects to enhance the members studio (for example, making test tiles, wall tiles, planters, even bathroom sinks!) and simultaneously being obviously available as a point of contact to members and visitors (a mentor apron will be provided).

The key responsibility is to generate a warm, accessible working environment for members and foment a rich learning atmosphere and community spirit without pressing upon those who prefer privacy while in the studio.

The role offers the opportunity for full membership including up to 15 hours per week of  studio use - outside the agreed mentoring hours -  for personal projects, with only firing to be charged. Personal time however should still allow a certain amount of interfacing as an accessible persona representing the studio.  

Personal attributes

This role requires strong interpersonal skills, an authentic interest in supporting the development of others,  the ability to put people at ease, willingness to engage in conversations with strangers, and the confidence to facilitate small discussion groups. Applicants should have technical ceramics expertise to share, or at the least have theoretical knowledge relevant for studio members (such as a knowledge of ceramic history or portfolio development). Applicants should be committed to their own development and be a self-learner/self-starter to take advantage of the many informal learning experiences available in the studio.

Further aspects to the role will include:
Participating in member inductions, or carrying them out in full.
Ensuring cleaning policies and other studio rules are adhered to.
Undergoing training in community building.

Participating in and being part of a rota to moderate the Turning Earth Facebook group and the dedicated members' Whatsapp channel

Participating in and organising peer-learning groups

Participating in member social activities

Selling clay to members when staff members are busy.

Other details:

Firing is charged at £5 liter for glaze, bisque firing up to 40L is included.

Weekly mentoring shifts are: 6-10pm Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday, 4-8 Friday, 10-2pm or 4 -8pm Saturday and Sunday, these are flexible but must be booked and undertaken before your personal time for the week is unlocked.

Requirements for application:

Be in the final year of, or within 3 years of graduating from any relevant programme. Relevant programmes include ceramics courses anywhere in the world. Graduates from related programmes who have experience in ceramics or who have taken ceramics as an element of another course will also be considered.

Less recent ceramics graduates on means tested benefits looking for a way back into the industry are also invited to apply.

The due date for application for this recruitment round is 28th February, although applicants who are available to start sooner are encouraged to apply at the earliest opportunity.

Apply here

Turning Earth Hoxton Ceramics Market 2022

December 23, 2021

The Turning Earth Out of the Ashes series continues with an Easter Market, celebrating the launch of the new Learning Hub adjacent to our members studio in Whiston Road, Hoxton. See events page for more information.

Turning Earth Leyton Ceramics Market 2022

December 23, 2021

The Turning Earth Leyton market returns during the London Design Festival. See events page for more information.

Winter Markets 2021

December 2, 2021

After a long wait, the Turning Earth Ceramics Markets are returning this year, as we get together to celebrate the creativity that comes from crisis and reflect on the changes to our lives and making practices that the disruption of the pandemic brought with it.

People browsing market stalls at Turning Earth Market.
Turning Earth Leyton

Turning Earth Leyton's much-loved Winter Market will be held on Saturday 4th and 5th December 2021. More than 70 ceramicists will sell their work direct from the studio, and there will be wheel-throwing and handbuilding demos throughout the weekend - with the option for visitors to have a go too.

A charity stall selling donated work will again raise money for charity Help Refugees. There’ll also be delicious street food, mulled wine and mince pies, as well as live music.

Come and make a day of it!

Unit C, 11 Argall Avenue
(upstairs at the back of the Mentmore building)
E10 7QE

Nearest station, Lea Bridge

For more information see our website: www.turningearth.org/e10/events

Turning Earth Haringey

On 18/19 December we will hold the inaugural Christmas Ceramics Market at the new Turning Earth Haringey.

More than 70 ceramicists will sell their work direct from the studio, and there will be wheel-throwing and handbuilding demos throughout the weekend - with the option for visitors to have a go too.
A stall selling donated work will raise money for local charities. There’ll also be delicious street food, mulled wine and mince pies, as well as live music.

The market will explore the theme of creativity within times of crisis, while our makers reflect on the changes to our lives and making practices that the disruption of the pandemic brought with it.

The pandemic has impacted our making practices in many ways: while some have had more time to reflect and to make, others have been thrown into childcare and had little time for themselves at all. Wheel throwers have tried handbuilding techniques when their studios were shuttered, while some other makers have turned to the kitchen cupboards to find tools to experiment with when they couldn't leave their homes.

And many, many ceramics lovers have been unable to see work in person - to examine or touch it, let alone meet the maker, as shopping moved online.

Perhaps one of the greatest gifts of the pandemic has been showing us all what we truly love, by giving us the opportunity to long for it.

We are beyond excited to finally welcome you back through our doors.

We expect the weather to be wintery, so please make sure you’re dressed properly as we will be ventilating indoors as part of our covid safety measures. Masks are once again mandatory (unless exempt), so cover up your smile with your brightest mask. We are following rules and guidelines to ensure a wonderful, welcoming and safe market for everyone.

Winter Markets 2019

November 8, 2019

Modern Potter at Turning Earth Winter Ceramics Market
The Modern Potter at the Turning Earth Leyton Market

This year we are holding two Winter Markets - one in our Leyton centre, and the other in our original Hoxton arches.

TURNING EARTH LEYTON 30 Nov/1 Dec 12-6pm

Head over to our first market in the Turning Earth Leyton studios for ceramics from 75 makers, wheel-throwing and handbuilding demos, delicious Vietnamese Street food from Hanoi Ca Phe, glögg (Scandi-inspired mulled wine) and mince pies, and live music from Balkan klezma group Tantz. A charity stall selling donated work will raise money for charity Help Refugees.


During the Turning Earth Leyton market weekend you can also browse around local businesses for the third annual Argall Ave Open Studios. Sample delicious ales from Neckstamper Brewery, get some of the city's finest pastries from Pavilion Bakery, and grab some lunch at neighbouring Lighthaus Cafe. Discover furniture from creative reclaimers ThinkFOUND and luxury designer A. White Workshop, as well as  bespoke joinery from RHMB, fine woodwork from Piers Peel, and fine art framing from Dylan Shipton Frames.

Belinda Webster at Turning Earth Hoxton Ceramics Market
Turning Earth Hoxton Winter Market


The Turning Earth Hoxton market returns on 14/15 December, with 75 different makers, this time based out of our Hoxton studios. We'll have more street food, coffee from Climpsons and live gypsy jazz from George Risk. You can watch demos in wheel throwing and other pottery techniques throughout the day with the option to have a go yourself. Buy specially donated pieces to help raise money for Hackney Migrant Centre.

The market continues at Big Sky studios next door, where an arch is being taken over by wood ware curators carve.london to showcase handmade functional wood work from some of the UK's most inspiring contemporary maker.


Now in it's second year, carve.london is curated by highly regarded greenwood makers, Hackney Road’s Barn the Spoon, and Grain and Knot, one of the UK’s leading wood ware Instagram channels. 12 of the UK's best loved woodworkers will be selling small giftable items, including foraged timber homeware and beautiful basketry. London's

Greenwood Guild will demonstrate with lathes, and they'll even bring along a forge so you can get your knives sharpened in time for Christmas.

Sophie from carve.london says "This year we are so pleased to be hosting @cave.london alongside the Turning Earth Winter Market. As always, our plan is to celebrate the handmade and shine a spotlight on makers in wood. We will have some returning faces such as chairmaker Sam Cooper - whose carvings show such fine attention to detail. We will also be welcoming lots of new faces, including Geoffrey Fisher with his foraged timber homewares and Lee John Phillips, who's work came to our attention after he drew every item in his late grandads shed - he has now translated his graphic style into spoon carving. Ellie Morgan of @woodwoolwillow will have her beautiful handwoven baskets for sale alongside the work of Forge Creative, Havelock Studio, The Green Wood Guild - and of course expect the usual carvings from Barn the spoon, and Grain and Knot."

How Clean Is The Air We Breath?

August 15, 2018

Twenty-one days to find out if we have poisoned our members. We wait charily as the results we’re expecting could potentially bring this place to its knees; if the independent Air quality test of our pilot studio in Hoxton turns out toxic, then we’ve failed five years of endeavour and hard work.

Lewis in the studio, with Natalie on kiln loading duty. Photo: Paul Fuller
Lewis in the studio, with Natalie on kiln loading duty. Photo: Paul Fuller

When we first started out we just didn’t know what was what, or even how to find out. Clay dust: Bad, that’s about all we had. Opening a studio, we knew it had to be kept clean, but how clean and how would you know if you were getting it right?

It’s a costly and voluntary procedure but we knew it had to be done. We called a company called Euro-Environmental in May this year, who came and positioned mini air-sample devices that looked like spy-gadgets onto our team’s aprons, onto our members’ clothes and in potential hotspots all over the studio. Then they came back eight hours later and took them for analysis.

Lungs, they are extraordinarily valuable bits of kit, and somewhat fragile.  As an ex-respiratory nurse in a ceramics studio these vital organs at once became a constant cause of arresting consideration for me. Having seen the very real and sobering, untreatable effects of lung cancer, emphysema and other devastating chest conditions, managing and maintaining a healthy studio safe enough for some 300 members of the public a week has felt like a dust-crusted Sword of Damocles.

Natalie Smith loading the kiln. Photo: Paul Fuller
Natalie Smith loading the kiln. Photo: Paul Fuller

Silica, its whole inevitable existence can potentially take all the fun out of clay; and all the oxygen from your airways, forever. It is a pernicious substance, even in small doses, once it enters the lungs it dwells there and stubbornly denies your lymph system any recourse to dispatch it; gradually taking over and slowly suffocating you. The studio, it turned out, rather disturbingly, is full of robust sources of this substance. Kilns for example, merrily pump out the stuff all night long (as well as thousands of other toxins). Therefore for the sake of the public and our team, we realised all systems needed to be carefully designed and constantly updated to minimise the breathable levels of silica dust in the air.

So we got venting and mopping, staff, mentors and members all, we sent out grave reminders in our newsletter to the whole of the membership: Clean up after yourselves, for the love of breathable air! Every nook seemed to be a source of clay crumbs and dust. In fact, anywhere anybody did anything would immediately generate a mountain of dust.

I get some good news: I find out that something called a P3 respirator can protect you from  breathing in Silica. They’re not cheap but I buy a load plus spares for all the staff and make them wear them when cleaning, and then I decided while loading kilns, and then when consolidating shelves. Not to mention mixing glazes. I just didn’t know. Should we insist the whole membership wear them?

Our mantra is now: It’s not the person; it’s the system. Although, people operate the system of course. So, as well as attempting to instill a sense of ownership and responsibility into the mindset of the membership via the newsletter and handbook, (terrifying them with tales of the effects of silicosis and issuing constant reminders of the necessity for good cleaning practices; also segueing clauses for cleaning times into their contracts) we have had to slowly build in operational systems into our rota to prevent unknowable chaos getting the better of us. Each change to the procedure has slightly upgraded the last.

This is by no means a simple undertaking and it is credit to our unflappable staff who carry out the heavy work to protect us all every day. The processes are always subject to upgrade - in fact ‘All systems can be improved’ is another of our favourite maxims - because you have to make them work as efficiently as possible.  Minimal input for maximum output with zero waste: That’s the dream.

But has it actually meant anything at all? Has it made a difference after all this shifting and mopping and wet-vacuuming and rotas, respirators, sweat and haranguing people ? Or has it been moving furniture on the Titanic?

The results come in via email and I scroll through all the preamble. Hands shaking.

Respirable Crystaline Silica: 0.028mgs/m3  In all areas, <35% WEL

What does that mean?

Status Workplace Exposure Limit: Insignificant!

Insignificant! in all areas of testing.

I want to hug the team.

Lewis Maughan

Turning Earth Operational Manager