artist garden sculpture Outside surface quality

Ancient oak slab

a weathered and textured oak slab at eastnor pottery herefordshire

This gnarly ‘ol slab of oak has been gently decaying in the Pottery garden for the last 10 years or so.

It was initially used to display several of my discovery pots – lidded, thrown cylinders containing fresh clay and a note encouraging the ‘discoverer’ to make something and leave it in the pot. Little creativity traps! A few days later, I collected the models, took them back to the Pottery, fired them and exhibited the results online.

The elements and time have worked their magic on the wood and I adore the range of texture and colour of the decomposing timber.

a weathered and textured oak slab at eastnor pottery herefordshirea weathered and textured oak slab at eastnor pottery herefordshirea weathered and textured oak slab at eastnor pottery herefordshirea weathered and textured oak slab at eastnor pottery herefordshire



beautiful eastnor Outside

Winter walk to work

bare trees eastnor deer park

As we head into Spring, I thought I’d share a few photographs taken on our winter commute! 

We’re extremely fortunate to live and work on the idyllic Eastnor Castle Estate at the southern end of the Malvern Hills in rural Herefordshire.

Our home and studio are separated by a 20 minute walk and there is nothing better to start our day than with a stroll to the Pottery through Eastnor deer park. The countryside here is so beautiful and the seasonal changes offer constant inspiration.

sheep and shadows eastnor deer park sheep wool on barbed wire fence eastnor salt patterns on the road eastnor deer fencing surrounding eastnor deer park beautiful rusty deer fencing in eastnor ice patterns eastnor 2021 back lit frosty trees in eastnor deer park frosty gate post and barbed wire eastnor

social engagement

Potting in a Pandemic

The unscheduled break from all the social engagement and classes has provided a golden opportunity to develop my ceramic work. In fact, the lockdown hush fondly reminds me of the time Sarah and myself moved to Eastnor – 26 years ago. At that point in our careers all we did was eat, sleep and make pottery!

Since then our creative practice has blossomed and diversified in ways unimaginable at the time. A major part of our income drives from running courses and classes from our idyllic Herefordshire studio.

Here’s a recent article I penned for the Ledbury Focus. It’s written in the third person and describes the impact of  COVID-19 restrictions on our courses and classes.

potter's wheel course participant makeing a terracotta pot on the pottery wheel at eastnor pottery

Eastnor Pottery and the Flying Potter has been offering unique and memorable pottery experiences from its idyllic studio on the Eastnor Castle Estate for the past 27 years.

Although the Pottery is temporarily closed during lockdown, proprietors Jon Williams and Sarah Monk are more than optimistic about the time when they can start welcoming guests back to the wheels.

The couple’s positive outlook is part inspired by the experience of emerging from the first Lockdown.

When the Pottery reopened on the 4th of July 2020, business did not look very encouraging. You could count all the bookings for July and August on one hand. However, the British public were desperate to go places and do things. International travel restrictions meant holidaying abroad was not an option. Instead, people looked to spend their annual break here in the UK. The staycation had come of age and the tranquil lure of the countryside made Herefordshire an attractive destination. Fair to say Eastnor Pottery was inundated with individuals, couples and families looking for a meaningful and fun holiday experience.

potter's wheel course at eastnor pottery in the 2020 covid-19 pandemic

potter's wheel participants taking part in social distanced pottery classes at eastnor pottery in herefordshireintroduction to the potter's wheel classes in the potting tent at eastnor pottery herefordshire

As with most tourism and retail businesses, a large chunk of lockdown was spent planning and implementing the covid-19 rules and regulations, designed to limit the spread of the virus. If Eastnor Pottery was to safely reopen, it had to convince visitors everything would be done to make their visit as safe as possible. Face masks were mandatory, customers washed their hands on arrival and the two metre social distancing guidelines were strictly adhered to. Class sizes were stripped back to a minimum with plenty of time in between sessions for deep cleaning.

Before they reopened in July, the Pottery was awarded a ‘Good to Go’ seal from Visit England. Customers could rest in the knowledge that risk assessments had been carried out and strict protocols put in place.

pottery classes in the garden at eastnor pottery in herefordshire

The glorious weather helped too. Most classes over the Summer and early Autumn took place either on the Pottery lawn or in the Potting Tent marquee. Alfresco pottery ensured plenty of fresh air and minimised the chance of infection.

With all the rules and guidelines, Jon and Sarah had to alter the content of their courses. Far from a reductive process, the operation at Eastnor Pottery has become much more streamlined and efficient.

Customers no longer sit at tables and paint their freshly thrown pots – historically, a key element to the 1.5 hr Introduction to the Potter’s Wheel Class. Instead, visitors get longer on the wheel making two pots instead of one. The couple were initially worried, but participant reviews have exceeded all expectations.

Jon and Sarah have also had to cut down on the frequency of classes and limit the capacity for the classes they do run. A typical Saturday pre-COVID-19 would have seen up to 40 people walking through the Pottery’s doors, but now it’s a maximum of 12.

masked pottery class participants at eastnor pottery herefordshire

Limited capacity has naturally resulted in a decline in turnover. But on the positive, customers get an intimate and amazing one to one experience. Jon and Sarah really feel they get to know their students and enjoy hearing their stories. Their classes were brilliant before, but due to COVID-19, now they’re extra special – not only for the customer but for the hosts too.

The circumstances of this awful pandemic have forced Jon and Sarah to reflect and have ultimately allowed them to reshape their business for the better. The couple look forward to welcoming customers back to the Pottery when it is safe to do so.




artist Exhibitions

Childhood inspiration

children's hands in squidgy clay

Contemporary Ceramics asked me to provide a short piece of writing to accompany the work I sent them. It was suggested I comment on how I got into working with clay:

As a child I loved drawing and messing about with mud. We lived on the edge of a large housing estate and a planning dispute over freshly dug foundations on an empty plot next door, meant the deep trenches remained void of concrete for several years. What a fabulous landscape for myself, brother, and our mates to roam and explore. The walls of the foundations exposed seams of soft yellow clay, perfect for poking fingers and sticks. We dug old bottles, (there must have been a Victorian rubbish dump) squashed balls of clay onto the ends of sticks and hurled them at brick walls (and each other!) to see how long the clay stayed there. They always landed with a satisfying, heavy thud which over time, must have annoyed the hell out of the neighbours as the activity came to an abrupt halt with a proper telling off! Even though the forest of sticks and clay have long since dropped off the wall, the activity has informed and inspired my approach to ceramic practice and my educational/community engagement work.

jcb digging footings for foundationsprepared footings for building work

My art teachers at school were encouraging and although it was a subject in which I excelled; I had no idea about careers in the creative industries. It wasn’t until the age of 15 I encountered the head of my local art-school and in a blinding revelation, realised that ‘art’ could be a job! I studied in Swindon & then Bath, my experience culminating in a 1st class degree in ceramics and 3d design. Whilst at Art School I met my future wife and fellow potter Sarah Monk and in 1994 we moved to Herefordshire, founded Eastnor Pottery and started a family.

experiments work in progress

Slab building

Although I’m a thrower, I do enjoy the challenge of working with other pottery techniques.

These slabbed constructions are ceramic bases, designed to support a sculpture on a metal rod. That said, I reckon they look pretty cool as stand alone pieces. I particularly enjoy the potential for geometric pattern making when the bases are lined up in groups.

slabbed base made by herefordshire ceramic artist jon williams

artist social engagement

Eastnor Pottery in the snow

Our studio Eastnor Pottery looking beautiful in the January snow.

The Pottery is located near the Malvern Hills on the idyllic Herefordshire Eastnor Castle Estate.

I share the space with my wife and fellow potter Sarah Monk. When we’re not working on our own designs, we entertain thousands of aspiring potters on our short classes and weekend courses.You can do an hour and a half, full day or weekend on the potter’s wheel – we have something for everyone and the rural tranquility of Eastnor makes for the perfect creative break.

Although we are currently closed during lockdown, you can book a Spring or Summer pottery experience online. Just visit our website and click on one of the orange buttons.

Eastnor Pottery in the snow the studio of artists jon williams and sarah monk


Portrait of an artist

Over the years I’ve collaborated with many talented and creative photographers to document my ceramics and social engagement practice. My current go to professional is George Nash AKA Beyond The Beaten Path.

George is communicative, super efficient and fun to work with. Can’t rate his photography and video making highly enough.

Love these ‘artist in the studio’ portraits George took a little while ago.

Creramic artist jon the potter williams in his herefordshire studio