Documentary photography for the creative business - Clayability

“Every creative story is different. And every creative story is the same. There was nothing. Now there is something. It’s almost like magic.” - Jonah Lehrer

As a photographer who documents stories, I want to focus on the elements of the creative story that are different. I want to capture the moments that make the creative process personal and individual to the creator.

When it comes to documentary photoshoots for creative businesses, I look for the things that make this business unique.

I had the opportunity to capture images for Clayability. They have a variety of pottery courses to suit all abilities, whether you are a complete beginner or someone wanting to further your skills.


Nestled in The Walled Garden in Wrington, with views overlooking North Somerset countryside, is the pottery workshop and studio that is the home of Clayability. It’s a beautiful setting that provides creative inspiration in and of itself.

Tools of the trade

I love entering the workshop and seeing the tools of the trade. The moulds and stamps, the slips and glazes, the bags of clay piled around the room, waiting for someone to work their creative magic.

For the creative that uses these tools on a daily basis, they might seem boring and ordinary, but I love the behind-the-scenes look at which tools and brands have been selected out of the vast number available; or which everyday objects are being put to an unusual but creative use.

I also love to see the mess left behind when creating. In this case, it's the shavings of clay and the tools waiting to be cleaned. Very few creatives work in an immaculate environment and workshops are beautiful in their messiness.

Teaching environment

Albert Einstein said of teaching:

“It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge.”

My photoshoot with Clayability took place near the end of their term. The shelves of the workshop were filled with student work of all shapes and sizes. In the corner of the room, the open kiln allowed the newly-fired work to cool, while students continued to experiment and create, harnessing their recently learned knowledge and skills.

It was a pleasure to chat with the students and hear them speak about their experiences with Clayability. It was clear to me they have that "joy in creative expression" which Einstein spoke of, and that says volumes about the potters who teach them.

For more information on pottery courses you can visit the Clayability website