How the Scottish Potter Association Was Able to Fund Themselves

Since 1978, when a group of five budding enthusiasts in pottery came together, there has not been one day where one of us thought about giving up on our passion and we consider ourselves to be very lucky with how that allegiance has lasted over 40 years’. But luck came to us in another form.

How we all took a gamble

Taking the gamble paid off Taking the gamble paid off

As many artists will know, it is not easy transitioning from a secure paying job and going out into the world alone to focus on your work and to make a living from it. We truly believe in what we could create, and they say there is power in numbers. The five founding members of the Scottish Potter Association consisted of three Scots, me Hamish, Greg and Tommy. Then, one Englishman, Alfie and one South African, Benny. All by chance living in Scotland but totally different areas. Me and Tommy from Dumfries, Greg from Fife, Benny from Edinburgh and Alfie in Glasgow. How did we meet? Through the PPA Scotland Magazine. Greg had worked for the magazine as a researcher and would assort the letters written in by artists to share news and work. Greg created a noticeboard for the magazine and categorised the information into their respective arts.

How it all started

Under the pottery section, Tommy and I were selling work and behold we lived in the same area, we went to each other’s ‘show’ and met up regularly thereafter. Long story short, we informed the magazine and Greg suggested the publication of the story, what followed were letters from both Alfie and Benny to share their work and put on an arts trade show and it was thereafter the Scottish Potter Association took root. So how was the funding possible.

70s to early 2000

Alfie moved to Glasgow in ’75, having done well for himself as a poker player. He played at the highest possible levels back them and was able to retire earlier than what he planned, with his fortune he was able to move to Scotland from London and pursue his passion for art.

Alfie was in the midst of writing a book about playing poker in UK poker tournaments and giving tips and strategies to those looking to get ahead inside of the casinos. With his fortune, he was able to have his studio with everything in it from paints to kilns, from woodcraft to mosaic tiles. Long story short, once again, this now would become the place we hung out every weekend. Through Alfie’s success in the casinos, we were set indefinitely. But things took a big turn in 2002.

Present Time

Benny was out in South Africa in 2002 to visit family. Now, it’s not too clear how he found the site or who encouraged him, but Benny was playing online poker through one of the sites out there and he must have either read Alfie’s book or got some tips off of him because he won big, really big and when he returned he told us all to stop our normal day jobs because he wanted to push the Scottish Potter Association out of the studio and onto the road. This enabled us to set up our evening classes in our local communities. What followed from that was freedom to share pottery throughout Scotland and all funded by the wins made through incredible acts of gambling. It really happened.