Vessel Ceramics

Success Story 15 March 2024

Region/Nation South West
Sector Arts, Entertainment and Leisure
Programme Start Up Loans

Owner of Vessel Ceramics, Jilly Russell, says it's never too late to do what makes you happy.

After devoting more than three decades to teaching, Jilly decided to follow her heart and has set up her own ceramics studio in Devon.

Vessel Ceramics is a light, bright, open-access space in the pretty Dartmoor town of Moretonhampstead, where people of all ages and abilities can come along and take part in pottery workshops classes and masterclasses.

Jilly Russell Vessel Ceramics

For Jilly, 62, indulging in her passion for pottery is a long-held dream come true and she credits British Business Bank's Start Up Loans programme with helping it all come together.

The £15,000 loan she received has acted as a financial safety net, ensuring she had enough capital to cope with any unexpected costs when she was setting up her studio.

"I really wanted the loan as a buffer and I'm glad it came through when it did," said Jilly, describing how the money has been used towards the costs of renovating the studio, as well as investing in a new kiln. Vessel Ceramics also has six pottery wheels, plus all of the necessary tools for hand building and throwing.

Jilly still teaches two days a week and then spends the rest of her time working on her new business, which has already attracted plenty of local interest. A series of masterclasses with internationally famous ceramicists are planned for 2024, as well as courses for beginner students and studio membership.

Seeing other people enjoy her craft as much as she does has been a real pleasure for Jilly, who is delighted that she's been able to share her skills and knowledge.

"I always wished I could be potting and I'm so pleased I finally have," she said, adding that she hopes it will inspire other people to follow their dreams – whatever stage of life they're at. "I would say to anyone, absolutely go for it," she said. "If you don't do it now, then when? We only have one life. The help is out there to get you started."