Shaping a new life leads to teaching

Gareth Baglow who is running pottery classes at Buckhaven Community Centre
Gareth Baglow who is running pottery classes at Buckhaven Community Centre

Seven years ago, Gareth Baglow was homeless and at rock bottom.

As part of the New Deal programme, he started attending pottery classes at Buckhaven Community Centre – and found his calling.

Now he is back there again, this time in the role of teacher rather than student and is looking for eager locals to join his classes and learn the art form which changed his life.

Gareth (41) is originally from Leven and spent 10 years travelling Scotland working in conservation.

“I got paid to work in some of the most beautiful places in Scotland - I hadn’t had a holiday since I was 19 because I didn’t need one,” said Gareth. “But in the 10 years that I did that work, I never thought of myself as a conservationist. Now I feel like I’m doing something I know.”

After losing his way and moving back to Fife, Gareth was homeless and unemployed. But as part of the New Deal programme, which aimed to reduce unemployment by providing training, subsidised employment and voluntary work to those out of work, he was enrolled in a local pottery class.

Donald McIntyre had been offering pottery at Buckhaven Community Centre for nearly 20 years, and it was under him that Gareth learned some of the skills he now has.

“When I first started, Donald took me aside and said to me that no matter what happened, I should keep doing pottery because I had picked up things in months that some people took years to do.”

Since Donald retired three years ago, Gareth has been honing his skills, speaking to and spending time with successful potters all over the world.

“I have a real passion for pottery, I’m pretty obsessed with it. Since then I have been working on myself and I feel like I’m at a point now where I can teach people.”

As well as offering the classes, Gareth also relies on pottery as an income, setting up Gaspar Ceramics three years ago. As well as exhibiting his work in galleries around the country, he also takes on private commissions.

“It’s not very often you get the opportunity to be really good at something. Pottery is all about putting yourself into the piece so when someone buys your work, they are buying a bit of you.”

Although he is offering classes in basic pottery, Gareth’s real passion is wheel thrown pottery.

“It’s all about the zen process, more about yourself and being centred and balanced. The only thing which can limit you is your imagination.”

Gareth is offering a 10-week course, which he hopes to start in around two weeks time. During each class, participants will learn basic pottery. Each class will be two hours long, and each will focus on a certain aspect of pottery, from pinch potting, to coil potting and slab building. There will also be an introduction to wheel throwing, and for those who wish to learn more about this, Gareth will also be offering one-to-one sessions.

The cost of the 10-week course is £180, and one-to-one sessions are priced at £22.50 per session, which last two hours.

For more information about classes, contact Gareth on 07546785298 or email garethbaglow.ceramics@hotmail.com.

For a look at his products, search ‘Gaspar Ceramics’ on Facebook.