CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to EADT Suffolk today CLICK HERE

A passion for pottery

PUBLISHED: 10:48 30 December 2014 | UPDATED: 10:48 30 December 2014

Profile on potter Libbi Hutchence. For Suffolk Magazine.

Profile on potter Libbi Hutchence. For Suffolk Magazine.

Tessa Allingham meets west Suffolk potter Libbi Hutchence

Profile on potter Libbi Hutchence. For Suffolk Magazine.Profile on potter Libbi Hutchence. For Suffolk Magazine.

At the bottom of Libbi Hutchence’s garden is a wooden shed. It’s painted a Farrow & Ball-ish shade of sage, there are pots of pansies softening the edges, and a little ceramic heart hung on the apex of the roof. Inside, loops of floral bunting are strung from nails, there are family snaps and messages pinned to a board, and a little pot of flowers in the window. It is every bit the feminine alternative to a man-cave.

A larger ceramic sign announces this pretty shed to be not just a cave, but the beating heart, the headquarters if you like, of Libbi’s fledgling business, Libbidib Pottery. Open the door – it’s always ajar in nice weather – and shelves in the tiny space are stacked neatly with Libbi’s wares (delicate single-stem vases, juice squeezers, colanders, reed pots, leaf-patterned clock frames) all at various stages of the production process. A pottery wheel, a small work surface, a dresser with Cath Kidston curtains hiding glazes and tools – and a very masculine round kiln – complete the organised picture.

This is where Libbi retreats whenever she can, grabbing odd hours between her full-time job as an ophthalmology secretary at the West Suffolk hospital and teaching pottery at evening classes at the West Suffolk College (she’s about to add a Saturday morning children’s course to her timetable). “Pottery really is my passion,” she says, face alight, eyes creased with smile. “I just have to do it, I need to do it! It’s how I relax. The fact that people are now buying my stuff is an amazing bonus.”

Libbi started selling through the March Hare Collective just a year ago, and now also supplies the Hand Made Shop and Gallery, the Bury St Edmunds shop that sells the work of local artists, designers and makers. Popular pieces include her simple ceramic birds, yarn bowls with looping cutaway channels designed to stop wool rolling away, and strings of ceramic hearts. She favours pretty, delicate designs, much of her work scattered with dainty flower patterns and dots, and glazed in muted shades of blue-grey or pink.

Profile on potter Libbi Hutchence. For Suffolk Magazine.Profile on potter Libbi Hutchence. For Suffolk Magazine.

She’s experimenting at the moment with raku glazing, a dramatic technique which creates a shimmering, metallic finish. “It really is alchemy at work!” she laughs.

Even with conventionally-fired ceramics, every creation is unique. “I love that no two items are ever the same,” she says. “Opening the kiln after a firing is still really exciting; you never know quite what you’re going to find! I don’t generally have disasters now, but pottery is quite scientific – just one air bubble will mean a pot will explode – and you have to be careful working with chemical glazes and very high heats [the kiln reaches a staggering 1200ºC].”

With years of experience meaning that catastrophes are mercifully rare, Libbi loves the calming influence of pottery. “There’s something very meditative about what I do, very therapeutic, the way the wheel spins, pulling up the clay, making something beautiful out of mud.”

“I’ve always been creative, I think I’ve tried just about everything!” She indicates a spinning wheel in the corner of the sitting room: “I can spin, and I’ve tried glass blowing, basket making, knitting, painting, sewing. But I’ve found my real passion with pottery. I’m never happier than when I have clay under my nails! I would love to live as a potter – I wouldn’t be rich, but I’d definitely be happy!”

Find Libbi on Facebook at libbi.hutchence. For more information on Libbi’s West Suffolk College courses, go to


Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other EADT Suffolk Magazine visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by EADT Suffolk Magazine staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique EADT Suffolk Magazine account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More from People

Tue, 13:24

Why former EADT editor Terry Hunt believes the threatened extinction of the Suffolk accent is a catastrophe for our local heritage

Read more
Wednesday, November 28, 2018

What makes the perfect Christmas? For most of us it’s good food, good drink and good company, wherever we call home. And in Suffolk we’re lucky to have some great people in the food and drink industry who ensure we always have a great time | Words: Jayne Lindill

Read more
Friday, November 23, 2018

From her great uncle’s First World War diary Vicky Gunnell pieced together the career of a pioneer in aerial photography at Orford Ness and Martlesham Heath

Read more
Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Spirit Yachts is a Suffolk success story. After 25 years of designing and building luxury vessels sailed all over the world, it has plenty to celebrate | Words: Ross Bentley

Read more
Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Private, intimate and unforgettable: here’s why you should consider a bespoke package wedding at a stately home

Read more
Friday, October 26, 2018

An exclusive charity sale at Bishop & Miller gives Ed Sheeran fans the chance to own some of the singer’s personal items

Read more
Tuesday, October 23, 2018

October . . . the month for the unusual and the unexplained. Pip Wright delves into Suffolk’s strange, bewildering history of witchcraft | Words: Pip Wright

Read more
Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Tessa Allingham sits down to dinner prepared by some of the county’s most talented chefs and their most promising protegés

Read more
Friday, October 5, 2018

John White has lived and worked at the tiny hamlet of Felixstowe Ferry for almost all of his 79 years | Words & Photos: Mike Trippitt

Read more
Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Thinking of boarding school for your child but have concerns? There might be a flexible boarding option to suit you at Royal Hospital School, Ipswich

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

EADT Suffolk Magazine weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory

Local Business Directory

Search For a Car In Your Area

Property Search