The CH Pottery studio, set on the shores of Lough Neagh, is where Ciaran Headley creates his ceramic art. Ciaran’s work is becoming very well-known in the Ballymena area, especially since it became available to buy in Midtown Makers on Church Street in the last couple of years.

We caught up with Ciaran to find out some more about CH Pottery. Firstly we asked him to tell us a bit about himself and his interest in ceramics.

“I spent all of my professional career in teaching. Then several years ago I attended a Foundation Course in Art & Design in Lisburn. This provided me with a good opportunity to further my interest in ceramic art. I suppose you could say I got the bug! ‘Making’ quickly became my passion and so I retired from teaching to follow my dream of becoming a potter.”

What about CH Pottery today? Have you been able to follow your dream?

“Thankfully I can say yes! Now I have my own studio near Crumlin, on the shores of the lough, where I continue to persue my passion. Most of what I make is functional stoneware pieces – bowls, cups, pitchers, plates, mugs and more. My other passion is nature and the natural environment around me, so the colours, shapes and texture of my pottery reflects that. The pottery you will buy from me is durable, suitable for every day use and the pieces can be put in the dishwasher, oven or microwave.” 

What advice would you give to others who are thinking of turning what is currently a hobby into a full time career?

“When I was chatting to Year 7 children in school I used to say to them, ‘The only place where Success comes before Work is in the Dictionary!’

And that I think is very true. If you’re going to embark upon the transition from hobby into a full time career then you really do have to be prepared to put the work in. And practice, practice, practice!

It also helps to have good support around you and people who can give you good advice. I was very lucky to meet and chat with Jim Stephenson in Midtown Makers on Church Street in Ballymena. He offered excellent advice about how to develop my small business and point me in the direction of an extensive support network.

Finally some words of wisdom from a very experienced potter, Patricia Shone, who I met in Skye a few years ago.

‘Love the work you make

Don’t make the work you love!’

You can browse and buy Ciaran’s amazing work in Midtown Makers, Church Street, Ballymena or contact him directly on 07835 923752. Take a look on the CH Pottery Instagram page here to see some of his amazing creations.