A Model & Potter Talks Ceramics, Books & Mental Health
A Model & Potter Talks Ceramics, Books & Mental Health

A Model & Potter Talks Ceramics, Books & Mental Health

Struggling with post-natal depression, Florence St George began experimenting with a lump of clay on her kitchen table. As her hands became busier, she found her mind grew calmer. In just a few years, Florence went from complete beginner to contestant on The Great Pottery Throw Down. Here, she tells us more about that journey – and how she’s going to help others discover the power of pottery.
By Georgina Blaskey

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I’d describe my personal style as ‘studio chic’. I worked as a model in my 20s, moonlighting as an art dealer. After studying History of Art at Bristol University I became transfixed with modern British art. When the modelling cheques came in, I would head straight to any auction house I could find to spend my earnings. They were humble works by relatively unknown artists, but I covet them as treasures now they hang on my walls. The high heels and sparkly dresses are gone today – now you’ll find me happiest in an apron covered in clay.

From a young age I always appreciated my mum’s eclectic style. I don’t think there are such things as bad taste or good taste. I just appreciate anyone who shows confidence and flair whether that’s in fashion, art or interiors.

After a year of Prozac, family nurturing and love, it was time to REBUILD MY CONDIENCE. I felt ready to begin something new and I had NO IDEA WHAT THAT MIGHT BE

Artistic talent runs in the family. My mum and brother are both artists and my sister is a writer – it’s in the genes and we all use it as therapy. I’ve always loved to craft, particularly as a child, but it was in my 30s that I realised clay was the medium for me.

Post-natal depression hit me out of the blue. I was very much a rabbit caught in the headlights – with a baby in my arms. It wasn’t until my husband suggested we visit a psychiatrist that I realised anything was truly wrong with me. Those first few cracks were obvious to my loved ones. Looking back, I felt lost. I was physically in pain and found myself in a vortex of feelings that were completely new to me. After a year of Prozac, family nurturing and love, it was time to rebuild my confidence. I felt ready to begin something new and I had no idea what that might be.


In the evening when the house was quiet, I would watch The Great Pottery Throw Down. I became fascinated with the process of making pots on a wheel. I wanted to learn that skill, so I did a foundation course at Central Saint Martins. Then I joined a local studio in Kilburn, where we were living at the time, and I would sneak off in the evenings to classes while my husband would babysit. I found a second-hand wheel, a kiln and the adventures began. Things snowballed from that moment. My kitchen became a studio. Eight years later here I am, no longer relying on Prozac, with clay-filled hands and a happy heart. 

The first bag of clay I bought cost £15 from Amazon. I was using old wooden salad bowls from the kitchen as moulds, and I made some lovely little sculptures that looked like little hatched eggshells – they still litter my bookshelves. Stolen moments were spent watching YouTube videos. It’s interesting to see how far pottery has come in the seven years since I began – now all you need to do is jump onto TikTok and you’ll learn a bunch of interesting techniques.


Every single part of the pottery process fascinates me. I love to multitask, so the idea of literally spinning plates on a wheel while waiting for a pot to dry or painting a vase while the kiln finishes cooking really appeals to me. Pottery’s also taught me patience. You can’t rush any part of each process – otherwise, for example, if an air bubble isn’t wedged out of the clay properly… BANG the pot explodes in the kiln. An excellent lesson for life: by taking your time to build your own internal strong walls, things are less likely to blow up.

I love that no two pieces I make are ever identical. I get so much pleasure from both sculptural/ornamental and utilitarian work. I have seen my large Fleur de la Mer bowls being used as a standalone centrepiece in one client’s home and as a salad bowl by another. 

I’m fascinated by geology. Whether it’s flint stone on the English Suffolk flats, limestone on the Caribbean shores or the twinkly iron and obsidian chips in the African sand, the ground and soil beneath us fascinate me.


I collect stones, sand, seashells and clay. I love the idea of making glazes from things I collect or seeing how they fire in the kiln. It still blows me away that silica (sand) turns to glass when fired in a kiln. And yet, wax melts. I used seashells to inspire the pottery shapes for the nesting dishes I collaborated with Monica Vinader on.

I love Picasso’s playful pots. His wide-eyed ceramic owls and his vases with bulging bellies really caught my eye. Then I was introduced to the work of ceramicist Lucie Rie and her understated, effortless yet meticulous style really appealed to me. Her work has inspired my most recent collection. I have used the process of sgraffito on a bronze glaze to add detail to the rims of the bowls. The pink, blue and yellow bold glazes add a more modern twist to the base of the functional stoneware bowls. Eating pasta out of these bowls is pure joy.

The book that changed my life forever is The Choice by Edith Eger. This quote in particular: “Our painful experiences aren’t a liability – they’re a gift. They give us perspective and meaning, an opportunity to find our unique purpose and our strength.”

I will be keeping A LITTLE BALL OF CLAY stashed away in my handbag for whenever I need (knead!) to CALM THE NERVES.

I truly appreciate and admire all my fellow potters and ceramicists. It’s a wonderful ‘village’ to be a part of. Kingsgate Workshops in Kilburn will always hold a special place in my heart. I also love the modern open space at Studio Pottery London – they have done a great job of making ‘throwing on the wheel’ more accessible, just like joining a yoga or Pilates class after work. I’m really looking forward to setting up my own studio this year in Oxfordshire, where I hope to plan pottery retreats.

I’m excited about my upcoming collaboration with my friend and jewellery designer Monica Vinader. We have a beautiful little Brancusi-inspired bud vase launching in June. It will be available in blue and whites with delicate gold rims that really complement her jewellery style. As a family we are also moving house, country and school over the next six months. That will be taking up a lot of my focus, but I know all too well that having clay at my fingertips is crucial for my mental health. I will be keeping a little ball of clay stashed away in my handbag for whenever I need (knead!) to calm the nerves.

Visit FlorenceStGeorge.com & MonicaVinader.com 



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