This week, Tracey unveiled a plaque at Aylesford Pottery with the two owners and master potters Alan Parris and Billy Byles to commemorate the Aylesford School of ceramics 10 year anniversary.
Founded in 2006, it was initially a small operation offering one 10 person class a month but has grown in size and there are now nine classes a day, meaning the school goes through 15 tonnes of clay a year.
Started back in 2006 the Aylesford School of Ceramics which is part of Aylesford Pottery was established in response to the demand from the public for lessons on how to make ceramics. Up to this point the two potters worked solely as a craft studio pottery making things to order.
Then there are the special classes. For over five years school children from primary to senior ages have attended three classes a week. One day every weekend there are ‘taster classes’ for the public, plus business ‘away days’ numbering ten a year with up to twenty five people on each course. Special needs and disability groups are also accommodated. Another very popular event is the Japanese art of Raku fired pots.
And all of these activities are on top of running a successful craft pottery studio.
Tracey said: “What Aylesford Pottery has done is to respond to the needs of their local community, and in doing so enriched many lives”.
The pottery, which is within The Friars, is run by master potters Billy Byles and Alan Parris, who took it over in 1999.
Mr Byles said: “It’s lovely. I get to meet people from all walks of life and there doesn’t seem to be any profession I haven’t taught.”
As well as teaching and making pottery to order, he also until recently held the world record for the most pots made in an hour.