Clay beads created using lace from Debbie’s mother-in-law’s wedding dress... DBM: What has been one of the most valuable claying lessons you’ve learned along the way? DC: Wow good question! I’ve learned lots of little bits and pieces along the way, but I think the most important lesson I’ve learned is to create what “I” love. I learned early on that I didn’t like doing commissions or taking orders to create work – that just wasn’t me and I felt it really took away that creativity for me. I get the best results when I’m loving what I’m doing and that’s probably the most important thing for me at this stage. Life is way too short to do things you don’t want to do and the same applies here - for me anyway. DBM: Any tips for our readers re getting a professional finish with their clay creations? DC: This is quite a tricky one and I think it takes lots of practice to get a professional finish to your work – especially when you’re just starting out and want to experiment and play around. I do think it’s really important to make sure the back of your pieces are just as beautiful as the front. It’s also important to take care when finishing a piece – don’t be in too much of a hurry and check your work regularly. I guess the old saying practice makes perfect is exactly true in this case. DBM: What do you most enjoy making? DC: Anything organic and anything that offers me a surprise. Some clay artists like to see what their finished product is going to be like as it goes into the oven to cure. I like to pop mine in the oven and wonder what it’s going to turn out like – if that makes sense. Also surface treatments are what truly capture my heart. Painting, inking, powders, inclusions – anything that creates an effect on the surface of the clay is an ultimate for me.