Two local charities have received a seasonal fundraising boost thanks to local ceramics artist, Marian Mason of Ocean Ceramics at Winchelsea Beach.
Marian, who has featured in the Rye News culture section, holds her Open Studio event twice yearly – in the summer and in the winter. Although in 2020 Marian’s summer event had to be re-scheduled from June to August due to the first lockdown, the lifting of the second lockdown came just in time for Marian’s Christmas Open Studio on Sunday December 6.
With health, safety and restrictions in mind, Marian’s studio was ventilated and access restricted to two persons at a time, with use of anti-bacterial hand gel and masks mandatory throughout. Although Marian was initially concerned that, coming so soon after lockdown and with such restrictions in place, her Open Studio would not see so many visitors this time around, on the day there was a steady stream of regular community customers, as well as some new ones.
Thrilled with purchases
After discovering Ocean Ceramics at this event, new customer Jan Murphy, of Guestling shared online: “I visited today and am thrilled with my purchases. Marian’s studio is a joy, thank you.”
And indeed it is a joy with Marian’s vibrant ceramic creations, art work, seasonal decorations and her delightful children’s book The Ghost of Camber Castle, transforming her studio into a gorgeous grotto – the perfect antidote to the grotty year that 2020 has been. Alongside her own works, Marian also offered local preserves, refreshments, second hand books and Pett Level Independent Rescue Boat’s (PLIRB) charity merchandise for sale. Donation pots for the PLIRB and for St. Michael’s Hospice were also available.
“People round here are obviously very fond of our local charities, the Pett level Independent Rescue Boat is a very popular one, and St. Michael’s Hospice,” Marian shared. “So, people come and buy my pots and I give a percentage to the charities and other people like to come and also donate very generously.”
From pots of clay to pots of cash
Although Marian feels numbers were slightly down on her Christmas Open Studio from previous years, she is very pleased with the results of her efforts thanks to the generous buying and giving from members of the community who visited the studio.
This generosity was revealed when, after collecting and counting their donation pots, PLIRB volunteers discovered that Marian’s latest event has raised a total of £80.63 to help towards the rescue boat’s running costs.
PLIRB treasurer, Stella Dunn said: “We are so delighted to have such a dedicated supporter of our services, especially in this very unprecedented time. With all our fundraising events ceased this year, we are so grateful for the ongoing support and income that is generated through Marian’s event. The PLIRB association and volunteers cannot thank Marian enough.”
Both Marian and the PLIRB are delighted that the amount raised in the Ocean Ceramics Christmas Open Studio is close to the amount raised for the boat in her summer Open Studio event showing that, despite a reduced number of visitors, the local community and Ocean Ceramics customers are happy to be generous to local causes.
Fuelled for emergencies
Chair of the PLIRB charity committee, Kev Nuttall is also keen to share exactly how the amount Marian raises makes a difference to the charity. “To some, £80 may not seem a massive amount, but as a self-funded charity it makes a huge difference to our operational capabilities at this very challenging time.
“For instance, the £80 raised by Marian at Ocean Ceramics will keep one of our boats and vehicles fuelled for exercises and emergency ‘Shouts’ for around 6 to 8 weeks. This is fundamental to the search and rescue work we do and we’d like to thank Marian, and the community who supported her event, very much.”
There is no word yet on the final amount raised for St. Michael’s Hospice, but Marian is hopeful that their donation pot too, will hold an amount that will make a difference to the charity after the challenges of 2020.
Pottering around for charities
After several years of holding her Open Studio fundraisers, it is estimated that Marian has raised over £1,000 for each of her chosen charities. In addition to this, Marian is looking forward to being able to do more in 2021, with thoughts of new designs and hopefully no restrictions when it comes to next summer’s Open Studio.
“I like to make pots, it’s a hobby and something I’m really keen to do. Obviously I don’t want to just fill my studio with my pots, I want to sell them, pass them on and hope people will like them. As I’m not really in it to make money, I just want to get my costs back – the clay, the electricity, the glazes cost quite a bit – if I can sell my pots, I can keep doing it.”
Thank you so much, Marian for being such a generous contributor to local colour, creativity and culture, all whilst contributing so much to local charities.
To find out more about Marian Mason and Ocean Ceramics, please visit Marian’s Facebook page.
To learn more about the work of Pett Level Independent Rescue Boat, please visit plirb.com.
If learn more about the work of St. Michael’s Hospice, please visit their website.
Image Credits: Katherine Crowther .