Get creative!

In permaculture you often hear people say that ‘every problem is a solution’. Sometimes they are hard to find, but when we do find a way to turn problems on their head, the result can be beyond our wildest dreams.

I have an example of this from my family – a story that I have known since I was a little girl and that I’d like to share with you.:

My great auntie was born in 1899 (although she told everyone it was 1900!) to a working class family in Stoke-on-Trent. In those days the main jobs in the area were either in the coal mines or the potteries. and girls did not work down the mines. As a result, many female members of my family went off to be paintresses, decorating the pottery by hand, copying specific designs (these were the days before the widespread use of transfers). And so, off my auntie went to work in the potteries, eventually ending up with a company called A J Wilkinson. As with many other potteries, this one had piles of ‘seconds’ pottery that had little value. Because of her artistic talent my auntie was given the chance to decorate some of these ‘waste’ pots, which she did with bright colours and distinctive designs. Much to everyone’s surprise, buyers were found and demand grew. Eventually new pots had to be made and designed and thus a viable business grew from using up what was once considered waste. In fact it was so successful that you may have heard of her… her name was Clarice Cliff.

A Crocus pattern pot

A Crocus pattern pot

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