Au­tumn colours

Berkshire Life - - FAMILY LIFE, UNFILTERED - WORDS: Sarah Rodi

We cel­e­brate the sea­son by meet­ing the county’s mak­ers of beau­ti­ful home decor

“I dis­cov­ered clay and ceram­ics when I was ex­pe­ri­enc­ing a re­ally dif­fi­cult time in my life,” says mum of three Jenny Hopps. “Our mid­dle child, Mathilda, was di­ag­nosed with a rare form of child­hood cancer in 2017, called Langer­hans cell his­ti­o­cy­to­sis. Thank­fully, she is do­ing well now and we are so grate­ful to Great Or­mond Street.

“I started to ex­per­i­ment with clay as an out­let for my anx­i­ety and worry the year af­ter her di­ag­no­sis. I’d also just had our third child and life seemed so un­set­tled and fraught with worry. Clay gave me some­thing tac­tile to fo­cus on. I used to sit down and cre­ate with clay when the baby was nap­ping and the two older girls were oc­cu­pied with their own craft­ing. When the kids were in bed, I watched hun­dreds of videos on YouTube and read lots of books on ceram­ics. I de­cided to pur­chase a sec­ond­hand wheel on ebay and my love af­fair with clay of­fi­cially be­gan.”

Once Jenny had mas­tered the ba­sics, she en­rolled on a course at Turning Earth in East Lon­don.

She now has her own gar­den stu­dio at her home near the vil­lages of Bee­don and Chieve­ley and sells her con­tem­po­rary home­wares on­line.

“I grew up in Berkshire but have lived and worked in Lon­don for the last 16 years,” Jenny says. “My hus­band, Robert, and I re­lo­cated our fam­ily back to the coun­try­side last year to find some space and to fol­low our dream of ren­o­vat­ing an old prop­erty with lots of green­ery around us. I have happy mem­o­ries of grow­ing up in New­bury and Hunger­ford, and now I am re­dis­cov­er­ing Berkshire. It is such a breath of fresh air af­ter spend­ing so much time in the city. The coun­try­side is stun­ning and we are en­joy­ing fam­ily walks around the lo­cal area, in par­tic­u­lar Snelsmore Com­mon with its wild ponies. The sense of free­dom is won­der­ful.”

One very special place to the cou­ple is Stoke Place Ho­tel, near Slough, where they got mar­ried in the au­tumn of 2010. “It is beau­ti­ful,” says Jenny.

“We live close to Sad­dle­back Farm Shop, which sells fresh pro­duce, flow­ers and meats with a fab­u­lous del­i­catessen. We have a great lo­cal pub, The

Fox in Pease­more. Not only does it serve de­li­cious food but dur­ing lock­down they opened a com­mu­nity shop and take­away ser­vice. The Black­bird in Bag­nor is a great lo­cal Miche­lin star pub and res­tau­rant with a re­ally in­ven­tive tast­ing menu. Post­lock­down they have a pizza cabin,

ABOVE: Jenny in her home stu­dio BE­LOW: Her sig­na­ture bowls and plates

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