My Wild Life

Ce­ram­i­cist Mary Rose Young is among the For­est of Dean’s most colour­ful char­ac­ters. She lives and works in Park­end


Iwas born here and there’s a dan­ger of be­ing blasé over what we have. It’s a fan­tas­ti­cally wild place and lots of peo­ple like it for all the walk­ing and cy­cling op­por­tu­ni­ties it of­fers. There’s a lot of free­dom be­cause it’s not fenced in - it gives you the feel­ing that you can walk out into the woods at any time.

I have al­ways felt that the for­est is a lovely and a kind of se­cret place; it’s in­spir­ing be­cause no­body is look­ing over your shoul­der. It’s a great place for artists who want to get out of cities where lots of other artists work, as here they don’t feel hemmed in by other peo­ple’s cre­ativ­ity.

I like to go to Lyd­ney Park Gar­dens, which feels quite trop­i­cal when the rhodo­den­drons are out. I do like flow­ers, I can’t think of any­thing nega­tive that could be said about a flower, and I use them as im­agery in my pot­tery. Some­times, though, I yearn to go some­where away from the For­est of Dean, like the River Sev­ern or Cotswolds hills, and im­merse my­self in a vista.

We have wild boar sur­round­ing our house, which means we can go out­side some morn­ings and think that our gar­dens have been ro­to­vated, and we also have free-roam­ing sheep. We don’t see so many deer, which I find more charm­ing.

Our home is right be­hind a bird sanc­tu­ary and we hear owls at night. We have a num­ber of bats around the house, in­clud­ing the rare horse­shoe species, and I used to see glow worms when I walked down to the pub.

My favourite time in the For­est of Dean is in the spring, when the blue­bells are flow­er­ing and the leaves are an acid green colour. When the blue­bells are out the com­bi­na­tion of smell and colour, and the sound of the birds, is de­light­ful and rest­ful.

I’ve been pro­duc­ing my ce­ram­ics for around 30 years and I’m very proud of the way in which they’re very colour­ful and glam­orous. There are oc­ca­sions when I take a break from ce­ram­ics and go out and draw what I see. It’s a dif­fer­ent dis­ci­pline from what I usu­ally do and it’s great to go out with a sketch book and take a look around. But I can’t do this ev­ery day and as an artist, I’m con­scious of the need to make a liv­ing, which means I’m more of­ten or not work­ing rather than be­ing out and about.

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