Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Kris Finds Her Touch with Feats of Clay

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Kris Finds Her Touch with Feats of Clay

Article excerpt

When Kris Lambert lost her eyesight she never asked "why me?" but turned the tables on her disability and bought a potter's wheel.

Kris, 52, of Newton Hall, Durham City, was diagnosed with macular dystrophy 22 years ago and rapidly lost her sight forcing her to give up work at an architect's firm.

But after 10 years of night classes and hard work in a pottery shed attached to her home, she has been asked to display her work in three exhibitions including a gallery in London's West End.

She said: "When I found out I was losing my sight, I took it in my stride.

"Because I can only see out of the corner of my eyes I have to look at people side-on which really puts them off. But I never moped or asked `why me?'

"The only thing I missed about leaving work was the feeling of being needed - that's why I joined a night school - to try and get some independence back.

"I started off with art classes but because I have a huge black hole in my vision all I could see were swirls and shades which meant I had to draw what I thought was there - not what was really there.

"But pottery was something I could touch and feel and could work on even though I can't see it."

Kris studied for two hours every week at New College, Durham City, and family and friends donated art equipment so she could practise at home.

Her partner George Taylor, 58, gave up his antique-dealing business to look after her and together they set up a pottery studio next to their home two years ago.

The wooden shed is crammed with special lights and magnifying glasses to help Kris see her finished products.

She said: "The pottery cost me a fortune - especially as it was a bit hit and miss to begin with. I am still learning and every time I put something in the kiln I never know how it's going to turn out.

"The success rate was only about 20pc and my friends were sick of being given squashed ash trays as presents. I have even been known to paint something in completely different colours and not realise until George tells me.

"But I'm also a bit of a perfectionist and want to produce something I can be proud of and am getting better at it. …

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