Keen on clay ... Gillian Cayford was one of the original members of Pottery on Tyne. PHOTO: RUBY HEYWARD

Each generation comes with its own set of stories, shaping the world in its own way. Former potter Gillian Cayford shares some of her stories with Ruby Heyward.

Gillian Cayford was one of the first members of Pottery on Tyne when it started in 1971.

But her love for clay began much earlier than that.

From the age of 25, Mrs Cayford and her friends Avril Friend, and the late Helen Budge and Beryl Stott, spent every Monday together.

They were known as the “bloody Mondays”.

“Everybody that knew us didn’t bother us on a Monday,” she said.

Even after the four friends retired and put pottery behind them, they still met on a Monday.

When Mrs Cayford was making pottery, she enjoyed the discipline it required, especially when making sets.

It was one thing to create an individual piece, and a whole other task to make a set of identical pieces matching in size and shape, she said.

She was also very good at handwork, fashioning a set of nine plaques that were designed to look like iconic buildings around Oamaru.

Whether it was domestic ware or sculptures, creating items from clay was a “labour of love”.

“You can’t hurry the process,” she said.

“You have to have a lot of patience and it doesn’t all go right.”

In her heyday, Mrs Cayford sold hundreds of little clay angels and raised $2000 to $3000 for Save the Children.

Earlier this year, Mrs Cayford’s work featured in “Fired Up, 50 years of Pottery on Tyne”Oamaru’s Forrester Gallery that celebrated the club’s 50th anniversary.

Born in Blenheim, Mrs Cayford (nee Diver) moved to Oamaru when she was 6 years old.

Her father was looking for work during the Depression in the 1930s. Having no luck at their first stop in Dunedin, he secured a job as a baker in Oamaru.

Mrs Cayford’s late husband Murray Cayford also spent his life in the North Otago town.

They met at the bookstore where Mrs Cayford worked.

Mr Cayford would come in for his weekly radio magazines, but ended up gaining much more. Their relationship started with a simple walk home, and they married in 1953, when Ms Cayford was 21.

They raised their three girls on a lifestyle block in Roxlea Park, east of Oamaru. Though, after a stint growing 50,000 strawberries before managing sheep, Mrs Cayford referred to their small farm as a “death-style” block.

Mr Cayford did not share the same love for pottery as his wife.

“He hated the feel of the clay, but he did a lot of other things to help.”

After 40 years on the farm, they retired to Oamaru. Mr Cayford died 19 years ago.

Mrs Cayford had long retired from pottery but made the occasional visit to the club in Tyne St.