Made in Cley celebrates its 40th Anniversary this Summer!

It is coming up to three years that I moved back to Norfolk to work from Made in Cley, and just over 1 year that I fully made the move from my Cockpit studio in London. I'm just about starting to understand the patterns throughout the year - the cycles of visitors to our area, the type of service I need to provide and how to translate that in to progress within my practice.

This summer the studios and gallery celebrate 40 years of business in Cley-next-the-sea. We can all understand what an achievement this is, particularly in our current climate, and here at Made in Cley we intend to give it the party it deserves! If you've read my previous post you will understand the deep connection I have not only to Norfolk but to this special place I find myself working in. It is in an honour to be part of the future of this place and I can't wait to welcome you on 8th June.

Join us on Saturday 8th June 4-7pm for a glass of fizz and to discuss new works with the jewellers and potters of Made in Cley.

Read on for the history of Made Cley...


Made in Cley was set up in 1984 by four craftspeople from Germany, Britain, and the USA. They met while working in Germany and admired the artisanal workshops and galleries of Cornwall. So, with the optimism of youth, they set their goal of creating a co-operative studio pottery. “During this time we were teaching English by day, then making pots in our living room and mixing glazes in our bathroom by night” remembers founder member Gunhild. As their enterprise grew they realised they needed to find more suitable premises and decided to look to the UK.

Having found the perfect site for their vision in Cley next the Sea, a picturesque village on the North Norfolk coast, they transformed the beautiful Regency village shop into their gallery and workshops. They took great care to preserve the original fittings which are still admired today, like the antique wooden counter and set of 84 drawers. "We are the custodians of this fine old building, keeping it in good condition for future generations," as founder Barbara says, continuing “The renovation wasn’t all plain sailing though with one of the potters falling through the ceiling - thankfully they, and the shop, were ok!”


Since those early days Made in Cley has become a highly professional outfit selling to renowned restaurants such as Michelin-starred Morston Hall. The pottery has built up a loyal client base, some of whom have been customers since it was set up. The pots are influenced by Japanese ceramics and the work of Bernard Leach, with work that is made to be functional as well as visually beautiful. The passion for great craftsmanship and collaborative creativity is still palpable when you talk to the potters - "Throwing on the wheel is like a dance. You have to be right there in the moment and get your gestures right to make a great pot” says founder member Wolfgang, while Mary adds "We work alone at the wheel creating the spirit and energy of our pots but need each other to make them come alive”.


The group of craftspeople has expanded over the years to meet demand. Nurturing new makers who are passionate about creating hand-made craft is a huge part of the legacy being created at Made in Cley. One of the newest of the team is David, son of Barbara  - “It’s great to follow in the footsteps of Mum, I remember making dragons out of clay as a child and now I’m making pots to sell in the shop.” 

A full range of domestic pottery is made on the premises - lamp bases and kitchenware are particularly popular, as well as decorative porcelain and hand-fired raku work. The potters all work exclusively under the 'Made in Cley' name and continue to work collaboratively in many aspects of pot making, as they have for so many years.

Photographs and prints by Wolfgang are exhibited in the gallery, depicting the beautiful landscape of North Norfolk.

Handmade precious jewellery is also made on site. Ellen Monaghan works from the Made in Cley studios to create modern sculptural jewellery, having taken over from founder member Quay Proctor-Mears who retired in 2021. Ellen is joined by Meg Matthews who makes high end, locally beachcombed sea-glass jewellery.

Ellen, child of potter Mary, remembers well how inspiring it was to grow up in such a unique environment – “Being around such creative energy and seeing the work behind each piece gave me the belief I could go in to the crafts and make it a viable business – I was so supported in my jewellery training by everyone here and it is a dream to be working in the place that I grew up admiring so much”.

Forty years on, no-one could have imagined that Made in Cley would still be going strong – not only that but making plans for the future and solidifying its position as a true gem of the North Norfolk coast.

The Made in Cley team are:

Potters: Wolfgang Altmann, Barbara Widdup, Gunhild Espelage, Richard Kelham, Rosalind Redfern, Mary Perry, Christiane Guenther, Nicole Schumacher, Nadine Leech, David Veitch

Jewellers: Ellen Monaghan, Meg Matthews