Work Experience Report by Emily Byrne

Today is Friday 20 July and my pleasant working experience has come to an end. Now that I know that it’s possible to get paid for this, I am not looking forward to going back to school on Monday.

I set off on day one unsure of what to expect. I knew that the real issue here would be waking up at 7am every morning after two weeks of my lazy school holiday schedule. Somehow, after two trains and a bus, I managed to travel from my grandparent’s house in Kirribilli to Waverley before 9.30. On arrival, I was introduced to Ashley and Vicki who I had met briefly and who have been lovely and patient with me all week. As soon as I got here I realised how small and friendly the pottery world is. I was greeted with “Oh, you’re Jen Lyall’s daughter!” by a number of office visitors. My first day consisted mainly of packing parcels for people who are, to me, just some of mum’s friends, but to anyone else I suppose they are the “the director of something at an arts college a long way away”. My favourite thing about doing work experience here has definitely been how tightly knit the community of ceramists across Australia are.

My curiosity usually gets the best of me, so my first day also consisted of getting lost in the streets of Waverley during my lunch break. On my second day, after a spontaneous trip to Bronte beach in the morning, I left my wallet on a bus. This was a bit of a dilemma, but by some strike of luck it turned up at the bus depot the next day. Most of my time at home is dedicated to blogging and assignments, and so working here seemed very leisurely compared to school. I updated The Australian Ceramics Association’s blog,, and made a few posts. Vicki and I also made a competition for TACA’s friends on Facebook, which I got the pleasure of judging.

I’m glad that I got to do work experience for such a small, intimate magazine. I got to see how everything is done and created as a whole. I feel so lucky to be here rather than some huge publishing company, where I’d probably only get to see a very small part of the big picture.

I loved being able to walk to the coffee shop and get something to eat during my lunch break. Being able to walk everywhere is probably my second favourite thing about staying in the city and doing work experience near the ocean. I could stroll down to the beach after work, or walk through Centennial Park on my way there. The location is something I’ve really appreciated this week after living my spread out life in the Hill’s district. The most enjoyable task I was been given this week was drawing six biro sketches of hands making a pinch pot, which I just finished. I love drawing and it’s something I spend my spare time doing, so being able to do it at work was amazing.

Overall, I can hardly believe what an enjoyable week I’ve had here. I’ve heard stories from friends who hated their work experience and had a terrible time, and I feel so privileged in that I have had so much fun. I’ll be leaving with a much greater understanding of ceramics and what my mum does for a living. Work experience here makes me wish I had actual qualifications, so that I could get a job here in such a lovely place with such kind people. I’ve had such a fantastic time here, and if this is what the real world is like, it’s a lot nicer than I thought it would be.

Emily Byrne


Author: Australian Ceramics

In 1956, The Potters Society of Australia was formed to encourage and foster the development, appreciation and recognition of potters and pottery. It was the first ceramics organisation in Australia. In 2006, our name was changed to The Australian Ceramics Association to more fully reflect the scope of practice of the members. We are a national, not-for-profit organisation representing the interests of practising potters and ceramicists, students of ceramics and all those interested in Australian ceramics. We actively support and promote quality, specialist ceramics education nationally. T: 1300 720 124

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