Harborough artist wins UK prize for her ceramics

Katherine Fortnum in her workshop working on her ceramics. PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER NNL-170111-091406005
Katherine Fortnum in her workshop working on her ceramics. PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER NNL-170111-091406005

A ceramics maker and teacher from Market Harborough has overcome a brain haemorrhage as a teenager to win a national prize.

Katherine Fortnum (27), a former Robert Smyth pupil, is one of just five finalists in the national Stelios Awards for Disabled Entrepreneurs 2017.

Some of Katherine Fortnum ceramics.
PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER NNL-170111-091308005

Some of Katherine Fortnum ceramics. PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER NNL-170111-091308005

She has won £10,000 so far, but could win £30,000 if she is chosen from a shortlist of five as the competition’s overall winner.

Katherine, who has run Katherine Fortnum Ceramics for under four years, told the Mail: “I couldn’t believe it when I got the phone call. To be honest I bawled my eyes out – happy tears!

“Ever since I was 13 I have struggled with life-threatening operations.

“I have an invisible disability (little feeling on her left side) which few people know about outside my family and I have never been able to really embrace who I am.

“Being shortlisted has given me such confidence, and made me understand I shouldn’t be ashamed.”

Katherine basically creates all her beautiful, nature-inspired ceramics one-handed, including tying the bows on her coaster sets.

She also passes her skill - acquired through a BA Hons in Design Crafts at De Montfort University – on to other people through her teaching.

She said: “I’ve always been interested in craft, but ceramics was always number one.

“The first time I opened a kiln and saw my finished pieces in all their glory, I was so excited and happy and I’ve never looked back.

“And I also found that ceramics helped my ongoing recovery – mentally and physically.”

Now Katherine is off to London for the competition final, and an interview with the entrepreneur behind the awards – easyJet founder Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou, who teams up with charity group Leonard Cheshire Disability.

“I just hope I don’t get emotional” she smiled.

For info, courses and online shop visit: {http:// www.katherinefortnumceramics.com|www.katherinefortnumceramics.com|}