Blue Flower

FCE Listening Test 5 Part 4

Part 4

 You will hear an interview with a man called David Shaw, who is a professional ceramicist, making pottery objects out of clay. For questions 24-30, choose the best answer (A, B or C).

24  What does David say is an absolute requirement for people considering a career in ceramics?

A They must feel a passion for it.

B They must be physically very fit.

C They must have enough patience.


25 David says it took him a long time to

A develop his own style.

B make his business profitable.

C decide to work at ceramics full-time.


26 What does David find most enjoyable about his job?

A the fact that the results are unpredictable

B the feedback he gets from his customers

C the knowledge that he creates useful pieces


27 What does David say he finds particularly difficult?

A doing administrative tasks

B finding time to research new ideas

C finishing new commissions on time


28 What reason does David give for his recent success as a ceramicist?

A He's been luckier than other ceramicists.

B He's put in more effort than in the past.

C He's started to follow certain fashions.


29 How does David feel about the possibility of teaching ceramics?

A He feels unprepared for it.

B He fears it might distract him.

C He's unsure about finding time.


30 David advises people who want a career in ceramics to

A talk to established ceramicists.

B go to ceramics exhibitions.

C attend a ceramics course.



Test 5 Part 4

24. 25. 26. A  27. 28. A  29. A  30. C

You will hear an interview with a man called David Shaw, who is a professional ceramicist, making pottery objects out of clay. For questions 24-30, choose the best answer (A, B or C).

Interviewer: David, a career in ceramics seems so attractive. Is that a realistic picture?

David Shaw: Well, for some it's just a job, for others it's a love affair. But in all cases it's crucial you do things at the right stage, nothing can be rushed, if you're the sort of person who can't wait, then this isn't for you! I start by getting all the air bubbles out of the clay. Next, I 'throw' the clay - that's the word we use - I shape it on a wheel, before leaving it to harden. When it's fully dry, I fire it in a kiln at a high temperature, then glaze it, before firing it again. It's physical work - there's lots of slapping the clay and putting pressure on it. You feel tired by the end of the day, but you shouldn't let that put you off.

Interviewer: And it takes time to become a really good artist.

David Shaw: You've got to be determined. I was apprenticed for over two years to another potter, and very soon I was making the sort of shapes that have become a distinctive feature of my pieces. It was relatively easy for me to find my own voice. Not so with the financial side of it, though. That was a steep learning curve and for years I was barely making enough to survive, even though was putting in long days.

Interviewer: So what's the best part of your job?

David Shaw: I like the way that you don't know exactly what's going to come out of the kiln, because the firing process affects each piece differently. There are other pleasures, but nothing equals that feeling. I still love seeing the finished pots; that I've achieved something tangible. It's also nice to hear people's positive responses. People tell me that they use my cups and dishes every day.

Interviewer: And the most difficult?

David Shaw: Well, I have to do everything - all the paperwork for example. It's not hard work in itself, don't get me wrong, in fact, at times it provides a welcome break from making pots, but it eats up valuable time. If I don't plan my days very carefully, things don't get done because I also need to look at new projects, come up with fresh initiatives, and that's the toughest part of the job. But I'm always keen to fulfil whatever I promise a client - I hate to keep people waiting.

Interviewer: Recently you've been very successful. Why do you think that is?

David Shaw: Yes, I've just designed a dinner service for a famous shop, and I must say it's rare for a potter to do that. It so happened that they were looking for a dinner service in the classical style I do, and I think I was in the right place at the right time. Most potters work on their own, and their money comes from exhibitions. They mostly work extremely hard. Some also teach.

Interviewer: Have you ever considered teaching?

David Shaw: Mmmm ... I have, and recently I had a very tempting offer, from one of the best art colleges in this area. They wanted me to teach one morning a week, a special ceramics workshop. It was just a few hours, and it would have given me a different experience. I declined the offer because, yes, I have the knowledge and experience, but I have no teaching qualification. The college principal said I'd pick it up easily enough, but I wasn't convinced.

Interviewer: So, finally, what would you say to a young person who wants a career in ceramics?

David Shaw: Don't believe people who tell you you can do it all yourself. You could go to art school and do a degree in ceramics, but there are also night classes and adult education courses. If you decide you want to do it, focus on it and don't let yourself lose direction. The physical skills develop through practice - you've got to stick with it. You learn to attune your visual sense so you can look at the curves of an object and see what looks good and what doesn't, until you can develop your own style. Have self-belief and be proud of your work.

Interviewer: David, many thanks.