FOR Ian McColl, owning and running his own pottery studio, workshop and gallery space was a lifelong dream.
That dream became a reality last year when he opened Taradale's OXART Pottery with his partner Leanne Manniche.
There, the couple runs weekly pottery classes and workshops and manages a busy gallery.
"I have been in the industry since I was 15 years old," McColl said.
"It has been a long time and this is really a dream come true to run a gallery with my own work in it."
McColl and Manniche bought an old stone Taradale Roadhouse in June last year.
They spent the rest of the year renovating it into a workable space.
"We got into renovations and did what we needed to do for the space," McColl said.
"We removed a few walls and did some cleaning and painting and removed all the petrol bowsers and did lots of gardening as well."
McColl studied in Bendigo in the 1980s and always dreamt of returning to central Victoria in some capacity.
He and Manniche were looking for a studio space when they came across the Taradale Roadhouse for sale.
"As soon as this came up we jumped on it," he said.
"This is a long-held dream to have it all under one roof - gallery, workshop and a studio - and my kids are at the age when they're becoming independent so we just thought this was a perfect time."
McColl said timing couldn't have been better.
"Pottery is becoming so prevalent at the moment and there is a resurgence of Australian-made and handmade products," he said.
"It's really timely and great for my partner Leanne to be a part of running this new venture."
McColl said his passion for pottery started at a young age.
"I have always loved creating and the first time I tried the pottery wheel at school, I just really connected with it," he said.
"Since then it's just been a lifelong interest and it is just part of who I am now, it's in my blood."
I have always loved creating and the first time I tried the pottery wheel at school, I just really connected with it.Ian McColl
OXART Pottery opened just before Christmas and McColl said it had been busy ever since.
He said the support from surrounding communities and residents was everything.
"We have been flat-out this year, we are really really busy and we have become a part of the community and accepted with welcome arms.
"The roadhouse has been empty for quite a few years and the community is seeing this as a revival for the town.
"We have people coming from Bendigo, Castlemaine, Woodend and Gisborne to use our facilities and it's really fantastic that everyone is embracing it."
OXART Pottery will host a Friends of Oxart Artists Fair on May 2.
McColl said the event was open to all and would feature seven to 10 artists and potters from across regional Victoria.
He said people could learn more about the event here.
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