Sculptor and sculptural potter
Former journalist and graphic designer Linda Zeff gave up her "day job" to become a full-time sculptor in 1995. Her decision was prompted by several mothers at her daughter's primary school admiring and buying her work - and then asking if she would teach them to sculpt. Starting with just three students making clay figures in her spare bedroom, Linda now has a thriving sculpture and pottery school at her studio in Whetstone, where students can - and do - produce everything from small dishes to life-size heads, from ceramic jewellery to garden statuary. Her weekday and evening "clay classes" are buzzy (and usually over-subscribed), while her Saturday morning stone carving class offers a great opportunity to create unique pieces at a more leisurely pace. In addition, she offers a varied programme of "short courses" - from a day spent turning a knobbly piece of stone into a work of art, to a series of morning classes where pupils can experiment with all kinds of clays and glazes - as well as children's clay modelling and drawing classes.
Linda herself specialises in figurative pieces and portraiture, often producing life-like heads from photos as "surprise" gifts for special birthdays. An experienced potter, she also enjoys creating unusual hand-built pieces with a sculptural twist, for home and garden.
The highlight of her year is her annual exhibition, held at her studio, which not only offers pupils the chance to show their work alongside hers to their family and friends but also raises money for the Barnet branch of the Alzheimer's Society. These events are always well attended and in 2011 she was able to hand over a cheque for £3,600 to the charity. Her aim is to "do even better this year, as the charity has had its budgets cut."