HANDMADE ceramic pots and jewellery inspired by the trip of a lifetime are helping Horwich-based artist Katy O’Neil gain a national profile.

The 40-year-old former Bolton School girl launched her fledgling business from her Horwich home in November.

And she has begun to get recognition and sales from of work after being accepted by the British Craft Trade Fair, from which many retailers in the art world access new work.

Ms O’Neil realised a long-held ambition to work full-time at her first love of ceramics after taking voluntary redundancy from her job at Bolton College where she worked as a lecturer for 12 years.

She then went on a four-month globetrotting expedition, starting in New York, taking in New Zealand, The Cook Islands, Australia, South East Asia, Japan and Hong Kong.

But the location which gave her most inspiration proved to be Pismo, California, on a journey down the US state’s Highway One.

Her jewellery is created from Black Vulcan clay or high fired porcelain.

“I always wanted to have my own business selling my work and I always wanted to travel,” said Ms O’Neil who graduated from Sunderland University before completing a masters degree in ceramics at the University of Wales in Cardiff.

“When the opportunity to take voluntary redundancy came up in 2012, I snatched their hand off. Making things myself was always something I was passionate about, but early in my career, I tried teaching and enjoyed that also.

“Voluntary redundancy gave me the chance to change direction and go back to something I love passionately.”

Ms O’Neil’s pottery work is now on exhibition in Perthshire, Scotland, in the Strathearn Gallery, while her jewellery will be show at a summer exhibition at Leeds Craft and Design Centre soon.

Her jewellery will also going in the Christmas showcase at Sheffield Museum later this year.

Locally, she has also put in a bid to be part of Bolton Food and Drink Festival’s craft section during the August Bank Holiday.

Meanwhile, Ms O’Neil is also offering readers of The Bolton News who purchase items from her website at katyoneil.com a 10 per cent discount, if they key in the code boltonnews14.