After winning The Great Pottery Throw Down earlier this year, Aberdeen’s AJ Simpson has another reason why 2022 may be their happiest year yet – they’ve just said “yes” to marrying their partner Celda Mae Tyndall.
“It doesn’t quite feel real yet, but it’s very exciting,” said AJ who was named the winner of the popular Channel 4 series that sees amateur potters compete against one another.
When Celda asked AJ to play Animal Crossing with her on Friday morning (June 24), little did the successful potter know what was to come.
Animal Crossing is a popular Nintendo game which allows its players to build their own “island” and interact with various anthropomorphic animals.
“Celda said ‘Oh I have something to show you on my Animal Crossing’,” said AJ.
“She hid the proposal on the game so I had to go and find it – I think I went about every other place on her island first and then found the lovely little set-up.
“And at first I was like ‘Oh haha, does that say: ‘Will you marry me?’ and then I turned around and Celda was sitting there with a ring box in her hand!”
Proposal was ‘cute’ and ‘private’
AJ – who described the proposal as “very nice and private” – said they, and especially Celda, are huge fans of the social simulation game.
It was AJ who introduced their now-fiance Celda to the Nintendo video game.
“She’s now on Animal Crossing every day,” said AJ.
Celda, who took to Instagram to share the happy news, said: “I proposed in the only way that made sense – through Animal Crossing. If I had the space and money, I would have done a set-up like this in real life!
“I have never known happiness like this with someone.”
Personalised rings made by partner
Being a talented jeweller, Celda made AJ’s engagement ring herself.
“It’s perfect – I love it,” said AJ.
“We had discussions about what sort of rings I like before – Celda made me a silver ring for Valentine’s Day so she knows I like hammered and textured silver.
“She made the bands for us together so that they were matching.
“Mine’s kind of flatter on the top so they fit together better when we put our hands together.”
Celda said: “I managed to sneak in time to make us rings before we shared a studio space and I was relieved when it fit.”
The happy couple shared their engagement news on social media, receiving congratulations from the likes of comedian Sarah Millican as well as local creatives Laura Sherriffs (Fernweh) and Nicola Seal (Seal Ceramics).
The successful potter said they didn’t expect Celda, who they met at Gray’s School Of Art in 2018, to propose to them.
“It was a big shock but a good shock,” said AJ.
“She asked her parents and my parents the week before, but I had no idea.”
While they haven’t started planning their wedding yet, AJ revealed they have a lot of “very creative ideas”.
But in the meantime, the potter cannot wait to take part in many creative markets and fairs, including Celebrating Ceramics, which showcases the very best in the world of contemporary ceramics.
The event, which takes place in Oxford next month, will see AJ reunite with other potters from The Great Pottery Throw Down.
“We all have a tent together so that will be nice,” said AJ.
“Then, I’m going to be doing The North East Open Studios (which sees local makers opening their creative spaces to the public) in September and I’ll hopefully do a Christmas market too.
“I want to get my website stocked up and keep making lots of pots.”
AJ Simpson winning The Great Pottery Throw Down
AJ, who won The Great Pottery Throw Down in March, said at the time: “I am so happy – it’s a dream come true, a dream that I never thought would ever happen.
“When I heard the announcement, it was completely overwhelming but in a good way. I didn’t know how to react or what to do with myself!”
We followed AJ’s journey on The Great Pottery Throw Down. You can read all our articles here:
After winning the competition, AJ decided to quit their day job to focus on their pottery career full-time.
They said: “I was working at an outdoor clothing shop while the show was airing, and I actually started to get recognised.
“It got to the point where I was thinking ‘I could be making pots right now’ because people were coming into the shop to buy clothes then asking me for pots.
“It’s crazy and it does feel a bit like a dream. It’s what I’ve always wanted since I was a kid. I’ve always wanted to have my own business and be my own boss.”