17 January 2017

Pottery fun at Emma Bridgewater

The time between Christmas and New Year is usually spent on the sofa, eating, drinking, and getting up only to get refills. You lose track of time, and fall into a lethargic state. But towards the end of the year, my mum had other plans.

And so, one of the days, we were rudely awoken pre-8am and bundled into the car. Our destination? Stoke-on-Trent. Or more specifically, the Emma Bridgewater Factory...

We'd been booked into a pottery workshop (not the earliest one, would you believe) whereby you pick crockery and decorate it, ready to be fired and glazed.

You book a slot in advance, and pay a £2.95 studio fee per person - in addition to the piece(s) you select, which are found at the back of the studio space.

Once you've found your allocated table, a member of staff comes over to provide instructions and tips before you get started.

You're given a plate with numbers and letters as a colour guide...

Which shows how the colours will look after the plate has been put in the kiln. For example, a 10 is yellow, C is a pale lilac, and so on.

Then you pick!

You can either paint freehand, or you can pick from Emma Bridgewater shaped sponges, which are housed in matching mugs. It's all very civilised.

You're then given an hour and 30 minutes to make some magic. It's incredibly therapeutic, dunking the sponge in some water, squeezing out the excess (the water helps the paint stick), then dunking it into the paint, and onto the clay. And repeat.

I went for some generic hearts, but made the mistake of not believing in the power of the sponge, and went over the centre of the bigger hearts with a paintbrush (you'll see what I mean later).

My Mum showed off her romantic side...

My brother showed off his love of dinosaurs, and my Dad slaved over his for ages. It was his oeuvre.

When you're finished, you put it on a shelf at the front of the studio and arrange it to be posted out to you, with a wait of up to three weeks (ours only took two!).

With such a long amount of time to decorate your pottery, you could easily design a whole set - bowl, plate, side plate, mug... We just stuck to our side plates. Very reserved - not to mention, it adds up pretty fast.

Totally expecting ours to turn out like this, obviously...

And then it was time for a drink. Decorating pottery is thirsty work. You can get hot and cold drinks in the studio, but we were saving ourselves for something a little more special.

With lashings of cream and marshmallows, for good measure. Yummy.

And a slice of cake, if you're that way inclined.

After we'd refuelled with some hetfy sandwiches (nothing spectacular, I probably would have enjoyed the cake more), we made a quick but necessary pit stop at the factory shop, and bid adieu.

Two weeks later, an exciting parcel arrived at home (images courtesy of my family, thanks guys).

Et voila!

See? You can see exactly where I've gone over the colour on three out of four of the hearts. I should have just left them be. Learn from my mistakes, people.

And all of them together.

The colours are a lot more vibrant than pre-kiln, and I think they look great - although I might be a little biased.

The whole experience was really good fun, and made for a different kind of family day out. Admittedly, there isn't much to do other than decorate pottery and visit the factory shop and shop, but it's well worth the trek.

For more information on the factory and to see what's on - including factory tours - visit the site here.

**This wasn't a sponsored post, by the way, I just really wanted to share. Go! Enjoy! 

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