For my birthday, one of my friends organised a group trip to the Painting Pottery Café in Brighton. It was a horrible rainy September day when we went, so an indoor activity was perfect. Plus, I do love a touch of arts and crafts (after all, I did do art GCSE, hellooo) so naturally I came over all ‘creative.’
We were welcomed into the Painting Pottery Café and shown downstairs, where we had our own area to set up and put our very jazzy aprons on.
We started off by choosing a ready-made item to paint. There were lots of different things like plates, bowls and mugs. I went for a small square shaped bowl that I planned to use at home for nibbles (because you always need nibble bowls!) The team make them on site, so you have to start by sanding it down and getting rid of the dust with a sponge before it’s ready to paint.
Once smooth, you can unleash your arty alter ego and sketch on a design using a pencil, or, if you’re really brave you can go straight in with paint. There was LOADS of tracing paper, pattern ideas and pictures already drawn that you could trace on, so we all set to work on our designs. There were so many finished items around the room that you could use for inspiration too. We must have been completely silent for about an hour, sketching, rubbing out, mixing paints – we took things very seriously!
Next up, we got to try throwing. This is the ‘proper’ pottery part, when you actually sit at the wheel and make something from clay.
Throwing was so much fun! You sit at the wheel and press your foot on a pedal at the side to make it spin. You have to have wet hands all the time, so you can shape the clay and move it to where you want to. One of the team had given us a demo of what we could make and was on hand to help when it all went wrong (thank god). I decided to make a little lipped jug with a heart shaped top. It sounds much simpler than it was!
You start with your clay in a ball and press two fingers in the middle to make an indent in the centre. Next, you move your thumb and finger either side of the edge and gently pull it outwards and upwards at the same time to get the height. Oh, and you have to keep your foot on the pedal to control the spinning speed AND also have your hands wet all the time. It’s very difficult, but after a few hiccups, I finished my clay creation *proud face*.
As it was my birthday, the lovely ladies at the Painting Pottery Café let us bring in some prosecco and birthday cake, which we enjoyed during the few hours we spent there.
As you might know if you’ve done pottery before (was my school the only one with a kiln, surely not?) you’ll know that it needs to be fired in a kiln. If you don’t know what I’m on about, a kiln is a very hot oven. That process takes a little while, so they take care of that for you and post your pottery to you at home when it’s all lovely and shiny.
Here I am with my finished product…
Thank you to the Painting Pottery Café for giving us such a fab afternoon!