couple learn how to make a pot on the potter's wheel at eastnor pottery

pottery session documented as 1 second

Amy is a BIG fan of the ‘1 second everyday’ app which encourages users to document a second of each day as a micro video.

I wonder what will be the focus of today’s short film!

couple learn how to make a pot on the potter's wheel at eastnor pottery

 

Experience the potter's wheel vouchers

close up of clay covered hands on the potter's wheel at eastnor pottery

Why not treat those nearest to you this Christmas time to a creative experience they will never forget?

We offer gift vouchers for all our pottery experiences. Whether it’s our Clay modelling at £20, Introduction to the Potter’s Wheel at £40 or an immersive potter’s wheel day or weekend course at £150/£280, we have the pottery experience perfect for your gifting.

And don’t worry, things are so fluid and unpredictable at the moment be rest assured your Pottery Experience will be here ready and waiting for you…however long it takes!

You can purchase your vouchers right here online on our vouchers page.

introduction to the potter's wheel participants at eastnor potteryview from the steps at eastnor pottery in the autumn 2020potter's wheel demonstration at eastnor potterychild and mother making clay unicorn at countrytastic with eastnor potteryclay owl made on a pottery class at eastnor pottery in herefordshirepottery class participants socially distanced at eastnor pottery in herefordshiremother and son at eastnor potterymolly the hen proudly displays her pot made on the potter's wheel at eastnor pottery and the flying potter herefordshire

introduction to the potter's wheel participants at eastnor pottery

As we prepare to close our doors for the 2nd National Lockdown, we’d like to share this article commissioned by our valued partners Virgin Experience Days and penned by Kam Scott at The PHA Group

It succinctly records our experience of emerging from the 1st National Lockdown in July.

Jon Williams, 50, from Ledbury, Herefordshire set up Eastnor Pottery with his wife Sarah Monk, also 50, 26 years ago. Since then, they’ve been teaching the British public how to get to grips with a potter’s wheel and coach them through the process of clay throwing.

“It’s our baby”, Jon says, “What started out as a studio where Sarah and I made pots to be sold all over the world became our everything – a place where we could do what we loved and work with other people. We never factored in the possibility of our business being affected by a global pandemic – who does?!”

Like many other small businesses, COVID-19 threw the future of Eastnor Pottery into complete chaos. In total, Eastnor Pottery was closed for just over 15 weeks, from 17th March until 4th July. At one point, Jon was forced to start thinking about other work: “It was really concerning. I just couldn’t see how we could sustain what we do here. I seriously dabbled with the idea of becoming a postman to keep us afloat.”

pottery class participants socially distanced at eastnor pottery in herefordshire

Before COVID-19, Eastnor Pottery employed a core team of four people, increasing to seven in the summer months during Peak season. When lockdown hit, Jon and Sarah had to shrink the team right back to just the two of them: “The uncertainty of the situation was very unsettling. As a business owner you are responsible for the wellbeing of your staff. Having to shut up shop for three months meant there was no work for our employees. Luckily, we were able to access the furlough scheme and the government’s small business grant.”

Working with Virgin Experience Days meant that the team had a huge number of classes to put on hold. This really shone a light on some of the admin processes that needed revamping and in a bittersweet turn of events, lockdown allowed Jon and Sarah the time to address these issues: “I’m historically one of those people who will write myself a note and then find it two weeks later, Jon laughs, “Our admin system really needed updating and lockdown gave us the chance to regroup. We’re savvier and much more efficient now – we’ve set up an online system which has hugely streamlined our booking process.”

When the government announced easing of restrictions in England on 4th July, Jon and Sarah had to completely overhaul the way they ran their workshops. Due to social distancing guidelines, customers are no longer able to paint their pots – historically, a key element of Eastnor Pottery’s offering. Jon and Sarah were initially worried, but customer feedback has exceeded all expectations: “We’ve got people telling us that they love getting to spend so much time on the wheel. Before lockdown we hadn’t considered this as an offering, but once again, the circumstances have forced us to reflect and have ultimately allowed us to reshape our business for the better.”

Jon and Sarah have done everything to ensure any customers visiting feel as safe and comfortable as possible. Anyone attending a class must wear a mask and wash their hands as soon as they arrive. Jon and Sarah wear Perspex visors and strictly follow the two metre social distancing guidelines.

They’ve also had to cut down on the frequency of classes and currently there is limited capacity for the classes they do run. A typical Saturday pre-COVID-19 would have seen up to 40 people walking through Eastnor’s doors, but now Jon and Sarah welcome a maximum of 12. This allows for a deep clean to be done in between sessions.

However, Jon and Sarah try and look for the positives: “We just want everyone to be as safe as possible. We love meeting new people. Of course, limited capacity means we’re not making as much money, but look at it this way: our customers get an amazing one to one experience and we really get to know them. Our classes were brilliant before, but due to COVID-19, the quality has really shot up. Now they’re extra special.”

It also means Eastnor Pottery has been awarded the Visit England seal, so customers can rest in the knowledge that their safety is being taken seriously.

The pair are ecstatic to be fully booked for the next few months but are ever-conscious of the changing guidelines and potential future lockdowns: “To be honest, we weren’t sure how it would go. When we first reopened, we didn’t know if anyone would have the confidence to come. However, we’re experiencing a huge spike in popularity – it seems people are desperate to get out and do something exciting and creative. We’re not taking it for granted though, who knows what will happen in autumn and winter.”

The pandemic was unexpected, but the positive consequences for Jon and Sarah’s business as a result are even more so: “We feel quite buoyed up. The pandemic is a massive national tragedy, but lockdown has been positive for us. It’s given us a chance to reflect on the business and come back more streamlined than ever.”

participants at pottery course at eastnor potteryintroduction to the potter's wheel participants at eastnor potterypotter's wheel demonstration at eastnor pottery

three wheel thrown pots stuck together to make a daffodil vase

jon the potter from eastnor pottery prepares to close for lockdown #2 5th nov - 2nd dec 2020

Eastnor Pottery Closed 5th Nov – 2nd Dec 2020

jon the potter from eastnor pottery prepares to close for lockdown #2 5th nov - 2nd dec 2020

Postponed experiences

Genuinely so so sorry we’re not going to be able to welcome you to the Pottery in November :( If you have an Introduction to the Potter’s Wheel Class or Potter’s Wheel Course scheduled for the Lockdown period, please rest assured your experience is safe with us and we look forward to meeting you when you are able to visit – no matter how far in the future that might be.

Pots in the post

If you were able to visit us in the Autumn and paid P+P, we are still intending to post your creations out to you during Lockdown. It may take us a little longer to process your work but please be patient and we’ll email you once they are on their way.

Collecting finished pots

We’ve been operating a non-contact collection system which has worked brilliantly! We’ll continue to use this system once your masterpieces have emerged from the kiln. Again, as our staff have been furloughed, it might take a little longer but we will message you with instructions once they are ready.

And finally…

Although we are currently unable to make pots with you lovely lot, please consider our Potter’s Wheel Experience Vouchers. Christmas is just around the corner and what better way than to treat a loved one by gifting the gift of pottery making!

Stay safe & take care.

J&S xx

three wheel thrown pots stuck together to make a daffodil vase

two day pottery course participants at eastnor pottery malvern hills

Did you know that if there are two or more of you, you can book your own day or two day Potter’s Wheel Course ?

Emma and Matthew did just that and it turns out they are both exceptional makers!

Here’s a pictorial view of their two day creative journey:

throwing pots at eastnor potterytorn freshly thrown pot made by course partciipant at eastnor potteryaspiring potter learning to make pots on the wheel at eastnor pottery herefordshirechoosing pottery paints to decorate their hand made pots on a pottery coursethree wheel thrown pots stuck together to make a daffodil vaseemma collects tea pots so she made one on a pottery course at eastnor pottery in october 2020