pottery courses at eastnor pottery

family pose with their freshly thrown pots outside eastnor pottery

We had so much fun working with this lovely family of grown-ups who celebrated x2 birthdays with us by indulging in a whole day’s Potter’s Wheel Course.

As there were x4 participants, we were able to offer the group their very own private session on a Sunday.

Everybody had a potter’s wheel to themselves and spent the day experimenting and perfecting their technique. Our day or weekend Potter’s Wheel Courses are the most immerse potter’s wheel experience we offer. Participants gather an understanding of the craft and after a day of throwing, produce some very competent shapes. This family were no exception and the clay results were excellent!

reaching for the water on the potter's wheeltotal concentration on the potter's wheelbirthday celebration on the potter's wheelpulling the clay up at eastnor pottery

The birthday girls loved it as did the rest of the group. Here’s what they had to say on Instagram:

@jon_williams_potter and @sarah_monk_ceramics are two talented and passionate pottery artists who owns the @eastnorpottery ! Follow and check out their work people 😊. Loved the workshop we attended and Jon is an excellent and patient teacher 👨‍🏫 ❤️

Once we’re out of Lockdown and can gather in small groups again, why not consider a pottery experience as a creative and meaningful family activity. You don’t have to do a whole day either – our 1.5 hr Introduction to the Potter’s Wheel ticks all the boxes too!

socially distanced pottery participants celebrating a birthday at eastnor potterywobbly pots at eastnor pottery

 

roger oats design staff away day

roger oats designs teambuilding at eastnor pottery morning group

Last year, our friends at Roger Oats Designs purchased Introduction to the Potter’s Wheel pottery experiences as Christmas presents for all their staff. What a lovely, thoughtful idea!

What with Covid-19 and everything, its taken a while for the team to access their presents. We’re pleased to report on a sunny Thursday in October, the gang finally made the short journey to Eastnor Pottery to spin some mud and have lots of fun.

Roger oats design staff wotching pottery demo on an away day at eastnor pottery

staff away day at eastnor pottery and the flying potter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The staff visited in groups of x4 and were treated to a potter’s wheel demonstration before taking turns to make pots. As you’d expect from such a creative bunch the results were pretty amazing with a variety of shapes and forms.

oger oats designs teambuilding at eastnor pottery afternoon  group

Here’s what they had to say over on Instagram:

“Thanks for having us @eastnorpottery. One very happy team! Looking forward to the next visit”

“Thank you for a fab afternoon”

“It was a super afternoon, highly recommended, thank you”

“Great fun, thank you!”

roger oats design staff away day

 

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

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

happy potters wheel weekend course participant at eastnor pottery

eastnor pottery owners sarah monk and jon williams getting ready to reopen after lockdown

It’s been a long time coming but at last customers can book one of our fab pottery experiences direct from our website. Hurrah! No need to email, no need to pick up the phone – clay is just a click away!

The following experiences can be purchased via the website:

Clay Modelling                                            £20

Introduction to the Potter’s Wheel       £40

Potter’s Wheel Day Course                      £150

Potter’s Wheel Weekend Course           £280

Groups of x7 or more participants qualify for a group discount but will need to contact the Pottery via our contact form, email or by telephoning 01531 633886.

Thank you to Mike @bookinghound and Chris @infinityunlimited… for all their technical support and for making the magic happen!