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

eastnor pottery owners sarah monk and jon williams getting ready to reopen after lockdownJust under three weeks to go before we welcome back all you aspiring potters and creatives! We are so looking forward to seeing you and have been beavering away making changes to products and studio spaces, all designed to make you feel confident to visit and comfortable whilst you’re here.

For those of you who haven’t had the good fortune to visit our wonderful studio on the idyllic Herefordshire Eastnor Castle Estate, we are blessed with bags of outside space. Whenever the weather permits we’ll be facilitating sessions in the garden and in our boutique ‘Potting Tent’ marquee.

The Potting Tent Marquee at Eastnor Potterykick wheel at eastnor pottery and the flying potter

If’ is looking chilly, we still have ample room in the Pottery to social distance a battalion of would be potters! Well not quite that many, but we are very confident in our planning and spacing. Inevitably, we’ll be seeing less of you as classes will be smaller. In fact, during July, we’re offering dedicated classes per booking. So, if you are a family or couple you’ll have your very own private session! Give us a call on 01531 633886 or email admin@eastnorpottery.co.uk to book your session.

Here’s a list of other things we’re going to be doing to make people feel comfortable when they visit Eastnor Pottery.

  • To avoid handling cash and cards, we’re asking for full payment in advance of customer’s sessions – BACS our preferred method of payment and we’ll provide customers with our account details as soon as they are in the diary.
  • Customers will need to bring their own apron and old towel (sharing is fine). The clay doesn’t stain and washes out easily so wearing old clothes is perfectly acceptable too, but please don’t forget the towel!
  • We’ll be asking customers to arrive no earlier than 5 mins before their session starts. This will give plenty of opportunity for previous guests to finish their session and proceed on their merry way.
  • On arrival, customers will be directed to a waiting area and asked to wash their hands. Their experience will commence once the previous participants have departed and we’ve had opportunity to clean tools and prepare the wheel(s)
  • We’ve set up the furniture and potter’s wheels to account for the 2m social distancing rule and will be observing social distancing through-out the experience.
  • Sadly, the legendary complimentary cuppas and fresh coffee are on hold for the time being :( That said, customers are very welcome to bring their own beverages and water bottles.
childrens hands in wet squidgy clay at cheltenham science festival 2019

childrens hands in wet squidgy clay at cheltenham science festival 2019Under normal circumstances (remember them!?) we’d have been up to our eyeballs in clay at the brilliant Maker Shack as part of Cheltenham Science Festival.

We’ve been involved in the Makershack since its inauguration in 2017. Last year we encouraged visitors to make a press molded brick, using real brick clay from Coleford Brick and Tile Company based in the Forest of Dean.

The bricks were assembled into a giant castle and we worked with nearly 10,000 people over the x6 days of the festival! – that’s a shed load of bricks! The sheer volume of visitors meant we had to build a fresh structure each day, deconstructing the building at the close and re-claiming the material for the next morning.

Athough the Makershack was primarily aimed at Primary school aged students – (and man, there must have been very few Gloucestershire schools who didn’t visit the show), on Friday night grown-ups got to play with the technology in a special after-hours session between 8pm and 10pm.

Although it’s full-on, we love the #makershack and look forward to sharing the scientific benefits of engaging with clay, with festival visitors in 2021.

cheltenham 6th former does work experience at eastnor pottery in herefordshire

cheltenham 6th former does work experience at eastnor pottery in herefordshireSay hello to Mac!

Mac, a 6th former at Bishop’s Cleeve High School in Cheltenham spent his work experience week with us in February.

We loved having him around the place and his enthusiasm and good nature made for a brilliant experience all round. At the end of the week we asked him to write a short review of his Eastnor Pottery experience. This is what he had to say:

After being informed by my school that we were expected to find a work experience placement, at first, I was lost for ideas as to what I wanted to do. I searched for weeks to find something that interested me, and ended up sending around twenty e-mails to various different businesses, all of which either rejected me or did not bother to reply, the process of finding something ended up being a stressful and demoralising one. That’s when I decided to send an e-mail to Eastnor Pottery and had a good feeling about it. A day later, Jon replied and immediately came across friendly and enthusiastic about the idea, which really put my mind at rest, and I was exited when everything was sorted out for me to spend a week there.

Before I arrived, I was initially a tad nervous, which is the way I feel when being placed in an unfamiliar environment, however as soon as I entered the building, I was immediately put at ease. Everyone I met were so kind and welcoming, and I settled in very quickly. I thoroughly enjoyed my time here, and any task I was given, I took on with a smile plastered on my face, from washing and cleaning the studio to glazing finished pots, loading the kiln and even being able to make  my own products, it was a pleasure to work in such warm and bright surroundings with people who evidently love what they do, which shows clearly through the workshops they offer, which I observed closely and would recommend to anyone. Furthermore, it has given me a new interest in ceramics, which is something I’d love to extend beyond my work experience placement. Finally, id like to offer my deepest gratitude to Jon, Sarah, and the rest of the team at Eastnor Pottery for providing me with an amazing experience, in a studio I would love to potentially return to one day, this time as a customer, to use the skills they have taught me to use! 

I think we might be seeing a bit more of Mac in the future. :)

pile of rejected pots at the end of a potter's wheel workshop at eastnor pottery

pile of rejected pots at the end of a potter's wheel workshop at eastnor pottery

Did you know that clay is infinitely recyclable? It’s been on the earth some 66 million years drying out and re-hydrating unchanged in nature. It’s only when it’s fired in the kiln it makes an irreversible change. Pottery or ceramic is probably one of the most permanent and durable materials known to man. Once they are out the kiln, they are out there forever!

It’s one of the reasons we ask our one day and weekend potter’s wheel course participants to be selective of their freshly made booty. At the end of the workshop, participants get to choose up to three creations to be fired and glazed. Surplus pots are ceremonially plucked from their resting places for recycling.

Must say it’s not very often we get such a neat pile of rejected pots! #neatlyfolded

clay castle made from individual bricks made at the cheltenham science festival by lots of families and school children

families making clay bricks in the makershack at cheltenham science festival 2019

It was fab to be back at the Cheltenham Science Festival last month.

We’ve been involved in the Makershack since its inauguration in 2017. This year we encouraged visitors to make a press molded brick, using real brick clay from Coleford Brick and Tile Company based in the Forest of Dean.

The bricks were assembled into a giant castle and we worked with nearly 10,000 people over the x6 days of the festival! – that’s a shed load of bricks! The sheer volume of visitors meant we had to build a fresh structure each day, deconstructing the building at the close and re-claiming the material for the next morning.

Athough the Makershack was primarily aimed at Primary school aged students – (and man, there must have been very few Gloucestershire schools who didn’t visit the show), on Friday night grown-ups got to play with the technology in a special after-hours session between 8pm and 10pm.

Although it’s full-on, we love the #makershack and look forward to sharing the scientific benefits of engaging with clay, with festival visitors in 2020.clay castle made from individual bricks made at the cheltenham science festival by lots of families and school children

school children enjoying hands on making clay bricks at cheltenham science festival 2019