Being big pottery fans, one of our favourite places to visit is the Emma Bridgewater Factory in Stoke-on-Trent. It’s quite a drive from where we live in Northamptonshire, but it’s well worth a trip, even more so if you’re collectors like we are. There’s a beautiful shop housing first quality pieces, along with a jam-packed seconds shop. Plus an amazing cafe full of freshly made food, homemade cakes and using grown-on-the-premisis ingredients (you should see their little garden in the summer, beautiful!). It’s really one of those great, innovative and creative places to visit – charming buildings emphasising it’s industrial history, lovely products and just a general ‘feel-good’ place. I always feel completely energised and inspired when seeing what they’ve accomplished – very motivating for a small business owner to see how they’ve created such an strong, iconic brand!
I thought I’d share with you one of the more creative things to do at the factory – pottery painting! In the summer, we visited and booked in to use the decorating studio. You can choose from a huge range of unpainted shapes and paint your own (much easier said than done!). We’d attempted our own pottery decorating in the past at the factory, but this time, we were determined to have something a little more presentable to show for it at the end (seriously, you should see how appalling our previous attempts have been!).
There’s a wide range of paint colours to play with, and tonnes of hand-cut sponges to stamp your own design onto the pottery shapes. If you choose to do the factory tour too, you’ll get a glimpse of the sponges being drawn and cut for the real decorators too. It’s actually much harder to stamp the shapes onto the pottery than you’d think, and quite terrifying trying to avoid ruining your blank canvas. Anyone employed as a decorator at Emma Bridgewater have some true skills!
Once your blank pottery has been painted, it’s then taken off to be glazed and fired in the factory. If you live locally, you can pick your finished personalised pottery a week or two later, or you can provide delivery details to have your ‘masterpiece’ posted to you.
It’s a really fun and creative experience, and it certainly makes you appreciate how talented the decorators are at the EB factory!