Saturday, 1 February 2014

The Emma Bridgewater Factory gets a visit ...

Welcome to the first day of Bloguary and to start off this challenge I have set myself is a different post to usual so I hope you like my mini adventure ...!

Last Saturday was an exciting day, this Saturday meant my friend Jenna and I were meeting up after a long few months apart, sob sob.  I'm sure if you imagine what two girls are like when they haven't seen each for a while, the talking doesn't stop, usually to the point where you are the last ones standing and people ask you to leave!

We always try and do something a bit different when meeting up and this time we decided to go to the Emma Bridgewater Factory in Stoke on Trent to do some creative painting.  I should probably point out at this point that neither of us are fantastic painters so we had already set ourselves up for an interesting adventure..

When we first walked in to the factory we were greeted by two lovely ladies who asked us what we fancied doing and showed us where all the goodies were hiding for us to paint.  There was everything you could imagine, many different bowls, mugs galore, plates everywhere, jugs, pots, you name it and it was there on the magical shelves.  Having traipsed through everything, we both went for mugs, Jenna for a breakfast mug and me a coca mug.

Sitting down at our table the next questions were firstly what on earth do we paint on to these mugs, luckily there was the most gigantic stamps collection ever, from bees to sandcastles and secondly colours, there was so many colours to wrap our heads around!  Luckily on each table is an already glazed plate showing what all the colours looked like once the paint had been placed in the kiln.  This was it, picking our chosen colours from the biggest paint table ever.

A lot of colours right?!  I kid you not, there's more...

Paints, check, stamps, check, mugs, check, designs, to be decided as we went along...

(I'm sure we actually had more sponges than this ...)

Whilst we intended to have a monstrous catch up whilst painting, this was not the case.  Let me tell you a little secret, there's nothing on the website that tells you this activity is highly stressful and requires significant amounts of concentration, another thing we hadn't planned for!  Instead we were discussing how much our 'designs' had changed, which colours we were practically eating our way through and noticing how slow we we were compared to others who arrived after us.

I had no idea what 'theme' to paint on my mug to be honest it was completely done on a whim, my problem was the colours!  Jenna however had no problem with the colours, it was her design which changed a few times ... between the two of us, it is fair to say, we were a case of calamity!

A couple of hours later, literally, hours later, ridiculous amounts of used blue paint and now two pairs of relaxed shoulders we had some pre-kiln ready mugs.

With great pleasure, allow me to introduce Jenna's mug, with it's final design of the beautiful bumble bees and their honey pots with nature:

Don't you just LOVE the bumble bees and honey pots?!  They are SO adorable!!

And now to introduce my beautiful and barmy, Jenna, with her delicious honey pot mug: 

And my more random sponge shaped mug:

And this monster with the finished result:

It takes up to a week to have our mugs fired in the kiln and sent home, so by the time you read this we should both drinking hot chocolate with whipped cream and marshmallows out of our creatively painted mugs!

Our journey didn't end here, we then got caught it what only can be described as an absolute freak of a storm which featured rain, hail, thunder and lightening so much so that the courtyard looked as though it had been hit by a freak snowstorm.  Children were actually trying to make snowballs!  Instead of making like mad hatters, we waited a few minutes, chatted to the lovely ladies who worked in the shop, whilst the sky began to stop throwing a stop!

Once we made our escape and ran in to the shop and cafe we went on a crockery hunt around the shop, which I may add has ridiculous savings!  Through quality control if there are any errors in the mug, for example the colours aren't as prominent, they are rejected for mainstream shops and are placed in to the discount stores.  Jenna and I rummaged around like mice hunting for the last cube of cheese to find our favourite item, of course, you guessed it, we both ended up with mugs in different decor!

Following the hunt and an intense painting session, we were in need of food and water to recharge our batteries, they were pretty low.  We settled down in the cafe at the factory and had a delicious late lunch, a juicy soup and a scrummy sandwich for me, we both then chomped on a scone and a hot choccie complete with whipped cream and marshmallows, this is making me hungry again...

(I know what you're thinking, NOM!)

Double nom NOM...

We've hit the flipping jackpot!

Many more hours passed of us chatting about everything ultra important in life and it was time to go our separate ways again, sad sad times.  If you're reading this, thanks for a brillamundo day JP, you and your creative skills heavily inspired me ...  Just keep that mug for yourself, mothers are banned from even looking at our creations!

For those of you thinking about heading up/down/across to the Emma Bridgewater factory click here to see their website.  In fact, stop thinking, just click here and plan your visit, it's freaking amazing!!  You don't only have to paint, if you visit Monday-Friday you can book in for a factory tour, go behind the scenes and see how the stunning pottery is made and painted.  Unfortunately, as fantastic as our designs were, Emma didn't want to use them due to the predicted high demand ...

Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed this slight change what I usually ramble about!


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