Group Pottery Days 2016

  • Friendship groups
  • Family groups
  • Organisations (e.g. U3A, WI, Team-building)
  • Schools/Education groups (Primary, Secondary, F.E., H.E.)

All these types of groups have found our Pottery Day experience really different, enjoyable and inspirational.   Generally groups can be of between 4 and 10 members but school groups may be larger with close liaison and planning beforehand with Ray (and depending on staff:pupil ratio).

The day can pursue a chosen form of clay work (anything from pinch pots, coil and slab work to trying your hand at throwing on the wheel - or a combination)) and a chosen theme - see our News item on 'Cats!' .  Ray will talk this through with you prior to your visit and be there on the day to help, advise and guide you along the creative process - whatever it may be!

All facilities of the pottery and the leisure area are there for your use including the classroom/leisure areas.  Most group days begin at @ 10.00am and finish at @ 4.00pm but this is very flexible to allow for travel times etc.   Tea/coffee/biscuits are included and the leisure area kitchen facilities are there for you to enjoy your own packed lunch whether it be sandwiches or a bowl of hot soup.

The cost of the day is based on £30 for the group booking, plus £10 per person.  This includes material used and a bisque firing of suitable finished pieces. (plus, if you are not too far away, we can deliver your fired work in due course)

If you are interested in booking a Pottery Day, please do contact us by email:  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it    or by phone: 016973 51352

Open Studio Days 2016

Ray  runs an Open Studio day each Monday and Tuesday.   This is an opportunity for anyone interested in developing (or beginning) their work with clay.  This may be hand building, throwing, press moulds or experimental combinations ..... the facilities of the pottery will be available for you to work in whichever direction you choose.  You can turn up and leave at any time between 10am and 4pm and use all the facilities (plus access to tea/coffee & biscuits!) of the pottery and the leisure area.  Cost is just £5.    Clay and firing costs are additional and depend entirely on the amount of work you produce.   Ray is on hand to advise generally but if you fancy more direct one to one tuition at any stage this can be pre-booked with Ray at a cost of £10 per hour.  Please contact us by email ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ) or by phone: 016973 51352 if you would be interested in coming along - or just turn up!

Pottery Day Course 'Cats!'

Wednesday, March 16th 2011  'Cats for all'

Starting OutThis was one of our day courses run for groups of friends who, though not necessarily experienced potters, fancy getting together for a day at the pottery.  We usually offer a theme for the day and in the past have covered such ideas as hares, planters, statuesque ladies and the odd tortoise! Based on hand building techniques these days offer even those who haven't touched clay since schooldays (if they were lucky!) to enjoy being creative in a relaxed and informal atmosphere.  Everything is on hand - all you need to bring is yourself and a few like-minded friends. 

Building up the main shapesThis time the theme was 'Cats'.   Using Special White Stoneware clay (we also use Terracotta for some themes) each member of the group prepared their slabs and pinch pots to create the main structure of the cat, after an initial brief demonstration and discussion of the 'one I made earlier'.   Individual tuition and help is given wherever it is needed as we go along on these days.  As the slabs became the bodies of the cats and the heads went on using joining techniques (and plenty of slip!)  the individual characters could then be created with batting, pushing, pulling and smoothing.   One of our group even tried dropping his cat's head on the floor to see how that might help ......actually it turned out rather well in the end!!  (nine lives?)

Smiling CatCurious CatThe hush of concentration that flows over the group from time to time was mixed with plenty of friendly chat and exchange of views and news - oh, and stops for coffee/tea and lunch were take when the group felt it was a good moment for a break.   By the afternooon everyone had a fully formed cat (some had produced smaller versions, working without templates, which goes to show how creativity and confidence grow on these days) and work could be done on tweaking  shape and details of each cat - including the curl of the all important tail (which brought in a bit of coil clay work).

Finished CatsAfter a last cup of coffee/tea and a clear up of tools and clay, the cats were safely moved to one side of the pottery, labelled and their fond creators gradually said their goodbyes.   The cats will dry thoroughly before being bisque fired and returned to their owners........     Another purrrfect day..... (sorry!)

Kiln Building Weekend

Kiln Building Work Party Weekend - March 2011

tn_bourreybox4th-6th March saw the rebuilding of our largest kiln, a Bourrey Box Kiln, with the much appreciated help of a group of students studying ceramics at Newcastle College.  It was a fun and really constructuve weekend and the result is we now have a 100 cubic foot woodfired salt kiln - Perfect for communal firings involving potters who don't have thier own wood firing facilities.  Adele, one of the students involved, blogs about it - click here to see the whole process in pictures and hear in detail about the kiln building. 

Pots for a Chelsea Flower Show Garden!

johnstroomeratchelseaRay's pottery and woodfired kilns were featured in the BBC coverage of the University of Cumbria's 2009 entry for Chelsea Flower Show. Coralin was a member of the four woman team of Horticulture students who designed the garden on the theme of........"Pottering in North Cumbria"....!!

Their Silver Award winning Courtyard Garden featured some of Ray's beautiful old glaze-kissed kiln bricks for the winding path up to the potter's lean-to workshop and even a stack of his precious firing wood. A focal point amongst the lovely planting was John Stroomer's stunning crystalline pot. A pot thrown by Ray in Cumbria was transported down the M6 in wet condition to sit (as fresh as the moment it was thrown) on the potter's wheel at Chelsea. Quite an achievment! It was kept moist from then on with the aid of a water misting twice a day and the neck of John's porcelain pot was bubblewrapped each night to protect it from the interests of visiting birds, squirrels and the odd fox!