Staff Picks: Fun with Friends

We all have a great time together at the cafe, and every month we love to get together and have fun outside the cafe, too! Finding activities for big groups can be a bit difficult sometimes, so we’ve decided to suggest a few of our favourite fun things to do in Brighton to inspire you.

Board Games

We’re a bit partial to a board game or two here, and where better to play them in Brighton than right by the sea? C:\ Side Quest covers all bases, with yummy food, a great selection of games, and a view to boot.

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Laser Quest

What could be a better way to blow off some steam than being big kids again, running around in a high-speed adrenaline-inducing chase, and pretending to shoot each other? We had so much fun at Laserzone, and can’t recommend it enough. The bigger your group, the better!


We recently had a great time at Pier Pressure, puzzling our way out of their fantastic escape rooms! These guys knew their business, the clues and obstacles were super interesting and fun, and we just could not stop laughing. With four different themed rooms to choose from, there’s something for everyone here.


Glo Balls

Speaking of the dark, have you ever played mini golf in the dark? Well now’s your chance! There’s something about UV lighting which just adds a new element of fun to this age-old classic. And with dinosaurs everywhere you look, what’s not to love?


Pub Quizzes!

Brighton is rife with great pubs, and tons of those pubs have really fun quizzes. Whether you prefer to play all together, or split up into mini teams, there’s sure to be one which catches your fancy! A few of our favourites are:

  1. The Lion & Lobster Quiz on Mondays (including a slice of pizza per team member!)

  2. The Good Companions Quiz on Tuesdays

  3. Quizzy with Izzy at North Laine Brewery on Wednesdays


Artist Spotlight: Embletree

We are very proud to shout about all the lovely talented team members here at The Painting Pottery Cafe! Today, we’d love to introduce you to our very own Alex, aka Embletree.

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Using a mixture of watercolours and indian inks, she loves creating funky patterns. Her designs have been commissioned by Topshop, Topman, ASOS, and Urban Outfitters. You may even have one of her pieces in your wardrobe!


We love her gorgeous botanical pieces so much we wanted to feature them in our gallery! In October ‘18 we had a wonderful private viewing with nibbles, bubbles, and smiles galore as everyone delighted in Alex’s work.

If you love Embletree as much as we do, check out her website here. You can follow her Instagram and Twitter, too!

Staff Picks: Lunchtime

So many of our lovely customers start painting in the morning and happily get lost in their art. By the time they’re finished they’re ravenous and need somewhere to grab lunch ASAP. Here’s a quick list of our recommendations for those very moments - all of these suggestions are within a 2 minute walk of us for convenience. Bon appetite!

International Women's Day 2019

The theme for this year is #BalanceforBetter. While we understand this is to encourage a world which is gender-balanced, something we are 100% behind, we thought we’d approach the theme from a slightly different angle. So, we’re going to talk about all the lovely women who work here, and the ways in which they balance working at The Painting Pottery Cafe with life outside of work. A balanced life, emotionally, physically, and socially is enhanced through the creative process. This balance enables a more confident empowered engagement with the world we live in. A work in progress!


Fern is a super talented illustrator both in and out of the cafe. Her style is wonderfully distinctive, and can instantly be recognised on all of our marketing, as well as some great pieces such as her Frida bowl and giant biscuit barrel, both of which can be found if you scroll to the bottom of our shop. If you want to check out more of her work, we recommend her Instagram!



Got any questions about throwing, pinching, slab building, glazing, or firing? Look no further than our resident Queen of Clay, Holly! Outside of work, Holly is developing her skills even more as she undertakes an MA in Craft. The winner of the Potclays Graduate Award 2017, she also was part of Fresh at the British Ceramics Bieannual 2017, and you can see her gorgeous pottery on her Instagram! As our resident foodie, Holly is the best person to ask about local eateries.



Katie is a fantastic illustrator, who has nearly finished her MA in Children’s Book Illustration. She loves painting woodland animals with adorable jumpers or hats on, and has a healthy obsession with dogs - if you need a paw print done, she’s your gal! Make sure to have a peek at her Instagram for some truly adorable creatures! Katie is our resident yoga queen, and is just training to run a 10k this summer.



If you visited our gallery in January, you will have seen our walls adorned with wonderful water colours by our lovely Alex. As a freelance designer, Alex has created patterns for Topman, Asos, and New Look. Every Wednesday she posts a new phone wallpaper to her Instagram so you can have the funkiest phone screensaver around. As a true Brightonian, she enjoys long walks on the beach!



Jules is undertaking an MA in Classics, with a focus on ancient crafting. She is fascinated by the pottery techniques we still use, which were perfected by potters thousands of years ago. When she’s not nosing around museums looking at ancient pots, you’ll find her on the beach with a book, come cloud or shine.



Lydia is also an avid reader, and excels at languages. After becoming fluent in French, she decided to tackle Italian, too - useful for all the Language School groups we have visit us over the summer months! She’s currently taking part in an internship, but in her free time enjoys writing, cycling and yoga.



Maya is our kiln queen - chances are your pottery was carefully glazed and loaded into the kilns by her! She’s super creative outside of work with her fabulous lino-printing work, which you can have a look at on her Instagram. When she’s not creating, she’s riding into the sunset on her gorgeous horse Finn.



Olive is the newest member of our team, and full of excitement about the potentials of pottery! She’s currently studying for her Anthropology BA at the University of Sussex, and is fascinated by the ways we engage with getting creative. She’s only been with us a few months but we’ve already had her on the potters’ wheel throwing some lovely little pots!



Sydney is currently studying a BA in 3D Design and Craft at Brighton. Sydney has been throwing pottery since she was 13 years old - nearly 10 years! It shows, as she’s a brilliant thrower and loves teaching customers how to tackle the wheel. Follow her pottery adventures over on her Instagram - recently she’s been making watering cans!



Gill has been the proud owner of The Painting Pottery Cafe for over 20 years. During this time, she has employed and encouraged many wonderful women, each with their own diverse interests and creative talents. She herself is a keen painter and as she might say - evolving feminist. You can glimpse her work from time to time in our shop window. And perhaps, more importantly, the shop instagram reflects her mission to encourage a greater engagement with the creative process for all ages and abilities.


The Wonders of Clay

So you’ve come in to paint some pottery upstairs, and loved it. But you want to do more! Fear not, we have just the thing for you. Did you know we don’t just help you paint pottery, we can help you make it too? There are so many great things about clay, we could go on about it all day! Don’t worry we won’t, but we will tell you just a few of the reasons we love this squidgy stuff.

  1. There are so many ways to use clay

Pottery has been in use for thousands of years, and in that time a few different techniques have been developed.

Arguably the most popular way of playing with clay, thanks to The Great Pottery Throw Down (and Ghost), is called throwing. This is where you use the spinning motion of a pottery wheel to create various forms. It’s great fun, and highly addictive, and we love teaching how to do it at our taster throwing workshops which run 5 times a week!


Slab building involves rolling out sheets of pottery and using slip (liquid clay) to glue the pieces together. Coiling is when you slowly build up sausages of clay into your desired shape. Another great technique is pinching, which is what it sounds like: grab a ball of clay, and pinch it into shape! If you’ve given throwing a go already and hope to expand your pottery horizons, we recommend our monthly evening classes, where you’ll get a chance to throw and build!

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2. You can use clay to make a huge range of items

We give everyone at our throwing sessions the same demonstration and the same instructions, and yet you all manage to make entirely different items every single time! We’ve seen tapas bowls, milk jugs, hot chocolate cups, flower pots, candlesticks, vases, and much much more.

Because the finished painted pots will be food safe and water tight, there’s no end to the number of options you’ve got when it comes to making with clay!

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3. You can recycle it!

A little known fact about clay is that we can reuse it through a process called reclaiming. Whenever we make a demo pot, we pop it in a big bucket of wet clay.

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Once this clay has become wet and is all the same consistency, we pour it out.

We let it dry slowly, and then put it through a process called wedging. This squishes all the air bubbles out, which would otherwise cause the clay to explode in the kiln! It’s a great work out!

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Now, the clay is all ready to be used by our lovely customers all over again!

4. It’s a great escape

One of the charms of clay is that it really takes you away from what can be an otherwise hectic, digital life. You cannot rush working with clay, and you cannot be on your phone around it for fear of getting clay in a charging port!


The Fabulous Work of Yayoi Kusama

I would like to introduce Yayoi Kusama, a Japanese artist who has been influencing the contemporary art scene for nearly 70 years.  Her early work can be considered a precursor to pop art and feminist art movements. She influenced the likes of Warhol and Segal.


I first encountered her intriguing work on a visit to the amazing art trail on the Seto Inland Sea islands.  Her iconic Pumpkin sculptures steal the show on Naoshima Island but the whole experience is unforgettable.


 As such I lament the fact that I am discussing this late in the day as her exhibition of illuminated pumpkins and gorgeous mirrored infinity rooms has now finished in London.  But do please remember her name and look out for future exhibitions and if you are lucky enough to visit Japan, as I was,  there are several permanent exhibitions of her work.  Truly memorable! The exhibition continues in Atlanta US until February 19.

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Christmas Gift Vouchers available!


Give the gift of creating this Christmas, with Gift Vouchers available in-store, or over the phone🎁

Whether it's to have a go on the potters wheel at our taster throwing, to build something fabulous in one of our evening classes, or to paint some beautiful pottery from our wide selection, vouchers are the perfect gift for any age.

Pop in to the shop before 5:30pm on Sunday 23rd December to buy yours, or if you need it posted, call us before 6pm on Wednesday 19th December to ensure it will get there in time! Merry Christmas!

Artist's Christmas Open Houses 2018

As we mentioned in our November Events blog, tis’ the season for Christmas Open Houses!

This year, not one but two of our team are proudly putting their work on display. Let’s introduce to them so you can say ‘Hi!’ when you visit!


This is Holly, who studied 3D Design and Craft at the University of Brighton and is now undertaking a Masters in Craft there, too. She specialises in ceramics, and her work is inspired by challenging the conventions of portraiture. Holly will be taking this concept and incorporating it into beautiful gestural pieces for you to browse at the Open House.

If you want a sneak peek at Holly’s work, you can check out her website and her Instagram!


And this is Maya! She taught herself how to lino print a couple of years ago, and has been creating beautiful pieces ever since. She’ll have tons of beautifully designed and made cards for you, and this Open House season marks her debut of t-shirts, as modelled by the artist herself here.

You can check out Maya’s Instagram and Etsy beforehand to get your shopping list started!


You’ll be able to find these two lovely artists and their wonderful works at No. 66, where there’ll be mulled wine and yummy treats on offer, too.

Don’t forget there’ll be loads more makers all over Brighton who would love your support during this Open House season! You can find a great map of all the houses here. We love nothing more than talented independent artists, so don’t be surprised if you see us browsing at any of the houses this month. See you there!

Staff Pick: December Events

Following on from our favourite Brighton November events roundup is… you guessed it, our favourite December events! Here’s a little collection of some great things going on this month.


Feeling a bit chilly? Warm up in Scandi style in the pop-up bar at Jubilee Square, Thor’s Tipi. With fairy lights and a toasty fire, you’re sure to feel cosy in no time at this unique venue.


What could be more fun (and more bizarre) than watching hundreds of Santas run along the seafront? On Saturday 8th December, you can do just that at the annual Santa Dash! The runners will begin at 10:30am and the finish line can be found opposite Adelaide Crescent. They’ll be running to raise money for Rockinghorse, so it’s all for a great cause.


The Snowman™ is such a wonderfully nostalgic character for so many of us at Christmas time - and no wonder, it’s been around for 40 years! To celebrate this anniversary, the Brighton Museum are putting on an exhibition packed with beautiful images new and old.

We’re certainly excited for this exhibition, as you can see by the lovely mug Maya has painted, which is ready to go to a good home via our new gifts page.


An annual Brighton tradition for twenty years now, Burning the Clocks is a winter solstice festival which sees thousands of people parade paper and willow lanterns through the city to the beach, where they then put the lanterns on a bonfire. It’s a beautiful local festival with a wonderful fire show and fireworks display to wow spectators!


With its beautiful gardens and wonderful Grade 1 listed building, Stanmer House is a firm favourite of ours! This December, they’re hosting a Classic Cars event, with live music and food available from 12pm. There’ll be more than 100 cars at the event, so it’s guaranteed to be a great day out for all the family!

Have we missed any big events in December from our list? Let us know on Facebook!

North Laine Late Night Shopping


Did you know December 6th marks the annual Late Night Shopping Extravaganza in the North Laine? Hundreds of local independent business will be staying open later to help you all out with your Christmas shopping, including us!

Don’t forget to pop in to grab your Christmas gift vouchers! We’ll be open until 9:30pm to help you buy the perfect gift for your loved ones.


We will of course be happy to help with all your painting wants and needs on the night as well, if you decide to come and paint some pressies too.

The good news is if you don’t make it in, you can buy gift vouchers over the phone and we will post them to you, to make your life that bit easier!

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The even better news is we’re open late every first Thursday of the month if you miss this one, and on lots of evenings throughout November and December we’ll be hosting Party Nights.

Staff Pick: November Events

We know we’re probably biased, but we truly think Brighton is one of the best cities ever! 

From parks to beaches, from piers to pavilions, and bars to cafes, there’s something for everyone, no matter what your age or interest. 

We’ve put together a few things we’re excited to see are happening around Brighton next month. We hope to see you there!


Kicking us off with a bang is the Votes for Women exhibition at the Brighton Museum. This exhibition will focus on the Brighton-based suffragette Minnie Turner, who was a member of many of the women’s rights movements in the late 19th century and early 20th century. It opens on the 17th November, and we’ll be sure to pop in!


Remember remember the … 3rd of November! Because Sussex Cricket Ground will be hosting their annual fireworks night! Doors open at 6pm and the big display is set to make you say ‘ooh’ and ‘aaah’ from 7.30pm. 


As you know we love supporting local businesses, and what better way than The Fairy Tale Fair at the Open Market? It will run over the weekend of 10-11th November, and will be open 11-4pm. With over 40 stalls to meander around and plenty of tasty treats to indulge in, you’re sure to be enchanted by the Christmas spirit of the market. 


If Christmas markets aren’t your thing, fear not, we have another market suggestion for you! On Sunday 18th November, The Brighton Dome will be hosting a Vintage Fashion Fair. From 10.30-4, you’ll be able to immerse yourself in fashion, accessories, book, and collectables, whilst being serenaded with live music. 


Last but certainly not least is the wonderful Open Houses event! Visiting Open Houses offers the chance to meet the artists and to buy work directly from them. Entry to Open Houses is free, and many also offer homemade tea and cake. We are very proud to say two of our team, Holly and Maya, will be exhibiting their wonderful works this season. You can check out the event website here - keep your eyes peeled because listings will go live on November 12th.

Have we missed any must-see events in November? Let us know your favourite winter activities on Facebook!

Artist Spotlight: Helen Hodson

Every month we plan to share two of our favourite artists with you: one from the UK, and one from further afield. With a collective of artists from numerous backgrounds on our team, it’s very important to us to celebrate art in all its forms!

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This week, we thought we’d start with a local ceramicist based in Sussex to ease you in. So, without further ado, meet Helen Hodson!

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Having fallen in love with pottery after taking part in a few evening classes (just like our classes), Helen taught herself how to craft with clay. 

She now creates cute versions of her favourite animals, which you can find on her Etsy shop. 

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We love Helen’s distinctive style, and can’t get enough of her Instagram feed. 

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What’s your favourite piece by Helen? Comment on our post on Facebook to let us know!




10th October: World Mental Health Day

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Every year, for the last 5 years, the 10th October has been a day which puts mental health and the issues surrounding it at the forefront of many conversations. The event is recognised internationally, and promoted by the World Health Organization.


This year, the focus is on young people and mental health in a changing world. Half of all mental health conditions start by 14 years of age, but most cases are undetected and untreated. Many factors can have a potential impact on a young person’s mental health: a desire for independence, pressure to conform to society, exploration of sexual identity, and increased access to and use of technology.

Mental health awareness is something we are really keen to promote. Earlier this year, we wrote about the stress-relieving benefits of pottery. As well as being creative, pottery painting is hugely therapeutic, and a great chance to express yourself whilst unwinding. In a world that is constantly and rapidly changing, pottery is a constant. It has been around for thousands of years, and will continue to be around as a craft that people cannot help but love.


In an article about the rise of ceramics, Toby Brundin, director of Ceramic Art London was interviewed about pottery. “It’s so rudely analogue” he said, “that it’s an antidote to the screen-based way that most of us spend our working, and a big chunk of our non-working, lives.” He’s right! When people come and paint, they put their phone away for a couple of hours, and lose themselves in their designs. The fact that pottery painters have to wait to see the final product counteracts the culture of instant information that we are used to. And, even better, when customers get to take home their masterpieces, they are constantly reminded of their lovely, relaxing experience.


And if people come to throw a couple of pots, they can’t even touch their phone for fear of covering it in clay!

With this in mind, on Tuesday 9th October, we would like to offer a 50% discount on any pottery you choose to come and paint. Come on in, relax, unplug, and unwind! Bookings only and quote ‘Health Day’.

For more information on the matter of mental health, we really recommend taking a look at Time to Change, and Heads Together, two companies which are both working to change the way we think and act about mental health problems.

What was your favourite pottery painting experience with us? Leave a comment, or send us a picture - we’d love to see your works of art again!

Staff Pick: Best Cafes in Brighton


As the summer winds down, we’ve all started dreaming of cosy coffee shops to warm up in on our days off. There are so many lovely cafes in Brighton, it can be difficult to know where to start. Luckily, we’ve compiled a handy list of our favourite local places to catch up over some caffeine.  

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The Flour Pot Bakery

Wherever you are in Brighton, you’re never far from a Flour Pot Bakery. This is greats news: their coffee is top notch every time, and they provide yummy treats to match (including vegan ones). Every Wednesday, they sell amazing pizza dough for you to take home and make your very own Italian experience, but you might have to fight us off for the last piece! 

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Bond St. Coffee 

This lot make their coffee from beans all over the world, which they trade ethically. The beans are then roasted locally in Horsham. We love that the baristas offer customers a choice between just two carefully chosen single-origin beans. These choices change quite often, to highlight new flavours and keep it fresh. As if this wasn’t all enough, their cafe is furnished with plenty of comfy seats, perfect for whiling away those rainy Autumn afternoons. 

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Small Batch 

With nine lovely locations to help you get your coffee fix around the Brighton area, Small Batch have firmly established themselves as a staple of Brighton’s coffee scene. Their Jubilee Street cafe is an ideal place to lose a few hours people-watching. We also love their coffee cart at Brighton station. It tempts us every time, and not just for the coffee - the staff there are genuinely keen to chat away, which we can definitely get on board with (excuse the train pun). 

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A genuine jewel in the crown of the North Laines! Dexter’s has a super exciting menu that changes to celebrate seasonal ingredients, and they’re always trying new things. They welcome vegans with plenty of tasty goodies, and serve it all in a welcoming cafe with beautiful flowers and modern decor. 

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Marwood Bar & Coffeehouse

Voted #1 Most Brighton venue for its interior, this place boasts the quirkiest decor in town. Tucked away on Ship St, they’re worth keeping an eye out for: as well as great coffee and goodies, they host events such as life drawing and turn into a fun bar in the evenings!

Our visit to the 'Frida Kahlo: Making Her Self Up' exhibition

As you may have gathered from our earlier posts or visits to us - we are fans of Frida Kahlo! So when we found out that there was an exhibition of her personal artefacts and clothing at The Victoria and Albert museum in London, we patiently waited until we could go together - luckily they have a late night on a Friday.



There is lots to see including photos, videos, and her clothing. The severity of her physical condition was brought home to us by the extraordinary body braces needed to keep her body together and functioning.


The exhibition provides a powerful reminder of her strength of character, her vulnerability and the contradictions that together sum up the amazing creative talent of Frida Kahlo. The exhibition is running until the beginning of November. Make sure you don't miss it!


Celebrate Brighton Pride with some pottery painting!

We love Brighton Pride! The joy, the inclusivity, the bright colours, it’s everything we love to celebrate here at The Painting Pottery Cafe. 

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‘Colour My World’ is Brighton Pride’s theme this year – a celebration of all the elation and vibrancy within the LGBTQ+ community. Whatever you paint can be a representation of your identity and what Pride means to you, and we’ll provide everything you need to colour YOUR world on your pottery masterpiece. We’ve got loads of brightly coloured paints, tons of images, and ideas galore to help you out!

Sound like your kinda thing? Then gather the gang, ‘cause on Thursday 2nd August we’d love you all to come and paint a mug, bowl, or plate for just £25pp. 

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This event will be the perfect way to get into the Pride swing of things, preparing you for the wonderful weekend. We'll be providing nibbles, and of course it's BYOB so you can pop a bottle or two in celebratory style, and get those creative juices flowing. 

To top it all off, we’ll have your pottery ready to take home with you on Sunday afternoon as a souvenir of your glorious weekend of sunshine, rainbows, and celebrations.  

We can’t wait to see you there! 

Happy Birthday Frida!

We enjoyed a wonderful night with fellow Frida lovers last Thursday as we invited our customers to spend an evening painting Frida Kahlo inspired pottery. Unloading the kilns this week has been exciting, as each colourful mug, bowl or plate emerges, decorated in homage to the inspirational Mexican artist.


We had food, drink, brooches, party hats, music and of course, pottery! Thank you so much to everyone who came, together a wonderful night to remember was created, the perfect way to celebrate the July birthday of Frida Kahlo.


We've got some similar plans for future evening events in the works, so make sure to keep up-to-date via our social media on Facebook, Twitter, Instragram or sign up to our newsletter via the subscription box at the bottom of the page!

A Frida Kahlo Pottery Painting Evening!

If you've ever visited us before, no doubt you would have spotted numerous homages to Frida Kahlo dotted about the shop. And there's a reason for that; we absolutely LOVE her. We don't know if it's her attitude to life, or the honesty in her art, or perhaps something else altogether; but we find her and her work incredibly inspiring. 


So with Frida's birthday month of July coinciding with the new exhibition at the V&A, we saw the perfect opportunity to dedicate an evening to the lady who motivates us so much. On the 12th July we will be hosting an evening of pottery painting, with nibbles, BYOB, free Frida-esque portraits by guest illustrator Fern Eleanor, fancy dress (optional), flower hats and hopefully... Frida Fun!

Last week we put in our new Frida Kahlo window display which we've all been working on over the past couple of months. We've loved watching all the people passing-by stop and point out their favourite Frida to each other, and we hope our pieces can be at least half as inspiring to you as Frida is to us! It's much more impressive to see in the flesh, but if you can't make it down to see, here's a photo (apologies for the reflections - we're unable to control the bright and sunny heatwave England is currently experiencing, but we can't really complain!)


So if the sound of an evening painting Frida-inspired pottery with friends sounds appealing to you, buy your tickets at £23pp to paint a mug, plate or bowl via Eventbrite here, give us a ring on 01273 628 952, or you can pop into the shop to buy them. We're really excited and if you're coming, hopefully you are too!

It's sure to be a great night.

Language School Pottery Painting!

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We offer a great morning or afternoon painting souvenirs of your days in Brighton, from walks along the Palace Pier, to exploring the grandeur of the Royal Pavilion, perhaps the beach huts in Hove caught you eye, or maybe you went up the dizzying heights of the i360. Painting your special memories onto a mug are the perfect way to 'capture' a moment in time. 

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We received our mugs last Friday, just before our half term holidays and all our students were so delighted! It has been a great experience again, even for the teachers!

I am longing to read their diaries and discover which activity or visit they preferred, surely the mug painting!!! I’ll tell you about!!
— Agnes, French school group