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.


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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.


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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.


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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

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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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Dexter’s

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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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. 

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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!)

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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
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Father's Day - 17th June

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Prints, portraits, plates, paint, pottery...pappas! All the best things in the world, and all something we cater for! 

This week we've had some really adorable pottery come through our kilns for some very lucky dads, but there's no pressure if you haven't sorted your gift out yet, because you still have plenty of time to come by the shop and do some painting!  To be ready for the day we'd recommend coming before the 14th June.

Make a masterpiece mug with a message of appreciation, blow him away with a beautiful bowl covered in handprints, or paint a portrait on a plate...there's so many options to choose from! (Insider knowledge: most people pick out really huge mugs for their dad, apparently dads are giant tea guzzlers across the board? Who knew!

If you like to give gifts that are more about having an experience together, then book in to come for a painting session! Alternatively (for 12+ yrs), we offer taster throwing sessions which are a really hands-on, fun way to spend some time with dad, learning how to make a couple of small pots on the potters wheel, which you can come back to paint a couple of weeks later together. We sell gift vouchers in the shop, or over the phone on 01273 628952.

And last, but certainly not least, on Father's Day, we will have complimentary coffee and cake for any dad visiting us, so really, can there be a better way to spend the day together? We can't think of one.

Celebrating 9 years together? Pottery is the answer!

Recently we've had an influx of customers visiting us looking for gifts for their partners as they celebrate 9 years together. We're a little embarrassed to admit we didn't know that the traditional gift for a 9 year anniversary is actually pottery!

 
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We think it's wonderful that after nearly a decade together, you gift each other pottery, and this is made even more wonderful by how the two things mirror each other. From the truly organic, natural state of clay, you form and shape and mould something beautiful to cherish forever, much like a relationship (sorry, that was a little cheesy!).

 

So if you have your anniversary coming up, what better way to celebrate than dropping by and picking up a gift voucher for your partner so you can both come in and have a go at Taster Throwing. Perhaps you could spend a romantic afternoon painting something together to mark the occasion, or you could even plan further ahead and come and paint a gift for them to open on the big day. 

We can't think of a lovelier celebration than creating a memento together to last.

A Royal Weekend!

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Have you stopped by to take a peek at our Royal Wedding window display? If not - make sure to this weekend! We've decked it out with all our best British painted pottery, and although we're not sure the real Royal event will feature a Wedding March of dinosaurs and garden gnomes, our version does!

Today we're also going to be serving up some Prosecco to celebrate the big day, so make sure you give us a ring and make a booking, and your painting session will be made even merrier than usual! There will be some specially painted ceramic hearts to remember the day by as well - there's a limited amount, so make sure to get in quick! 

Congratulations to Harry and Meghan, have a wonderful day!

 

Mental Health Awareness Week - The Stress-Relieving Benefits of Pottery

The most popular sentence we hear from our customers is "this is so relaxing." And that's because it is! Taking a few hours out of your day to sit down, get your creativity engaged, and focus on using your hands to 'make' something, can do wonders in terms of relieving stress. 

(The other sentences we hear regularly are "two forks please!" when ordering our carrot cake, or "is the number 5 paint really going to turn red?").

 
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Most waking hours we are 'connected' or 'plugged in' - unable to escape from thoughts of our work, our social media presence, and what's going on in the world. Even in laid-back Brighton, where everything moves a little slower and there is a "more relaxed vibe.”,  we're all on-the-go. Britain is apparently "in the grip of a stress epidemic", and finding ways to relieve that stress has never been more important.

 

This is where clay work and pottery painting comes in! All you need to do is google the link between mental health and pottery, and you'll see articles and websites galore on the subject. Health Fitness Revolution, a popular magazine and online platform, explains that when on the wheel "your mind and body are in natural synergy, wrapped around your creative ambitions and goals." It's this that allows you to move away from all outside worries and focus purely on what you are creating.

 

At The Painting Pottery Cafe we also love to listen to calming, classical music whilst we make. If you've visited us before, you'll notice we play Classic FM all-day, everyday. It helps you to lose yourself in your pottery 'moment'; it's non offensive, not too in-your-face, and totally relaxing. One of our favourite classical musicians is Ludovico Einaudi, we've picked out a song for you to have a listen to here if you'd like! --->

 

So, if you're ever feeling stressed or overworked, schedule out a bit of time to come and visit us, throw a pot, paint some pottery, have a slice of cake, and listen to some relaxing music. We promise it will be the mental break you need.

Holly's Trip To Soller!

Wherever we go, we're always on the lookout for interesting ceramics and art. Sometimes it's unavoidable, and will follow us around on our holidays! Our potter, Holly, recently just returned from a short visit to Soller in Spain. Whilst there, she decided to pop into the train station, and lo and behold, she found herself in a Picasso Ceramics exhibition! 

One of her favourite pieces by Picasso is the quirky and fun Fish jug, which only the other day we were discussing in the shop, and to her surprise there it was in the exhibition! Holly admitted to getting a little emotional; after all, she wasn't expecting to stumble across one of her favourite pieces of pottery whilst searching for a station toilet! 

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It makes us wonder - what sort of amazing exhibitions are there out there that are waiting to be happened upon, and have you ever been pleasantly surprised to find something special somewhere you weren't expecting? 

Fringe Special! Learn to Throw a Pot! £12.50pp

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Experience the potter's wheel and learn a new skill in our friendly and inviting studio. During the Brighton Fringe Festival we are running our Learn to Throw a Pot sessions every weekend from 12th May to the 3rd June.

We will show you how and then guide you through the process of making your own pot! 

Come alone or with friends – you can even try and capture that Demi Moore & Patrick Swayze 'Ghost' moment if you'd like.

You will then leave your pot with us to be clear glazed and fired, ready to be collected three weeks later or we can post it to you for a small extra charge.

*Please note there are only eight places per session, so if you're coming with friends it's best to book at the same time to avoid disappointment.

"[The teacher] stepped back, gently cajoled and encouraged, letting my daughter do her thing, almost entirely by herself, lending a brief hand on just one or two occasions. Hence she felt very much in control of the process, and what she created she created for herself. It was a fine little pot and she even used the supplied fishing line on corks to remove the pot from the wheel at the end. Is this a review of how proud I am as a father!? Perhaps… but more a celebration of how this particular teacher gave my [daughter] space to gain her confidence."


Taster Throwing - £30pp

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But maybe you're looking for something a little more in-depth? We're still running our regular Taster Throwing sessions during the week, and they'll be back on for weekends too after the Fringe ends! In these Taster Throwing sessions, you'll have the chance to throw two pots, which you can then return to paint two weeks later.


Evening Classes - £35pp

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Want to take it to the next level? Try out one of our Evening Classes! Each class you will learn how to throw, hand build, or coil, a different piece of pottery, whether it's a set of tapas bowls, a hot chocolate mug and saucer, or a bird feeder. This also includes a return painting session.

Our Data Protection Policy - how do we store and use your information?

Here at The Painting Pottery Cafe, we like to keep our customers information to ourselves. At the end of a painting or throwing session, we will ask for your phone number and email address. This is simply just so we have a way of contacting you about your pottery if we need to. It's all stored on the paper ticket you filled out, we do not store anything online. Those paper copies are then shredded once we are done with them.

The only exception to this, is if you choose to tick 'yes' to our mailing list, or sign up for news and updates via the widget on our website. Read below to find out how each one uses and stores your information.

Subscribing via in-store shop ticket

If you tick 'yes' to the mailing list, then we will manually add your email to a list on our MailChimp account, which is what we use each month to design and send out our newsletter. You can read about their Data Protection Policy here (the short version is, they won't put your information anywhere else either - it's all private between us!). 

We do not use any third-party list integration websites like some bigger companies might, and you will always have the option at the bottom of a newsletter from us, to unsubscribe or change your subscription preferences. 

Subscribing via our website

If you enter your email on our website in the 'Sign up' box at the bottom of our website, then Squarespace, which is what we use to host and design our website, will directly import the emails to MailChimp! Squarespace will not store your information - it will always be placed for storage on our MailChimp account. You can read more about how Squarespace manage forms and newsletter storage here. Again, you will always have the option at the bottom of a newsletter from us, to unsubscribe or change your subscription preferences. 

Mark's Pick of the Week

I have chosen this vase as it brings back wonderful memories of a trip we took to Japan. You can find many traditional potters still using techniques perfected centuries ago. In fact The Great Wave, that this vase was inspired by, was first produced by Hokusai nearly 200 years ago. Amazing that it retains such a contemporary feel.

If this is your work please get in touch and you can have a free studio fee next time.

 

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Commemorative items for Hen Party Packages

If you book a hen party with us and choose packages 1 or 2, you’ll also paint a bonus item as a special memento for the Bride to be! We can help you design and decorate either a bowl or jug with your fingerprints and names. 

We'll help you put your fingerprints on your item, and if you leave it to us and we'll transform them all into beautiful little characters; be it chicks, butterflies, cats, bees, flowers, or anything else you can think of (within reason...😉).

We'll then write out your names and decorate it so the bride will never forget the people she was surrounded by at her hen party ♥️ 

Have a flick through the pictures to see some simply lovely examples we've worked with other hen's to create!