15 January 2013
The snow has finally come to the studio and as a lover of the white stuff I am enjoying the crisp whiteness underfoot and bright blue expanse of sky. It is cold however…January is a time for all the behind the scenes things which we are busy doing – included adding items for sale in the shop, but is is also party time with lots of parties being booked for the first half of the year and it is gratifying to note that there are folk like Julia and I out there who are organising last minute parties – we are doing our very best to accommodate everyone and it is great to see potter’s wheel parties being booked as these are great fun.
I’m just watching the tractor going back and forth in the snow feeding the sheep which is a great sight out the window…
1 October 2012
Christmas decopatch has now arrived in the shop along with more warhammer stock. The warhammer boys have now taken up residence in the “shed” so Friday afternoon in the stusio is backed to pottery painting, kids club and jewellery making. The stained glass course we ran went well and we are now actively planning the Oil Painting Exhibition due to take place on 23 November. We will be showcasing the work of our workshop members. it’s great watching the paintings develop over the weeks.
4 july 2012
Where has the time gone since our last blog entry? It has been a busy time. The warhammer club is now embedded into the fabric of the studio and proving very popular – we now have plans to convert one of the outbuildings into a painting and gaming zone. We have now added decopatch in the studio and even decorated one of our tables. As the bead stock increased Julia finally ordered new units to get some semblance of order. Irene has been teaching the world, (or s0 it seems) how to make shamballas which are the in-bracelet of the moment. But our big news has to be the opening of the pottery barn in June. It seemed to be a Herculean task to get the wiring, lighting and plumbing done, shift all the stock around; get a glazing section constructed and paint the barn. It also gave us the opportunity to move all the glazing out of the studio. With 3 wheels, a potter in residence and all kinds of glazes, we are delighted to be able to offer our customers a potters’ wheel experience. Fingers crossed this takes off too.
1 February 2012
Warhammer has arrived in the studio. Julia’s father and son both paint miniature models and she is used to having groups of boys around her home painting and gaming. So, she thought why not offer it in the studio as well? The helpful chaps at Games Workshop helped us put together our first order and it’s been fun emptying all the boxes. We’re learning a new language of Orcs, Space Marines and Eldar (to name but a few). We’re running painting classes over half term. Many of the painting techniques are the same as those in painting the pottery figurines. The children will learn all kinds of techniques including mixing colour, inking, highlighting, shading as well as have lots of fun. As the children develop their armies, we’ll add in gaming too.
25 January 2012
Our sock knitting classes are now well underway and its great seeing the patterns emerge from the different sock wools everyone is using and seeing the heels being turned. Karen is trying to get the hang of knitting, but seems to be dropping more stitches than she cast on. Despite her announcement that she is sticking to painting pottery, the knitters are determined she will crack it. Irene’s been knitting up our stock wool into hats and scarves.
16 December 2011
Great piece in this week’s West Lothian Courier on Boghall Primary’s Pottery Mad business that they ran as part of our School Enterprise Challenge. Well done the Boghall Press Officer and I absolutely loved the snowmen outfits you wore at the Centre in Livingston. They made over £500 from painting and selling Christmas ornaments. Well done guys. The DVD about how you set the business up was fab and I’m really glad you enjoyed it and learnt loads. As they said, Alan Sugar’s next apprentice may well come from Boghall.
11 December 2011
Great piece about us in the Scotsman Magazine yesterday. We really are over the moon with all the lovely comments we’re getting from customers and all the cards and pressies. Keith has told us we cannot open his pressie until Christmas Day – so we are being good. Thank you for all the chocolates too. It’s a great festive atmosphere in the studio and although Julia has still to start her shopping, there’s still plenty of time to get organised. With both the kilns working flat out now we’re able to turn everything around even quicker – so last firing day for pick up on Christmas Eve will be Thursday 22nd.
10 December 2011
Just held our first Christmas Food and Craft Fair as part of the Kirknewton Village Christmas Festival. It was great fun. The barn had been decorated and there were lots of local stalls selling food and crafts in the barn and in the studio. I will never forget the tuneful carol singing when Santa arrived and the rush of the eager children towards him. Thank you to everyone who came along to make it a success and a special congratulations to Penny, Shirley and Jenny who were selling the jewellery and scarves they’ve been making at our craft nights. Jenny has turned the seaglass she has been collecting for years into stunning jewellery.
4 December 2011
To celebrate the arrival of the pandas at Edinburgh Zoo Karen has developed a new mug to add to our Kirknewton Pottery range. It can of course be personalised with your name and comes in 3 different sizes, baby, mummy and daddy. Hope the pandas settle in well. Can’t wait to go and see them.
20 November 2011
Another Red Letter Day for us. Our new kiln has been delivered and is installed in the barn. It’s been a frantic time what with the schools enterprise projects taking off, the rush to Christmas and clearing out the barn. But as the Chinese proverb says, if you want something done take it to the busiest man in town.
1 November 2011
Where did October go? It’s been busy and fun. Julia’s been out visiting primary schools and the School Enterprise Challenge is creatign a real buzz. We’ve heard of children holding job interviews, participating in Dragon’s Dens and developing all kinds of innovative marketing ideas. Some of the schools will be participating in West Lothian’s Enterprise Fortnight in November. Michele and Karen have been out visiting Toddler groups doing handprints for Christmas and the studio has been full of all kinds of crafts. And in October we took our first delivery of specialty yarns which are great for creating fabulous scarves.
16 October 2011
Our pottery painting and craft studio is one today. We’ve really enjoyed our first year. To celebrate we are giving one lucky person a Highland cattle mug from our Kirkewton Pottery range. The calf was born on the estate during the year and Karen was out with her sketch pad. To win it, just go to our facebook page and like and share the post. We’d like to say a big thank you to all our loyal customers and staff. We have made so many good friends this year you have made it all such fun. STOP PRESS – the winner has now been announced on our facebook page.
1 October 2011
The start of another month and autumn is firmly upon us. I love October as the harvest is brought in, conkers become a prize currency and nights begin to draw in. For me it’s always been a month of russets, ambers, oranges and browns, but this year, for us, October is pink. It’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month and for all our friends who have had the spectre of this cancer in their lives, we’re doing some fundraising. We’re donating £1 for every ribbon mug painted and pink jewellery kit sold and the whole of a price of a pink ribbon charm which we can fit onto any bracelet or chain.
19 September 2011
It’s Talk like a Pirate Day today – so we’re practising our HAr-HAr me hearties, Shiver me timbers and Waaalk the Plank. We’ve got pirate skulls, pirate name plaques and parrots to paint as well as all kinds of things you’d find on a beach if you were shipwrecked. And if you’re in the children’s room today you may spot our vey own pirate dreaming of treasure … or where he left the key? Which reminds me … where did we bury the rum?
16 September 2011
It’s been a week of mixed emotions. Emma, our weekend, holiday and Monday girl is leaving us and we are really going to miss her. She’s about to start a new chapter in her life as she is off to University to study English. So as well as being sad, we are also very excited for her. We’ll miss her enthusiasm, creativity and organisational skills. Thanks to Emma, the underglaze and craft materials found proper homes. Many a birthday girl has enjoyed Emma’s hand painted birthday plates and one lucky little girl has a very special clock that Emma painted for her… I couldn’t resist posting Emma’s tea for one. It was the first thing she painted when she visited the studio as a customer last winter.
10 September 2011
More pottery making last night in the studio. The pots are now drying ready for their first firing. This week we were using a variety of moulds and decoration tools to imprint patterns into the clay. Can’t wait to see them when they emerge from the kiln. We’ve also kicked off our School Enterprise Challenge and held a series of Information Evenings for teachers, which were great fun. Can’t wait for the school visits to start to inspire the children.
2 September 2011
We love to be on trend in the studio. In London recently Julia spotted all kinds of funky jewellery sporting buttons and so started buying stock. There’s a great selection now of shell, resin, wood and painted buttons. The knitters and scrapbookers have got their eyes on them too. With many of you returning from your summer holidays raving about the woven bracelets in the Med, Irene’s been happily weaving away. It’s great to see teenage girls clustered around her having a go at creating a unique bracelet at a fraction of the cost in the shops. We know of a few who are proudly wearing their creations to school.
25 August 2011
With the children back at school we are now settling into our term time routine and busy organising the workshops and events for the Winter Term. New this term are Candles and Cosmetics workshops with Nicky of Lavender’s Green – the wonderful aromatherapy products that give the studio such a great smell) and a 6 week oil painting course being run by local artist Kirsty McDiarmid. The pottery classes went really well over the summer and are continuing with Viv Newton over the winter. Julia’s been buying again and found more pottery shapes to add to the collection.
11 August 2011
How weird is that? In a moment in the studio, Karen, Julia and Michele were sitting round a table making jewellery and painting pottery gossiping about concerts they had been to. And it transpired that in the cough cough 80s they were all at the same Madonna concert in Wembley … It would take another 20 years before they all met again …
Well the cookie jar full of lollies has been counted and the winner is Mia-Renee Millan – the number was 124 and clever Mia guessed 120. So well done and don’t eat all the lollies at once. Hopefully Mum will enjoy the cookie jar. Meantime we will send off the money raised to CRY (Cardiac Risk in the Young) – a charity dear to our hearts. Keep an eye out for our next charity competition.
Where has July (and the sunshine gone). Karen had one of those idyllic days earlier this week. She was painting mugs, the back door was open, the sun streaming in, when the sheep all wandered past being herded by the sheepdog, a butterfly floated in and the swallows continued their nest building.
As well as being ice cream and strawberry week in the studio, it’s also been pottery week. If you look carefully at the top row of the drying shelves you’ll see the pieces from Viv’s first pottery workshop drying. It was a night of coiling red grogged clay and handbuilding a pot or lamp base using the coils. Viv is a great teacher and we are looking froward to her next sessions – piggy banks for children and using moulds for adults. At the same time we’ve been working with our one of our bisque manufacturers on new moulds for the Kirknewton Pottery range. This week our first moulds were completed and our own small mugs are now in production. Can’t wait to see the first ones Karen paints up.
Julia has now firmly got the jewellery bug. It’s amazing all the different materials beads come in. New FIMO fruit beads arrived this week and Michele made up a Fruit Salad bracelet which will be one of our first kits. Julia’s been experimenting with crylic high heels and ribbons. (well a girl can never have enough shoes) We’ve also now organised our first FIMO bead class with local beader Trish. She’ll show you how to make cup cake beads and donuts in September.
Did you know it’s National Ice Cream Month this week and the 3rd Sunday in July is National Ice Cream Day! So it’s been a yummy Ice Cream and Strawberry week in the studio this week. And the weather looks as if it is improving. Hooray …
7 July 2011
American Week’s been a lot of fun in the studio. The new charms arrived just in time to have some US flags and of course rhinestone cowgirl boots. The fabric painting is proving popular and we’re keeping the fabric paints in the studio so that you can use them whenever you want – not just on Mondays.
4 July 2011
When we started Potter Around, we wanted to create an environment where you could have a go at lots of different crafts and where good quality local crafters could sell their work and give demonstrations and workshops. Recently we met Valerie of Bedecked Beads. Valerie lives in West Lothian and makes unique handcrafted jewellery using a variety of mediums, including polymer clay and wire work. We are delighted to be stocking her designs in the studio.
1 July 2011
June flew by. More firsts with the launch of our new bead section and the introduction of papercraft classes with Kim (of Kraftz at Kimz) and Gill (formerly of the Paper Mill). But June was also Present Making Month what with Fathers’ Days and the end of a school year. We saw lots of graduation gifts, retirement presents and of course gifts for teachers. Handprints were very popular for dads and local teachers this year will be receiving painted glasses, handmade jewellery and all kinds of painted pottery instead of chocolates – Sorry you chocoholics! Thanks for all the lovely comments on the selection of beads and findings we’ve got. But remember you don’t have to use our beads. Michele will help you make jewellery with beads and bits you have. This month Jenny bought in her sea glass collection and has now got some really stunning and unique jewellery.
8 June 2011
Yesterday was surreal. The last bead delivery arrived mid-morning and beads seemed to be spilling everywhere. I cannot believe how many beads you can get in a box that would take 2 cup cake cookie jars at most. The launch party went really well and we’re all looking forward to our new bead adventure.
But yesterday marked a huge turning point for us in a completely unexpected direction. Our range, Kirknewton Pottery, is taking off and we will need to scale it up. We have the space, but the right layout for the production process has been evading us. Midway through the afternoon, with my head crammed full of beads and my stress levels mounting, our sparky arrived to discuss where to put our next kiln! An answer did spring to mind. Next thing I knew I was tramping through an outbuilding, following electric cables, discussing layouts and still worrying away at a problem that has been eating me for months – how do we move the bisque between the kiln and the studio safely in winter. The sparky was regaling the history of the buildings when he nodded towards a dark corner, ‘And there’s the old door to your building,” he said. Been bricked up for a while now…” And there staring us in the face was the answer … the outline of a doorway that led straight into the bisque room.
3 June 2011
It’s been another busy week in the studio. Beads are continuing to arrive and the slatwall is up – hopefully everything will be ready for the jewellery launch party on the 7th June at 7pm. As Fathers’ Day approaches, it’s great to see kids deciding that what daddy really wants is a painted dinosaur and not a useful mug. But in amongst all the busy-ness, we had a morning yesterday which was just awe-inspiring. A group of children from Chernobyl who are are being hosted by Friends of Chernobyl’s Children, came to visit us. Their English was great and they were clearly enjoying being children for the day. It’s amazing to think that they will take a piece of Potter Around back home with them and we wish them all well.
24 May 2011
We’re still buzzing from the fun in the studio last night. Julia has finally met the legendary Nancy Manners who is well known to West Lothian crafters, but got so into gossiping with her, that the other Nancy had to ban her from the glass making workshop for holding back one of her star pupils. Still there were plenty of pottery painters and jewellery makers for Julia to chat to. Karen has finally recovered from the Cocktail Night. Alison of the Cocktail Queen really knows her stuff and it was great fun sampling the cocktails and painting the glasses. Next Cocktail Evening will be on Thursday 30th June.
18 May 2011
We have all been like kids in a sweetie shop today … or should I say bead shop. A very large parcel arrived with our initial stock of beads, findings and jewellery tools. There’s Pandora style bracelets, charm bracelets, charms, beads of all kinds, findings and reels of wire, thong and tons more that we are sorting through. We’re planning a launch party for 7 June and should have it all sorted and on display by next Wednesday. As with everything we do, we want to have a great selection for you. Michele Elder is helping us with this and we are all dead excited. Watch this space for photos, details of our new Jewellery Club and the Launch Party.
12 May 2011
Our local village blog this week starts with the heading “Daleks seen in Kirknewton”. Now before Dr. Who fans flock here in droves, we’d better come clean. We’re one of the first studios to stock the new Dalek bisque and it is going almost as fast as the Tardis. Studio is full of adults who once quaked behind the sofa daring to peek at the TV and modern children who listen to our tales and look at us as if we need a sonic screwdriver applied to our brain!
4 May 2011
The felting workshop at the weekend went really well and our ladies made beautiful bags, brooches, corsages and beads. I’m looking forward to the next one in June. Ann is full of tales of her trip to Mongolia and at lunchtime we were able to enjoy the summer sunshine. Studio has been very busy what with all the holidays the children have been having and we are getting more retailers taking our Kirknewton pottery range.
27 April 2011
Last night Nancy arrived with all the glass mirrors made by the children on the Easter camps. Ages ranged from 6-14 and the results are stunning. Last night it was the turn of the ladies who were making pendants. Everything from dragonflies and cats to abstract art. Can’t wait to see the fired results.
24 April 2011
Lots of baskets, bonnets and cards have been made this week.
We’ve also got a Name the Bunny Competition running at £1 a shot, money raised is going to a local hospice and the prize is an Easter Hamper from Marks and Spencer.
Our Easter Bunnies have been out and about today, helping people on our Easter Egg Trail around the studio and giving out Easter Eggs to those who successfully completed the trail. We’re running it again tomorrow – so here’s hoping the clues do not get washed away over night – or nibbled by a real bunny.
17 April 2011
We’re just so pleased that people appreciate what we are building here and look forward to welcoming some new faces.
Spring is definitely in the air and the lambs around the studio are getting cuter each day.
14 April 2011
It’s been a week of sport …
With the Grand Prix and the Grand National falling on the same weekend, we had to get some new bisque. Along with our horses, we’ve also taken delivery of Porsches and E Types – now if only they were real and not bisque!
As well as big national events though we’ve also been busy helping our local sports stars with their fundrasing.
We’ve got our fingers crossed for some of our young painters who are competing for Scotland at Gymnastics – Good Luck Girls!
We were delighted to be able to help Currie Rugby Club raise funds for the boys’ recent trip to Ireland.
The club took orders for personalized mugs which we handpainted and then glazed, before applying the club’s logo.
The boys had a great time and we are all dead proud of Cameron scoring a try!
Looking forward to doing more mugs for Currie.
10 April 2011
Michele has also agreed to take commissions for pieces. The jugs look great with bright flowers in them, and we are all dying to see the lamp base with its lamp lit up.
3 April 2011
This has been the week we finally found our pottery workshop leader! If you are interested in pottery courses, please email or call us as we are now planning the pottery courses. Julia is doing what she enjoys most – shopping – but this time it’s for a potter’s wheel, equipment and tools. Our first sewing session was great fun as the girls transformed their jeans into cushions. We’re now planning more textile sessions (including the Moon Walk Bra decorating evening). And on the pottery painting front, we’re both eagerly awaiting Michele’s African Sunset course on Tuesday 5th April.
15 March 2011
Karen’s been painting lots of honeypots and thistles on mugs to fulfil our first orders for Kirknewton Pottery. It’s going to be stocked in various shops in Edinburgh and the Lothians from Easter.
Julia’s been getting the new facebook page up and running. Thank you to everyone who became a fan of the page so that we could secure the username. We’ve been posting some pictures at http://www.facebook.com/KirknewtonPottery. Please have a look and let us know what you think.
4 March 2011
What a day. Angela Constance our MSP launched our new range, Kirknewton Pottery in the morning. The studio looked fab, full of flowers and cakes from the Hedgerow and of course lots of pieces of Karen’s handpainted range of homewares. The new website went live – holding page up for now with more to be added over the next month. (www.kirknewtonpottery.co.uk). And then in the sunny afternoon we were able to take the Kids Club outside into the fields. The children sketched the view, collected leaves and twigs and then came back to the studio to paint their masterpiece on canvas. When we finally closed, Karen and I sat there with a cup of tea and chocolate cake. Bliss! Definitely a day to remember.
21 February 2011
So… exciting .. Our new credit card machine has arrived, is set up and has been tested! Thank you Melissa for being the first customer to let us use it. Have just got all the sample tiles out of the kiln for the Crystal Glazes workshop tomorrow night and they look fab. You’ll be able to get some great effects with the glazes.
20 February 2011
Just catching our breath after our first week of holiday clubs. Our kiln is full of clay models, pen pots and cereal bowls while Nancy’s kiln is full of glass photo frames made by the children’s glass making class. We are now busy planning the Easter Kids’ Camps and will be announcing our adult glass workshops soon.
4 February 2011
A big Thank You to everyone who braved the gales to come to the Open Evening last night. It was great to see so many familiar faces and to meet new people. We’ve been firming up details and timings on the new courses today and your input was invaluable in making sure we provide the courses and crafts you want. Thanks again.
27 January 2011
There will be a half term’s kids camp running every morning of the half term (if you want afternoon sessions and there is enough demand, we will run them too!). Jewellery Making, Glass Making, Pottery Painting and Papercraft sessions will be running. Full programme will be posted soon but please ring or email for more details.
25 January 2011
Lots of exciting things are happening. Our Open Evening on 3rd February should be a great evening. The wonderful crafters we have found to lead courses on jewellery, papercraft, textiles, glass and specialist painting techniques will be on hand. It will be a lot of fun on the night – very informal with wine and nibbles. It’s a chance to see what we do and meet new and old friends. Draws will take place on the evening for a Potter Around voucher and a piece from the new Kirknewton Pottery. range.
3 January 2011
Another year begins. We’re back in the studio working on our new gift range and already some of our regulars have been in painting. We’re also planning an open evening for later this month when we will introduce you to all our course leaders and the courses we’ll be running through winter and spring. It’ll be a night to forget the New Year’s resolutions concerning food and drink and a night to take up that new hobby you’re been promising yourself.
Santa dropped in today and we helped him load his sleigh with mugs for West Lothian Clarion cycling club. Our elves hand-painted names and messages on the mugs and then added the club logo. Santa wants to win the Club award for the best photo wearing a club shirt. So now we all know what Santa wears under his jacket!
16 December 2010
It was a great night in the studio last night. One of our regulars used the studio for their book club. Paul at The Hedgerow supplied parsnip soup, beef casserole, baked potatoes, cake and all his wonderful home-made bread. Perfect winter fare. A lot of good food and laughter. Thank you all for making it a night to remember.
12 December 2010
We are now taking orders for Christmas wreaths and table decorations made by local villagers Julie and Alison. They are available in gold, silver and red and are on display in the studio. Cost £20 each.
We are keeping open throughout the snow and haven’t missed a day yet. There’s a great atmosphere in the studio as another intrepid explorer makes it up the lane to the warmth. We promise not to play I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas and Let it Snow too often. Karen has taken to sledging the glazed items to the kiln. The Frosty Pottery snowmen are enjoying the snow.
The build up to Christmas has well and truly started. We’ve visited nurseries all over Edinburgh, the Lothians and the Borders putting hand prints onto baubles. Our first school enterprise project with Frosty Pottery is well underway. The children are decorating and selling snowmen and are turning a healthy profit for Marie Curie Cancer Fund at the same time. In the studio, ornaments, baubles and plates covered in winter and Christmas scenes are being produced amidst a lot of fun. And we know of many a relative who will be getting hand prints for Christmas on mugs, jugs, vases, teapots, plates and photo frames. And if you don’t think you are creative, come and do a Christmas tree – out of fingerprints (we’ll show you how).
3 November 2010
Pudsey and Disney have arrived. Come and paint a pudsey hanger. £1.50 of the price you pay will go to Children in Need. Bring your own teddy and a picnic too to our Ready Teddy Go event. Disney has produced a range of ceramics for Paint Your Own Studios which are not available anywhere else. We have Cinderella, Mickey, Ariel and some Cars favourites for you to decorate.
Many thanks to everyone who has visited the studio since we opened and for all the good luck cards and lovely comments. We’re finally catching our breath. Lots of new party products for children arrived yesterday and the butter dishes that many of you have requested are now here. We’re now gearing up for our Hallow’een weekend. We’ll be decorating the party room and leaving the other 2 rooms as Hallow’een free zones, but we can’t promise someone won’t paint a pumpkin tealight in them.
12 October 2010
It’s full steam ahead for our opening at 11am on Saturday 16th October. There will be all kinds of fun and games, and we’re looking for graffiti artists to sgraffitto a pile of tiles. We’ll show you how. Look forward to seeing you this weekend.
9 October 2010
Lots of progress on studio this week and Karen has also been painting more of her range and commissions. Halloween goodies arrived this week too as well as new dishes, coat hooks and storage jars.
1 October 2010
Lots of painting at the studio today – but not of ceramics… Sally started on the children’s party room murals. Will say no more at this stage, but they are shaping up to be something very special and unique. Karen, Lynne and Julia were painting all the furniture and themselves. And of course there were tons of kids to help. Carla’s chair, especially, will be a work of art.
27th September 2010
Work is progressing on the studio which we are aiming to open in early October. Opened the kiln this morning to see all the water bowls and pen pots we have been painting in the potter around colours to be used in the studio. All look fab! And of course we couldn’t resist painting up a cookie jar and sweetie bowl.
14th September 2010
Karen has been photographed for the West Lothian Courier with the tiles we gave to Kirknewton Primary School for their mini-beast mansion (which Karen also helped to build). The children turned their finger prints into all kinds of bugs and beasties.
13th September 2010
Just been accepted into the Art Exhibition and Craft Fair to be held at St. John’s Hospital in Livingston.
1st September 2010
We are currently working like crazy developing the Julia Karen range of gifts and getting on with our studio. This morning Karen has designed a Santa’s cookie plate – Christmas seems to come earlier every year.