Martin Howard on thu 20 dec 01
Carole would like to hear more about the Children's Pottery Parties.
Right, here is what I do. Just use it as a possible template for your
I have up to 6, sometimes 7 children at a time.
At least one parent is there all the time.
They usually come after school, 4.30 pm start and leave two hours later.
As no potters can do any good work when hungry or thirsty, we supply some
nibbles and drinks, in a room above the pottery or in the cottage, NOT in
That's the time to tell a story, on a theme agreed with the parent of the
I also give some idea of clay and relate it to a pack of playing cards, and
a bag of marbles for sand.
We then go into the pottery, where each child has a place around the main
table, with slabs, half casserole dishes, shapes prepared beforehand along
the theme of the day.
I demonstrate on the wheel how to throw a mug or a bowl.
Then each comes on the wheel with me in order. It is a wheel with a teaching
seat at the other end, so my fingers are in the pot with the child to make
sure that a good shape results. If there is a collapse, then we do another.
I use 400 grams clay for each.
I introduce them to Lucy Dot for opening. L and C and a dot is the
forefinger to open. Then butterfly hands with wings folded away for widening
the base and raising the side walls.
After 3 have been on the wheel I prepare some slip in little bowls so that
the workers on the table can decorate their creations.
After 2 hours all have had their go on the wheel and all have done their
modelling etc on the table. Some are still trying to still decorate the
handwork. That is usually the 'know it all' of the group. There's always
The parents deal with toilet problems.
There is a loo and bathroom just above the pottery. Check it afterwards.
Last time one child left the heater on and I did notice until two days
I usually deal with hand washing. There is a raised platform from our Quaker
meeting house to help little ones reach into the sink properly.
All clay from washing is recycled via a tank under the sink.
Any minor cuts or abrasions are dealt with by cold water and elastoplast and
a little TLC!!
Boys, and sometimes girls, like the opportunity to slop out from the recycle
bucket into the drying bowls. They can get clay right up to the armpits
Parents are warned that the red clay can stain cloths, so come in old stuff.
They rarely do, so there are old pyjama tops available to cover them up. Put
those on backwards.
After the two hours a very noisy group leaves and its all hugs and waves and
words like "we want to come again" until they are way down the road.
Finishing work is done next day as the bowls and mugs are turned and the
table handwork creations are checked for sharp projections.
The children all label their work with sticky name tags and I have to make
sure what belongs to who. I impress an initial on the bottom of each pot to
When in the kiln, the sticky place names are stuck on the wall by the kiln
in place order.
When glazed, in accordance with children's wishes or my inclination, I
telephone the party parent to come and collect.
I charge the number of the children times the age of the party child in
pounds sterling. Payment on the day of the Party.
That is completely uneconomic, but then I am getting as much pleasure out of
the time and the work as they are!
Webbs Cottage Pottery
Woolpits Road, Great Saling
BRAINTREE, Essex CM7 5DZ
01371 850 423