For Christmas my brother bought me a Emma Bridgewater factory experience. We have so much ‘stuff’ I love getting an experience or a chance to make memories and this was right up my street!
I mean don’t get me wrong- you can never have too many Emma Bridgewater mugs, but the chance to go and see where it’s all created and paint something was lovely. I had visited the site before when I had my first born and created a plate but this time the experience was slightly different.
He had booked the factory experience which entailed- a faculty tour to begin the day, afternoon tea in the cafe and then £15 towards any item in the painting room. As I created a plate for Henry (my first born), this time I decided to take George (my new born) so I could make him a plate too.
We started with the factory tour. I don’t want to put too many pictures as that will spoil it if you ever go so I will only post a few. For the factory tour they take you through the whole process. You start with the clay they use, they then take you through the making of items using the different techniques (you even get to have a go at creating a plate). You then get taken to see where they tidy the items and fire the clay, this shows you how they get from raw clay product to final biscuit ware.
You then move to the painting rooms. they explain how they make the patterns and do the actual printing onto the pieces. You can see this all taking place before the biscuit ware goes off to be glazed. The sponge decorating was my favourite area, they have all this British bunting up and it was such a skill to watch each lady sponge the patterns by hand, I found it fascinating.
Encase you are wondering about the new born- they don’t allow children under five on the tour when I went and there is no way you could take a pushchair round but because he was a new born I just carried him in my Bjorn and he looked at everything going on which seemed to keep him quite.
After the factory tour we were taken to the cafe where we had a wonderful afternoon tea. We didn’t know what to expect but there were plenty of sandwiches, cakes and the drinks just kept coming. We were perfectly refreshed. From a newborns perspective there was enough room for our single pram so I bought that in, and they had a couple of high chairs. I wouldn’t say this area was geared towards children but it was accommodating enough.
After we had finished the afternoon tea it was over to the potting studio at our leisure. we had £15 each to put towards what ever we wanted to paint. I knew I wanted to do a plate so it was an easy choice but they had everything for mugs, pasta bowls and giant teapots!
They gave us a talk on how the colours worked, how to do the sponge patterns and then you where free reign to experiment. I tried to print Georges hands but he wasn’t having any of it so I went with his feet and of course decorated with all the farm sponges they had. (The girls in the factory make it look very easy compared to the reality!)
Once complete you can either collect or pay for postage, we live so far away we had no choice other than to pay for postage but I didn’t mind as we combined our plates into one parcel so it was one charge.
It took around ten days for the plate to arrive once fired and glaze and this was the end result! The left is the one I created on this factory experience, the one on the right is the one I created last time.
The only other thing left to do on site was to shop! There are two shops on sight- the actual shop with the latest ranges in and the discount shop (my favourite). It contained lots of seconds and discontinued items at reduced prices. There was so much stock to choose from and by having it all out on display it meant you could have a hunt through some of the seconds to find the best ones. I bought a chicken and egg and you would not even know there was anything wrong with it!
Overall it was a fabulous day out. I would highly recommend it for anyone looking for something a bit different and a bit special. If you live locally they advertise events for the school holidays which you could pop along to but they also do special afternoon teas for things like mothers day.