Putting a personal touch on ceramics at this Bridgnorth studio
Jon Dempsey runs the GlaZe pottery studio and cafe in Bridgnorth, which offers people the opportunity to paint their own ceramics.
There is plenty of evidence that creativity can help people relax and improve their mental health.
And it’s something Jon has witnessed first-hand since the studio doors opened just over a year ago.
“Every person who leaves says ‘it was so relaxing’. They really go into the flow when they paint and they lose track of time,” he told Weekend.
Visitors to GlaZe, which is located in Whitburn Street, may recognize the premises as it has also hosted Santa’s Grotto for the past two years.
Former professional dancer Jon, who also runs acting school Stageworkz, opened the Christmas attraction for the first time in December 2020.
After the holiday season was over, he wanted to find another way to bring people together for fun.
“Pottery is new to me. It was actually my wife who asked me if I had thought about painting your own pottery.
“I initially rejected it because I thought ‘who will want to paint their own mugs when they could just buy them’?
“When I looked, I found that it is popular all over the world. People like it because they can paint something for themselves, which is personal, rather than buying the same thing everyone else has, or they can paint a gift for someone else,” he explains.
Visitors to the studio can choose an object to paint from cups, plates and teapots, vases, piggy banks and figurines as well as dinosaurs, fairies, teddy bears and animals, which will appeal to children.
“We have a huge range of pottery items to choose from, they are all priced individually and the price includes the cost of paints, glaze and the firing process,” says Jon.
“It’s something for all ages – from four-year-olds who paint the table themselves and throw some paint on what they’re supposed to paint, to octogenarians who come in to paint a teapot or a cup.
“Most people reserve a table, but people can also come in and paint, if we have space. We offer basic classes to help people paint what they want to paint. They can come in, relax and paint,” he adds.
Jon, who also lives in the city, advises people to apply three or four coats of paint to their chosen item to ensure the color doesn’t fade in the oven.
Then, once the paint is dry, a layer of glaze is added and the piece is baked at a temperature of 1000C for 12 hours.
Jon will then contact the customer to let them know that their creation is ready for collection. Some items can be decorated with specialist paint, meaning they can be taken home the same day.
“There’s no need to wait for glazing and kiln, which means it’s ideal for visitors to our city who can’t return in a few days or for children who just can’t wait” , explains Jon.
In recent weeks, customers have painted items at GlaZe to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee and as Father’s Day gifts. The studio and cafe also welcomed younger visitors for children’s activities during the mid-term break.
GlaZe also hosts birthday parties, hen parties and baby shows and has recently started offering ‘Harry Pottery Nights’ for young fans of the book and film series, as well as prosecco and painting evenings for adults.
Jon, who reached the quarter-finals of Britain’s Got Talent in 2009, says he is delighted with customer feedback since the studio opened in May last year.
“When I started I thought people would paint quickly and then leave. I found people really got into it and were happy to spend time painting and focusing on what they They were doing. They can paint, chat with other people, if they want to and get really creative,” he told Weekend.
And for those wondering about the popular Santa’s Grotto, Jon wants to assure them that the shop will once again be a winter wonderland in December.
“We’re going to take a little break from pottery and turn the shop into a cave so lots of kids can visit Santa,” he says.
For more information and opening times, see facebook.com/efxevents or email [email protected]