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Giving ceramics a personal touch at this Bridgnorth studio

It's a place where people of all ages can let their creative juices run wild and create something they will be proud to display in their own home.

Jon Dempsey runs GlaZe pottery studio and cafe in Bridgnorth
Jon Dempsey runs GlaZe pottery studio and cafe in Bridgnorth

Jon Dempsey runs GlaZe pottery studio and cafe in Bridgnorth, which offers people the chance to paint their own ceramics.

There is plenty of evidence that being creative can help people to unwind and boost their mental health.

And this is something Jon has witnessed first-hand since opening the doors of the studio just over a year ago.

"Every single person who leaves says 'that was so relaxing'. They really get into the flow when they are painting and they lose all sense of time," he tells Weekend.

There are plenty of items to choose from to paint

Visitors to GlaZe, which is located in Whitburn Street, may recognise the premises as it has also played host to Santa's Grotto for the past two years.

Former professional dancer Jon, who also runs the theatre school Stageworkz, first opened the Christmas attraction in December 2020.

After the festive season had ended, he was keen to find another way of bringing people together to have fun.

"Pottery is a new thing for me. It was actually my wife who asked if I had thought about doing paint your own pottery.

"I dismissed it initially because I thought 'who is going to want to paint their own cups when they could just buy them'?

"When I looked into it I found it was popular all over the world. People like it because they can paint something for themselves, which is personal, rather than buying the same thing that everyone else has, or they can paint a gift for someone else," he explains.

Visitors to the studio can choose an item to paint from mugs, plates, and teapots to vases, money boxes 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 chose from, they are all priced individually and the price includes the cost of paints, glazing and the firing process," says Jon.

"It's something for all ages - from the four-year-olds who paint the table, themselves and throw a bit of painting on what they are supposed to be painting to the 80-year-olds who will come in to paint a teapot or a mug.

"Most people book a table, but people can walk-in and paint too, if we have space available. We provide basic tuition to help people paint what they want to paint. They can come in, relax and paint," he adds.

Jon, who also lives in the town, advises people to apply three or four layers of paint to their chosen item to ensure the colour doesn't fade in the kiln.

Then, once the paint has dried, a glaze layer is added and the piece is fired in the kiln, at a temperature of 1000C, for 12 hours.

Jon will then contact the customer to let them know that their creation is ready to be collected. Some items can be decorated with a specialist paint that means they can be taken away on the same day.

Jon says visitors are proud of their creations

"There is no need to wait for glazing and the kiln, which means it's great for visitors to our town who can't pop back in a few days or for children who just can't wait," explains Jon.

In recent weeks, customers have been painting items at GlaZe to celebrate the Queen's Platinum Jubilee and as gifts for Father's Day. The studio and cafe also welcomed young visitors for children's activities during the half-term holiday.

GlaZe also caters for birthday parties, hen parties and baby shows and has recently started offering 'Harry pottery parties' for young fans of the book and film series, and prosecco and paint nights for the adults.

Jon, who reached the quarter finals of Britain’s Got Talent in 2009, says he has been delighted by the feedback from customers since the studio opened in May last year.

"When I first started, I thought people would quickly paint and then leave. I found that people really got into it and they were happy to spend time painting and focusing on what they were doing. They can paint, chat with other people, if they want to, and get really creative," he tells Weekend.

And for those wondering about the popular Santa's Grotto, Jon wants to assure them that the shop will be transformed back into the winter wonderland once again this December.

"We will take a break from pottery for a bit and turn the shop back into the grotto so lots of children can visit Santa," he says.

For more information and opening times, see facebook.com/efxevents or email theglazestudio@outlook.com

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