Written on: 02/11/2004 by t4mof (6 reviews written)
Interesting visit for all the family
Too many delicates in the shop with a 3 year old in tow!
Prices are correct for 2004.
When going on holiday, I like to have a vague idea of what the weather is going to be like so that I can find things to do if we don't get beach weather. Before going to Jersey, it looked like Week 1 was going to be scorching and Week 2, a little more cloudy. This turned out to be reasonably accurate and after spending much of our first week on the beach, we visited some of the island's attractions in the second week.
One attraction which caught my eye when leafing through a Jersey guide was Jersey Pottery, situated in Gorey village on the east of the island. It was the advert for their Glaze Craze activity which had made me think it could be a good place to spend an afternoon. Children (and adults) can choose a piece of undecorated pottery, paint it and then collect it (or have it posted) a few days later when it has been glazed and fired. Jacob enjoys a spot of painting so I though he would have fun doing this.
~ ~ ~ Location ~ ~ ~
Jersey Pottery is easy to find. From St. Helier follow signs to The East and Gorey. Once you enter Gorey, the pottery is clearly signposted.
~ ~ ~ The Shop ~ ~ ~
On entering the building you will find yourself in a spacious shop. Various designs of plates, cups, saucers, vases, candlestick holders, money boxes, decorative items and many other products greet you.
New designs are placed at the entrance and there is a section at the back for substandard and discontinued ranges. We headed straight for this area having seen some of the prices but were disappointed to find that there wasn't a huge reduction off the original price. There were several Buy One Get One Free offers on some ranges that they wanted to clear. The shop is well stocked but keep a tight reign on any young children. It was making me very nervous seeing Jacob eyeing up the products for "just a little touch, Mummy".
~ ~ ~ Glaze Craze ~ ~ ~
As we had promised Jacob he could do some painting we stopped at the Glaze Craze workshop. There is a £5 fee for each person wanting to paint and then a charge for the pottery you choose to paint. This ranged from the smaller, cheaper pieces such as pigs, dogs and cats at £6.75 to larger cars and planes at £9.95 up to vases and clocks at £15 - £20. So the minimum charge for the activity was almost £12 which isn't bad for one child but I could see it turning into an expensive business for families with 2, 3 or more children wanting to participate.
Jacob chose one of the cats and then an assistant provided us with paints, brushes, water and somewhere to sit.
The paints do look quite wishy washy and pastel-like but once fired in the kiln the colour comes out a lot stronger. There was a tips and hints sheet on each table with advice on how to create your own masterpiece and the assistants are on hand to show you any techniques you might want to learn.
We thought Jacob was a little young to be bothered with pottery painting techniques so he had free reign on his cat and after half an hour of so, Rainbow Cat had been produced.
We cleaned ourselves up in the big sink and then handed Rainbow Cat over and paid. Glazing and firing takes 3 days (not including Saturdays and Sundays) so it is best to visit early on in the holiday to avoid postage and packing charges back to the UK or any other country. 3 days later on the Friday we returned and Rainbow Cat had certainly taken on bright rainbow features. Jacob was highly delighted with his creation.
~ ~ ~ Throwing and Decorating Workshop ~ ~ ~
Other areas of the pottery factory are open for visitors to see the work in action. Even at the tender age of 3 Jacob seemed to find watching the decorators and pottery throwers enthralling. A lot of the Jersey pottery is hand made from a lump of clay and freehand painted without templates. Jacob watched the workers closely and then was thrilled when he saw the same pieces available in the shop. We were there while several strawberries were painted onto bowls.
~ ~ ~ Casting, Fettling and Glazing Workshop ~ ~ ~
Again this area is open to the public to wander round and watch. While we were there this part of the factory seemed very quiet. There wasn't much to see and unfortunately no glazing going on so that we could show Jacob exactly what would happen to Rainbow Cat. The huge firing kilns were of great interest to him though - slightly different from the oven he no doubt had in mind.
The workers have regular breaks but the times they won't be there are clearly posted around the workshops so you can plan to visit at a time when there will be something going on.
~ ~ ~ Other Facilities ~ ~ ~
We arrived late morning and so our first stop was Spinnakers Restaurant for dinner. If you think of this as the kind of restaurant you would find in a department store you won't be far wrong. It was self service, serving hot and cold food - sandwiches, burgers and the like with the odd "special" also available. Prices were slightly inflated but again, similar to department store prices. Staff were available to help if needed and were only too happy to come and clear up after Jacob dropped a Jersey Pottery salt pot onto the hard, ceramic floor. Pottery and ceramic floors don't tend to go well together and a lot of mess was created!
Opening hours for the restaurant are 10am-late Tuesday to Sunday with the last food order being at 9pm. It is closed on a Monday evening but open in the day for customers to the pottery.
There is another restaurant on site which looked very inviting and cosy but unfortunately was closed on the day of our visit. It is renowned across the island for being a great place for a night out though so I assume food would be up to scratch. This restaurant is seasonal and is only open on Sundays throughout the winter season which starts early October.
Jersey Pottery also has its own florist and a delivery service throughout the island. To be honest it is a very small space and not much browsing could be done but it does stand on the edge of some beautiful gardens that we spent 20 minutes or so having a slow walk around.
~ ~ ~ Finally ~ ~ ~
Jersey Pottery export their goods throughout the world so you don't have to go to Jersey to find the gifts you want. Their website lists stockists across the UK and the rest of the world and it is also possible to order online and have your goods shipped to your home address.
They also personalise gifts so money boxes for children can have their name painted on to make the gift that much more special.
Overall I was really impressed with how much there was to do at Jersey Pottery. It certainly kept Jacob entertained for an afternoon and I'm sure older children would find it just as interesting. And since it's free to look around the workshop and shop you don't have to spend a fortune to be entertained.
The Jersey Pottery . Gorey Village . Jersey Channel Islands
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