Banwell Pottery

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Banwell Pottery is a creative ceramics studio based in the @Worle Sports Centre near Weston-super-Mare. The studio is one of Brandon’s thriving social enterprises, which offers people with learning disabilities and autism, supported employment, training, creative and leisure opportunities, in a supported and fun environment

About Banwell Pottery

A collection of handmade pottery items

The pottery produces a unique range of products, all designed and made by the potters and artists who attend. We make tiles, coasters, ceramic decorations, greetings cards, and prints. We also support individual artists to make and sell their own artwork.

We sell and exhibit our work at various events across North Somerset and Bristol, as well as from our studio at @Worle, the Brandon Trust charity shops, and our online Etsy shop.

We also run evening classes for members of the public.

Classes

A lady making a clay pot on a table surrounded by tools and other pottery items

We run fortnightly evening classes for members of the public to come along and have a go at pottery.

This is a flexible course for beginners or experienced potters, offering slab work, coil work, hand building, modelling, sculpture, relief work, and tile making. Throwing is also available (access may be limited as we only have one wheel).

The class is from 6pm – 8pm on Wednesdays.

If you are interested in a pottery session or if you have any questions, please call us on 01934 756 481.

How it's made

We produce a popular range of brightly coloured ceramics with our potters fully involved in every part of the process.

The prepared clay is rolled to the correct thickness using a specialist slab roller machine making it perfectly flat and ready to use. The clay slabs are then cut to size using different cutters depending on what’s being made. Shaped molds are used to make dishes and plates, and bespoke carved plaster blocks are used to add detail. Items are left to dry on the drying racks and when leather-hard, they are fettled and sponged. Once completely dry, they are loaded into the kiln for their first (bisque) firing.

After firing, the pieces are painted with brush-on earthenware glazes. This is a very detailed process, and the potters need to paint carefully. The pieces then have a second, glaze firing.

Many of our pieces also go through a third firing. This is to apply the specialist ceramic transfers which adds the artwork designed by our potters.

This process is used to make a variety of dishes, coasters, hanging decorations, and bespoke commissions.

Support

A man in check shirt using clay on a table

Banwell Pottery is a community-based employment and training project. We offer people with learning disabilities and autism the opportunity to get experience and develop skills in a supportive and safe environment. It’s also a fun place where our potters can express themselves and get creative. Whatever your level of need, we can support you to learn new job skills in a friendly, relaxed atmosphere.

Our potters learn about the whole process of creating products to sell, from design through to production, painting, and finishing. They learn the trade in a professional setting and can focus their learning based on their skills and what they enjoy. We can even support people on an individual basis to develop and sell their own artwork.

We offer sessions that provide employment training and work experience, and sessions that are more leisure-based, which provide a fantastic opportunity for people to develop their creative skills. We also have three paid, supported employees who work as pottery assistants.

We hope to offer more paid, supported employment in the future.

A table with clay and a punch to cut out shapes

As well as learning the practical skills of creating ceramics and other design products, our potters also gain transferable skills needed for any job, such as teamwork, customer service, health and safety, and timekeeping.

Our potters thrive in a friendly environment, gaining confidence as they master the trade and see their pottery being sold. Many people build friendships, improve communication and social skills, and reduce their social isolation.

All our staff are fully qualified, DBS checked, and passionate about what they do. In addition, the staff team hold qualifications in ceramics, illustration, graphic design, teaching, and health and social care, and all staff have professional experience of producing and selling their own work.

A handmade pottery item with 'Banwell Pottery' written on it

Values

At Banwell Pottery, we believe that people with learning disabilities and autism should be free to live the lives they choose. For this reason, it’s important to us that our potters enjoy everything they do in the studio.

It’s also important that everything we produce is the work of our potters, from the design to the finishing touches, and that finished products are of the highest quality.

We’re committed to equal opportunities and inclusion, and our community-based project is testament to that. We aim to equip our potters with skills and experience to prepare them for paid employment.

If you’d like to find out more about placements at Banwell Pottery, please call us.

About us

A selection of handmade ceramic items from Banwell Pottery

The pottery is a purpose-built, community-based employment and training project which supports up to 30 people with learning disabilities and autism every week, enabling them to develop their skills and experience.

Everything we produce is designed and made by the people we support including individually designed tiles, hangers, and coasters. We sell our products from our studio as well as at craft and art fairs across North Somerset and Bristol. Our products are also on sale in the Brandon Trust charity shops.

The finished products are truly a team effort, with our potters playing to their strengths and what they enjoy, whether that be drawing designs, the production process, or the fine detail of painting tiles and decorations.

The pottery studio provides an opportunity for people with learning disabilities to use their creativity and express themselves in individual ways. As well as making products to sell, our potters also enjoy their own individual projects, providing them with another outlet to express themselves.

History

Banwell Pottery originated in the village of Banwell, near Weston-super-Mare, in 2000, as a day centre activity for people with learning disabilities run by North Somerset Council. It became part of Brandon Trust in 2001 and has always remained firmly connected with the local community.

In 2013, we moved to a brand new, purpose-built design studio in the @Worle Sports Centre. The move has allowed the studio to become more accessible and to grow into the thriving social enterprise it is today.

Visit us

A selection of handmade clay pots and artwork from Banwell Pottery

Banwell Pottery is a friendly and fun pottery studio and we always love having visitors, so please drop in and say hello. We’re proud of the unique look of our potters’ designs. Come and have a look at the colourful products we have for sale and see how we make them.

  • We were given such a warm, friendly welcome from the potters, who were delighted to show us the creative process from design to finish, of their original and vibrant ceramics.

    Mary Andrews, Basingstoke

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Shop

We have a wide range of unique, handmade ceramics, artwork and cards available to buy.

You can purchase from our studio in the @Worle Sports Centre in Worle between 9.00am and 4.00pm, Monday to Friday, and from the Brandon charity shops in Bristol. You can also buy our products online from our Etsy store.

Contact

Banwell Pottery
@ Worle
58 New Bristol Road
Weston-super-Mare
BS22 6AQ

Telephone: 01934 756481