Ever Wondered What Goes on Behind the Scenes?

A comment that I hear from time to time is ‘You’re nice and quiet in here so you can relax’. It’s a lovely thought and I would love nothing more than to sit at the desk and stare at the side of the church opposite all day (or I could watch some paint dry very easily as I have the resources at my fingertips). The truth is that we’re always busy here at Crafty Monkey.

This time of year, believe it or not, is officially Christmas! Towards the end of September, we have many mums booked in to get their babies’ hand and footprints onto baubles (we love their organisation!) and mums’ group bookings become especially popular. By the end of October, we book our customers in back to back so that we can keep up with demand. We can eat lunch and have a wee in January- until then, we become super-human!

So, what goes on behind the scenes? Lots.

The most obvious thing is the production line. More than half of our customers will ask us to decorate their pieces for them. This means that every day, I have piles of stuff that need some love. Last year, I painted close to a million (give or take) antlers and red noses on footprint reindeers and I have written ‘Happy Christmas’ more times than Santa’s Elves have.

Our kiln is on most days during this period. Loading and unloading is something of a mammoth task and can take a couple of hours each way. It’s a top loading machine, meaning that we use heavy shelves and posts and it’s a bit of a balancing act…not for the faint hearted to say the least!P1070104

We then need to gather people’s orders together and organise them for collection. This is more difficult than it sounds as we have so much stuff constantly rolling in and it can get very hectic. We also struggle for space during Christmas as we are heaving with pottery and can’t fit it all into our usually ample window display space.

Other than that, we are packaging things up to post, dealing with the creation of imprints/outprints, painting commission pieces, receiving mail to be dealt with, ordering stock and battling with huge pallets when it gets delivered, keeping the shelves plentiful, answering the phone as it rings off the hook and attempting some form of tidiness in the studio. And the most time consuming and arduous task of all? Filling the little paint bottles up on the tables. If somebody could invent self-replenishing paint bottles, I’d be all over it!

That’s a brief synopsis of what goes on behind the scenes…there’s actually a lot more happening but I’d be here all day if I listed it all!

So that’s us until December 22nd. The rest of the year is similar but we’re slightly more time rich and we get to eat lunch. If you’d like to pop in and bring us a mince pie, we’d be most grateful. And if you wouldn’t mind liquidising it and feeding it to us intravenously, that’d be great…

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Travelling Companions

How are the summer holidays going for you so far? Personally, we’ve been having a great time!

It’s been a busy one so far and our diary is looking a lot like the fun isn’t going to die down anytime soon. We’ve seen many familiar faces over the past few weeks and some of our local younger visitors have been coming to see us on a weekly basis! We must be doing something right!

However, this year, we’ve seen a big increase in children from far and wide as they’ve been brought along by aunts, uncles, grandparents and family friends as part of their visit to St Neots. From Norwich to New Zealand, we’ve made lots of new little friends! Some of these children look forward to collecting their painted pottery next time they see their loved ones, but many of them have been making things that they can take away on the same day. Our Build a Bear range is ideal for little travellers as they can make a little companion to pop into their suitcases and snuggle up with at night times…they can even have their own changes of clothes if desired!P1060848

Alternatively, our squishy, shiny putty – Foam Clay is another mobile option as the pieces will touch dry quite quickly meaning that the children can create until their hearts’ content and and take their items with them to admire forevermore. done (75)

If you’d like to bring a visitor along to create a memory, give us a call on 01480219222…and remember, pottery painting isn’t just for kids! Grown-ups love it too!

Today is Superman Day!

It’s probably a little known date in the calendar, but yes, today is indeed Superman Day!
The general idea behind Superman Day is based around having a bit of fun and paying tribute to one of our best known superheros. So whether you fancy popping on your cape and lycra tights or taking measures to save the planet from evil, get your friends together and celebrate the life and times of the well loved fictional character (but please do not jump off buildings in an attempt to fly- chances are, you won’t be able to)

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At Crafty Monkey, we are fortunate enough to have had a visit from the great man himself as he dropped by to try his hand at a spot of pottery painting. So, what did he choose to paint? Was it a bird? Was it a plane? Not exactly, he chose a gnome..we can only assume that Superman is partial to a spot of gardening when he’s not busy being a hero!

 

If Painting be the Food of Love…

The quote doesn’t quite work as well as the original, I know that, but like music, art is a great creative stimulant and you may just find that a pottery painting session with your other half is an ideal Valentine’s activity!

valentine-gifts

If painting as a couple isn’t up your street, how about making a lovely treasure with your baby’s hand and footprints?

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We’re absolutely certain that every mummy and daddy would love a piece like this as their special Valentine’s Day gift.

If you’d like to put your heart and soul into personalising some pottery for somebody you love, drop by the studio and we’ll show you how!

Housewarming For The Kiln

Housewarming for the kiln

It seems that everybody’s on the move at the moment. Chances are that you know somebody who has recently moved or is about to move. But what do you get your loved ones for a house warming gift? Many people are already set up and simply moving from one home to another and have everything they need already. There are only so many sets of decorative glasses that you can fit in the cupboard!

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That’s why we’re lucky enough to see a whole plethora of ‘New Home’ based creations at Crafty Monkey! The lovely thing about DIY gifts is that you can create fantastic bespoke pieces to give your family and friends something that’s above and beyond what they’d usually expect to receive.

Many people like to paint plates and personalise their own ‘New Home’ design, which is great to pop on the wall for all to admire. However if you’re looking for a simpler gift, then we have plenty of bits and pieces that can be simply embellished by your own hand. From oil burners, soap dispensers, vases and pots in all shapes and sizes; we’ve got all the cute adornments for every mantelpiece and beyond!

We also paint commission orders, so if you don’t wish to do it yourself- pop along and chat to us and we’ll do the work for you.

Happy House Warming! hand and foot prints tree

A Little Help For Santa

Help for santa

Everyone deserves to open a Christmas stocking from Santa- whether they’re 3 or 73; it’s a bit of fun as a Christmas morning starter.

But it’s often difficult for Santa to find gifts to pad it out! That’s where Crafty Monkey can help out! We have all sorts of trinkets and bits here that can be painted up to make the perfect present.

Know a keen gardener? Our little male and female gnomes are insanely cute and will fill a portion of a stocking nicely- they can even be personalised as some of them are holding a little name plaque! Any animal lovers in the family? We have a right menagerie of cute creatures from meerkats to mice! Are there any practical people in need of a thoughtful gift? We have all sorts of stuff that have uses beyond ornamental. Cups, door knobs, spoon rest, gravy boats to name but a few.

So if Santa would like to come and see us (we realise he’s very busy but he’ll enjoy himself!), make sure you ring up and book an appointment as Christmas is incredibly busy and we’d hate not to have space for him!

Call us on 01480219222 to book in or drop by to have a browse and book in. See you soon!

BeFunky Collage;kjn

Christmas is coming!

christmas is coming..

Christmas is upon us once again and our studio is swaying under the bulk of baubles once again. Each year, we think we’ve ordered enough baubles in to see us through the festive period but each year sees an increase in their popularity and we end up placing emergency orders for supplies! Last year this happened twice- the first time being at the start of October as we’d exhausted our stock of a couple of hundred!

As ever, our specialty hand print robins and trees and footprint Rudolphs remained the most popular design for our baubles and the demand rose for our famous ‘mistletoes’ plates and we produced several every day.

Amid the bauble and plate chaos- many other festive pieces found their way into our kiln, including standing snowmen, dancing reindeer and funky tree ornaments.

If you’re thinking of coming along and creating Christmas bits, get in as soon as possible! Call us on 01480219222!