Happy 6th Birthday to us!!!

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We can’t quite believe that it’s our 6th birthday and we’re feeling ever so grown up!

In terms of birthday gifts, we’re fairly low maintenance. We don’t require new bikes or musical princess castles. We don’t even want a cake*. All we want is to see the happy smiley faces of our lovely customers who continue to visit and support Crafty Monkey. Without you lot, we obviously wouldn’t be here celebrating our 6th birthday and we’re sending you lots of love (even though it’s our birthday and it should be the other way round, but we’re selfless like that!)

Big thanks to you all…please come by and say hello and wish us many happy returns of the day!

Love from all of the Crafty Monkeys XXX

*This is a fib- we do want cake. Please bring us cake…

 

 

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Personalised Pottery!

Personalise pottery

Why not commission our Crafty Monkey resident artists to create plates or other pottery for special occasions such as Weddings, Special Birthdays (18th, 21st, 30th, 40th, 60th, 80th), Christenings, Anniversaries (Silver, Ruby, Gold), New Born, Graduations, Teacher gift, Valentine’s or just a message of love & friendship. A gift like this will last forever in the hearts of your loved ones.

We are able to personalise just about any piece of pottery you see in our studio – from the smallest tea cup to the largest platter. Whether you want to choose specific colours and designs for a bespoke decorative piece, or you want a unique gift with name and date of birth or any special greeting painted on -we are able to meet your needs.

Everyday is a Fairy Day at Crafty Monkey!

Today is National Fairy Day and at Crafty Monkey, we’re more than well equipped to get involved!
As many of you will know (especially those of you with little girls), our shelves are full of pretty fairies (and we even have some pottery ones).

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If you’re looking for a way to show your appreciation of our dainty little milk tooth collecting friends, come on down to Crafty Monkey where you can paint your own fairy from our selection. And for those of you that prefer to think outside of the box a little; there are fairy princesses and all things mermaid and doll related.

Come by and talk to us about the prettiest fairy that you’ve ever seen…and if you haven’t, take a stroll down to the bottom of your garden, but don’t blink as you may miss them…

Forest Sprite

There was a little fairy
Sat beneath a tree –
Humming to her tiny self
A haunting melody;
Just a little tinkle
Was all that I could hear
Floating on the evening breeze
High and crystal clear;
Surrounded by a rainbow,
Sparkles lit the air –
Tiny wings did flutter
Sprinkling gold dust in her hair;
A tiny little forest sprite
Had slipped the bonds of space,
Perhaps a mere imagined thought
Had brought her to this place;
How sweet the sound she echoed
Within this forest spot –
Though I had never seen a sprite
Her image now I caught;
This tiny little fairy
Sat beneath a tree –
Humming to her tiny self
A haunting melody.

Linda Ori

To book with us at Crafty Monkey – 01480219222

Great gift for your Teachers!

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The end of the school term may seem like a long way in the distance, but before you know it, the summer holidays will be upon us (yay!) and you’ll be thinking about all the wonderful activities that you can get involved with at Crafty Monkey! But have you decided what you’re going to give to your child’s teacher as a ‘thank you’ gift?

If not, then there’s no time like the present to put on your creative thinking caps. Teachers spend their lives getting hands on and creative with your children, so now it’s time to give something back and there really is no better place to start than Crafty Monkey.

We can pretty much guarantee that you’ll find something for every kind of teacher here. We have items starting at £4 with no studio fee which proove popular, we have tea sets for the tea lover, latte cups for the coffee lover, cake stands for the cake lover and trinket pots for the… er…trinket lover! As most of you will know, our studio is bursting at the seams with a huge range of pottery and your creative gift doesn’t necessarily need to painted- remember that you can also decoupage your way into fashioning something lovely for teacher to display!teacher

Or perhaps you want to do a collective gift from all the teachers pupils

– we’ve done lots of great plates, vases and plant pots where the children put a fingerprint on and their name, the fingerprints can be made into all sorts of things – a favourite is where a garden scene is created with fingerprints and inscribed onto the piece is ‘Thanks for helping us grow and bloom!

We can help you with ideas if you pop in and see us at the studio, but we know that many of you and your children create fantastic things independently. From the elaborate masterpiece, to the downright barmy- we’ve seen it all at Crafty Monkey! However, our personal favourite teacher gift from last year has to be a dog bowl painted by a little boy for his canine loving teacher, on which he had inscribed the words ‘Teacher’s Pet’. Full marks to that pupil for inventiveness!

How To Make a Clay Imprint

Ever wondered about the process involved in making our splendid clay imprints? If you’ve had clay imprints done at Crafty Monkey, or indeed anywhere else, then you’ll be aware that it can be up to four weeks before they’re ready for collection. Read our step by step guide to find out why!

 

STEP 1

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First of all, gather your equipment. For the first part of the process, you will need:

a. A happy baby

b. Clay

In fact, it’s not essential that the baby is happy, any baby will do. By the time we’ve pressed their little hand and feet into clay, we can quite often transform ‘happy baby’ into ‘utterly bewildered’ baby, but that’s just part and parcel of the imprint fun…

STEP 2

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Cut a lovely piece of earthenware clay with a wire cutter. It needs to be about 2cm thick and around 20cm squared, depending on the size of the child’s hands and feet. Roll it out beautifully, taking care to watch out for pesky air bubbles and general bits of fluff that may fly out of nowhere onto the clay.

STEP 3

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Hold baby in a peculiar ‘Superman’ type position and get those little hands and feet pushed into the clay, taking care to roll up sleeves and trouser legs beforehand. You need to press quite hard to get a decent imprint and although it may look like you’re torturing the poor child, it doesn’t hurt them as they’re being pushed into a soft surface (honest!)

STEP 4

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Check for any imperfections and smooth them out with a little water on your finger if required. Cut the clay into a shape. Most of our imprints are cut into a rectangle with rounded edges, but some people prefer a wavy or square shape. Use a sharp craft knife and finish by wetting your finger and running it around the edges to smooth down any bumpy bits. If the piece isn’t to be framed, then pop two holes in the top using the end of a paint brush so that it can be hung on the wall with ribbon or wire.

STEP 6

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Leave the clay to air dry on a flat surface for around 10-14 days. You can do other things during this time as it doesn’t need watching or petting, it just gets on with its own thing.

STEP 7

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When the clay has lightened and is completely dry, pop it carefully into a kiln and cook it!

STEP 8

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Anytime after it’s been removed from the kiln, it’s time to get on with painting it with pottery paint. This is the real fun bit and you wrestle with trying to get rid of brush strokes and get the colour even all over the prints! It’s a good idea to use two coats of watered down paint and then use a wet, very soft brush to get rid of any brush marks and even out the colour. Do this approximately a million times until it finally looks splendid. Decorate with a sponge border or whatever you require. Use a pottery paint pen to write the name and age and anything else you may want on there.

STEP 9

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Glaze the piece with specialist bisque glaze and pop back into the kiln for the second round of cooking!

STEP 10

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If the imprint is to be framed, then choose a lovely deep set box frame. Cut a piece of thick card and stick the imprint to it using specialist strong glue. When it’s dry, clean the glass of the frame and pop the imprint in and close the frame catches. It’s essential at this point that you undo the frame and do it back up again at least ten times owing to various bits of fluff and streaks on the inside of the glass.

STEP 11

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Pop your finished piece onto the wall, prepare to astound your visitors and lap up all the compliments about your amazing work of art!

See our blog post on clay imprints and plaster outprints.

 

For Daddy, With Love…

We’ve had some utterly scrummy Father’s Day gifts through the kiln over the last few weeks and they just keep on coming as every daddy loves a home made gift from their little ones!

One design that has been popular this year is our ‘Cookie Monster’ plate pictured below. They’re ever so easy to make in a few easy steps , and we can even do all of the work for you if you don’t fancy trying your hand at painting the biscuits (but this is quite easy and we can show you how). It’s amazing what you can do with a simple blue hand print! There are all sorts of things that you can turn hand and foot prints into and we can help you with ideas or you can browse at images on line and come armed with inspiration!P1060593.jpg

Some of the older children who wanted to paint their own pieces for dad have made some lovely items and beer tankards and over-sized mugs have been especially popular this year!

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There’s still plenty of time to book in and make something in time for Father’s Day, so call us if you want to make an appointment or have a chat about ideas on 01480 219222.

The Art of Noise!

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There are many occasions during the year that Crafty Monkey can get very lively indeed. Christmas would be the obvious period (which starts in September here!) and of course we have back to back parties most weekends, not to mention the school holidays. But some of our liveliest times happen to be when we have groups of mums booked in who have taken advantage of our on-going ‘free studio fee’ offer for six or more mums and tots.

More often that not, the babies are having a little shout and the toddlers are bouncing around enjoying the atmosphere while the mums have a good natter and a coffee. Sometimes one baby will start to cry and then the domino effect kicks in and the rest will join in and then it gets very loud! Occasionally,  the mums can get a bit worried that their babies are making too much noise, but we always tell them the same thing- we’re used to it and it doesn’t bother us one bit!

In fact, we can’t tell a lie and pretend that all babies are thrilled about us painting their little hands; some of them do like to put up a little fight but don’t worry we more than experienced in getting a good print while putting your little one at ease.
If you’d like to book in with at least five friends to save yourself some money, then why not book in to make something for Father’s Day? It’s a great way to socialise with your friends and their children while sorting out your Father’s Day presents in one fell swoop! Call us on 01480 219222 to book yourselves in before June 10th for collection before the big day…and don’t worry if you think your little one might wail…it’s all part of the fun!

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