Let ’em Loose!

let em loose

It goes without saying that we see a lot of little artists here in Crafty Monkey. As soon as a child is able to hold a paintbrush, they are able to make their own pottery creations and that’s what many of them do.

Sometimes they are painting things for their own bedrooms, other times they are making gifts for grandparents or other relatives and it’s wonderful watching them put their heart and soul into their work (or sometimes slapping a few strokes of one colour on and then wondering off) and then admiring their work. They are always delighted when they collect their pieces a week later and they see the transformation as their item is all shiny and bright!

With this in mind, we’d like to extend our favourite piece of advice to you as parents…please let them create with as little assistance as possible! There have been many occasions where we have watched as mum or dad will paint over their white bits or tidy up parts that they think look untidy. It’s so refreshing for us when the children are allowed to create whatever they wish and really put their own personal mark on it; especially when making gifts. Think about it for a moment- when granny receives her plate which will be proudly displayed in the kitchen- does she want to see a work of art that her thirty year old daughter has painstakingly tidied up and painted over to perfection or would she prefer to own the pink and purple musings of her three year old granddaughter which she’s filled with her own character?

If you think that you will be tempted to interfere with your child’s creations- there’s a couple of ways you can deal with this. You can either paint a separate piece each (if you think they will get bored easily, get them a small pocket money piece to start with) or you can share one larger piece and let the child have their own designated section.

We hope to see you soon with your little budding artist in tow!

 

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Animal Crackers

animal crackers

We’re all fans of creatures great and small here at Crafty monkey (except mosquitoes- nobody wants to pet a mozzie). Many of our customers are like minded and our range of animal pottery is very popular. From the crazy cat lady (a self-awarded title, so she won’t be offended) to the little girl that has exhausted our entire horsey range- we have something for every animal lover.

Often people will come along looking for gifts for their friends; we can usually accommodate their requests for various creatures to paint up ready to sit on the shelf with the rest of their collection.

The lovely thing about our animal ornaments is that they can either be painted or decorated with foam clay, which is a lovely squishy material for younger customers to really have fun with!

We especially love the animal creations of the kids because they break the rules and make us smile every time. Currently, I’m looking at a display of animals ready to be picked up by their owners. These include a purple koala and a green horse with pink hair…and why not!

Another animal related offering that Crafty Monkey is famous for are our parties. We have a huge range of party animals for the children to choose from and our Build a Bear parties are a big winner every time!

Come and have a look around the studio and see what animal antics you can get involved with-  whether it’s paining a horse for your neigh-bour, having a hoot with an owl or monkeying around with, erm, a monkey; we’ll be pleased to see you!

The Colours of Summer.

The colour of Colour

Well, we’re somewhere in between spring and summer, but somebody really ought to try telling the weather that! Most of us have still got the heating on in the evenings and the factor 30 hasn’t yet been pulled out of the cabinet.

It’s entirely possible that the wonderful outdoorsy inspired pieces that have been painted recently are reflective of the fact that our customers are desperate to enjoy the delights of our green and pleasant land once again.

 Some wonderful pieces of artwork have been produced at Crafty Monkey, including beautiful sunsets, rolling fields and little feathered friends on branches. For those that don’t want to create their own scene- we have plenty of tiles and coasters that are already painted with an outline (so it’s a bit like colouring in with paint!) so people can create floral masterpieces or sunny beach scenes without having to craft their own outlines!

While there’s plenty to bring the outdoors in- we also offer the reverse! We have plant pots, gnomes and birdhouses. All crying out to be embellished with lashings of love and set out into the wild!

If it’s still cold and windy when you read this- why not come along and visit us and we’ll do our best to bring a little sunshine into your life!

Great gift for your Teachers!

teacher plate

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!

Its a Spring Thing…

spring time

I’m sure that we monkeys in the studio aren’t the only ones who have had a right old grumble about the harsh winter weather. There really have been some bitterly cold days and the winter seems to have lasted a terribly long time this year!

So, I’m sure you’ll join us in welcoming the arrival of spring time and embracing warmer days and bluer skies (maybe…)

At Crafty Monkey, we are more than ready to dash some colour into the new season as our shelves are lined with pieces of pottery that are perfect for celebrating the springtime! Last year, many of you snapped up figurines from our cute garden creatures range and our kiln was packed full of butterflies, bumble bees, ladybirds, snails and frogs (we left them an air hole), so with that in mind we’ve made sure that we have stocked up on plenty of larger than life critters! The arrival of Clay Foam last year meant that these little chaps were ultra-popular as children made a grab for the items that they could squish and squash lots of bright colours onto and take home the very same day.

But as these little garden creatures tend to cause a bit of chaos on the shelves when the shop closes each night, we have the bosses of the garden on the shelf above them, keeping a watchful eye; namely the gnomes! Last year we had a group of four sisters here who created a family of gnomes for their mum and dad’s wedding anniversary by painting a gnome each- a big Mr and Mrs Gnome and two little ones. Their folks were so pleased with the colourful additions to their garden that they came along to see what Crafty Monkey was all about for themselves and painted a pair of plant pots. They even had a go at decorating them with fingerprint creatures after we showed them how easy it was to create them.

Whatever spring related creative idea you may have, give us a call or pop by to find out what we have in stock as we have virtually everything you could want to give as a gift or to decorate your home or garden- from spring chicks to blooms on sticks, the goodies are piled high.

We look forward to seeing you in the new season…if only to duck out of the rain for a while…