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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Spring brings new life

 

Lots going on at Crafty Monkey at the moment, not only is it Easter Holidays – Yipee!  (We love a busy studio and seeing all our lovely customers and meeting new one’s) – but we have a couple of fabulous new members on the team who have been picking up the ropes and have brought with them buckets full of creative and arty talents! We do have other new developments too – we have finally pulled our fingers out and started an Etsy shop, it’s early days and we’ve only added a few things at the moment but we’ll be adding new things all the time so please do visit again.  Also we will shortly be introducing a whole new line of items – I can’t tell you just yet what they are but we have been getting crafty and creative and are pretty excited so watch this space!

We’ve also been freshening up a few of our social media headers – well at the moment we’ve just done the Facebook Page one, let us know what you think!

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But that’s not all, we are finally, after so many of you have requested it, going to bring back art and craft workshops for kids and also for adults so keep your eyes peeled for these. The workshops will cover all sorts of arts and crafts.  Probably the best way to find out about these is to like us on Facebook and subscribe to our mailing list (look to your top right and you should see the subscribe box to pop your email into). If you have any ideas of workshops you would like us to put on then please do not hesitate to let us know.

Right, we better head off as lots to do but will be in touch with exciting new developments soon so stay tuned!

 

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…