barefoot CERAMICS ™
- paint your own pottery

Barefoot Ceramics Limited
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Please note our Charles Street studio is closing. Phone 01633 26 28 30 or contact us online to make a booking or find out more.

Further Information

A ceramic cafe, what's that!?

pink piggy bank, commissioned, painted by Barefoot Ceramics

First things first, what do you do ...

Well a ceramic cafes is fun for all the family, young and old alike. We at Barefoot Ceramics provide an opportunity for you to create your own unique design on a piece of ceramic ware (there's a huge range to choose from).

The ceramics we use are called 'bisque' this simply means baked twice (it's from the Latin!), just like a biscuit. The ceramics have been fired once in a kiln ready for you to paint on a design. When you're done we add a clear protective glossy glaze by firing the bisque for the second time ... leaving you with a treasure that will last.

Frequently Asked Questions ... a few of those issues that come up again and again:

Last update: November 2014.

What is "bisque"?
Bisque means "baked twice", it's French (originally latin) and is from the same source as the word "biscuit" (biscuits are baked twice to make them crunchier). Freshly formed clay is called leatherware, it dries to become greenware, this is fired to make "bisque" ceramics. The bisque is decorated and glazed and fired again to produce the finished article.
Why are the paints all dull colours?
When the piece is fired chemical reactions occur that change the colour of the paints and make them brighter and more colourful, don't forget to use the colour guide to be certain what colour the paints will be after firing.
How long does it take to paint my design?
That depends ... for under 11's we find that it takes from half-to-one hour. For older customers it's generally 1 hour for basic items (mugs, smaller plates and bowls). For larger items like pitchers and platters you might need to make a few trips as you can expect to spend several hours finishing your masterpiece. We promise you won't get bored!
Why can't I take my piece (mug/plate/bowl/...) home the same day?
Usually we need to glaze and fire the pieces before they are ready to be used. Firing involves putting your piece in a kiln and heating it for several hours up to a final temperature of above 1000°C. The pieces have to be cooled then before they can be packaged for collection. At the very minimum this all takes 24 hours. Unfortunately, because we are busy it usually takes four to seven days to have a piece ready. So we suggest you collect your piece the following week. If you have an urgent need of a piece sooner - please speak to a member of staff.
When can I collect my pottery?
We do a 24 hour firing service (the pottery will still be hot when you get it back) for which there is an additional charge. Normally pottery is ready in 3 or 4 days; though it may be up to a week. We try to be accommodating if you need your pottery for a particular date. We now give a specific date for collection as we have been out with groups a lot (which usually means the studio is closed) and some people haven't been able to collect their pottery when they wanted to.
I'm useless at art - will you do it for me!?
Most people have some innate artistic ability. We prefer to encourage you to produce something of your own to be proud of ... we do take commissions however.
Can I put my pot in the dishwasher / microwave ?
You can, but ... the glazing process can leave tiny holes in the glaze on the bottom of your piece. Dishwashers use high temperatures and forceful jets of water. Eventually, maybe after decades, your piece will craze (see below) as damp gets into the piece and causes it to expand. The glaze is like glass and can't expand without cracking. Microwaves heat water particularly well and so can cause problems if your piece has got damp in it. Basically to treasure your mug (or whatever) and ensure it has a long life we recommend hand-washing it and not using it in a microwave.
What's crazing?
This is when moisture gets into tiny holes in the glaze and causes a piece to expand. Glaze is vitreous (glass-like) and can't expand, it gets covered in tiny cracks like crazy paving - this is crazing. All pieces that are in use are likely to craze after a number of decades.
Do you deliver?
We're happy to quote you to send your pottery/ceramics on by post when it has been fired. However, we prefer not to as none of the main carriers will insure pottery, posted items are sent at your own risk and unfortunately we can't be responsible for breakages. We also offer an express firing service (usually 24 hours) which may mean you can avoid paying for and risking delivery.
I'm disabled can I come and paint a pot?
Sure. Our studio is relatively good for wheelchair access, there is a small step coming in but we have a wide entry door and large toilet (but no grab handles yet I'm afraid). Some of our staff have limited BSL skills. We'll do our best to accommodate you, please book and mention any special assistance we can give when you do. In short we can't see any barrier to you coming and enjoying yourself - perhaps it would be easiest for you to book with a friend and make sure you read about how things work in our studio before you drop by.
Can I breastfeed my child in your studio?
We've always done our best to promote breastfeeding and have for some years been part of the Llaeth Mam "breast feeding welcome" scheme. We try to offer a drink and cushion if we notice you but if we fail in this then do holler at us and tell us what you need. A keen visitor to this site has noted that since the 2010 Equality Act came in to force it is illegal to stop a mother breastfeeding her child (unless there are extenuating circumstances such as a health and safety risk) - worth noting when you're out and about. Unfortunately the Act apparently only applies to children under 6 months. Of course we're happy to help warm bottles too but we do ask that if any of your group want to eat other food that you've brought with you that you could kindly ask first, thanks.
Do you have fairtrade tea and coffee?
Yes. All of our coffee, drinking chocoloate and tea is fairly traded. Most of our food and drink is organic too. Please see our ethical policy for more information.
Where's the pricelist?
There is some relevant price information on the website. As we don't have time to update the site regularly we don't have lots of price info - which could get stale easily. However, we're more than happy to answer enquiries by email or phone.
I'm looking for a Mooncup...
Yes, we know our site isn't the most easy to navigate! Try this Mooncup page, or go to the Mooncup website. If you're looking for other pages then there is a sitemap with all the pages listed by last update.

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firing your imagination ™