I’ve known about Cheshire Craft Workshop for years but despite being a crafty person, I’ve never actually been. However, a few months ago, I was fortunate enough to win some vouchers which meant I had to take a trip and it seemed like a fun day out for E and myself!
The workshop is based at Blakemere Village, near to Northwich in Cheshire. The village has a number of warehouse/barn type buildings housing different retail outlets -various little gift shops selling homemade crafts, such as cards and jewellery, garden accessories, baby clothing, vintagewear, film memorabilia – it’s all a bit random really. There’s also a restaurant, tearoom, children’s playbarn, falconry centre, segway track, mini golf, an outdoor playground and a miniature railway that runs at the weekend.
Let sleeping dogs lie
The workshop itself is set near to the back of the centre – I went during the week, quite early in the morning and the place was pretty deserted. When I went to the door of the workshop I wasn’t even sure whether it was open (I drove 20 odd miles without booking so it would have been pretty annoying if it was shut) but thankfully it was! I opened the door and headed to the counter, when a MASSIVE alsation came out of the back, heading towards us and barking!
Those who know me well understand my fear of dogs (big and small) so to be confronted by this, in an empty warehouse, well and truly freaked me out. I gasped loudly and turned the buggy away from the dog, instinctively protecting E, whilst I fully expected to be mauled by this beast of a dog. Thankfully I heard a friendly voice, calling the dog back and that was when I noticed that it was actually behind a baby gate anyway. I tried to act all nonchalant after that, like it hadn’t bothered me, but it wasn’t the start to the morning I wanted! The dog is was really very lovely, and is a big softy, so thankfully the rest of the morning only got better!
What is involved?
Firstly you choose your activity – mainly its painting a piece of ceramic, however I think if you have pre-booked there is a potters wheel, clay imprinting and candle making. For the painting, you choose your piece of ceramic – there’s loads to choose from including plates, cups, money boxes, frames, plant pots etc. Average cost seems to be around £15-20 per piece, although there were smaller items which were cheaper such as coasters.
I chose a moneybox (for us) and a plant pot (for E’s Granny and Grandad) which came to a total of £30 (paid for with my vouchers).
Once you’ve paid for the items at the counter (and arranged a time when you are able to pick them up), you are free to paint them as you see fit! The fun part!
You’re given a table on which there is a selection of paints in all sorts of colours (including some glitter paints) – they’re all non-toxic and suitable from birth, so I wasn’t overly disturbed when E tried to eat them (it was inevitable!). There’s also the brushes, a pot of water, a sponge (for mistakes!) and tissue to clean up with. Everyone is provided with an apron – in kids sizes too. Erika had to sit in a highchair of course, which didn’t bode well in regards to thinking that the paint was for eating, but we managed to keep ingestion to a minimum. The clean brushes were tasty too apparently, but at least this kept her entertained while I created the finer details on our creations. Well I say finer…. what I really mean is a few random splodges here and there!
The main thing I wanted to do was to capture E’s handprints in paint – I’ve really only ever managed to capture her footprints at home, handprints have usually ended up on her face, my face, the floor, the sofa – anywhere except the piece of card that they’re supposed to!
I was glad to be told that the paint will wipe off with a wet sponge if we were to go wrong, but it appears that all the stars had aligned right at that moment and we managed to capture 8 perfect handprints with ease! E seemed to finally understand the concept of having her hand-painted and then pressing it down flat onto a surface. There was the odd moment she tried to lick it, but we managed it all the same – I was impressed and I think the lady who worked there was too!
Then I had to free reign to decorate the rest of it – however that’s where my imagination decided to get up and leave! Some nice words for the grandparents, a few splodges later and we were pretty much done.
With hindsight, I wish I’d thought about a design before arriving – although I’d had the vouchers for a while, the decision to go was actually a spur of the moment thing so perhaps i’d woken up on the non-inspirational side of the bed that morning! We shall wait and see what the finished results look like. (I’m going back at the weekend to pick them up after glazing and firing – I may or may not post the finished product!)
I really enjoyed the craft workshop – despite my terrifying encounter with the jaws of death (just kidding!) – and would absolutely love to go back. I think E enjoyed it – she probably loved the experience of being able to get messy with Mummy, without me being overly OCD about getting paint on the furniture! It’s definitely a place I’d love to take her to when she’s that little bit older and understands the concept of painting with a brush as opposed to eating one. I think as a kids party idea it’s brilliant – messy but brilliant.
They do adults parties too, and I’ve just found out that they do late night specials once a month where you can take your own food and alcohol – now that I would love to do, although I’m not sure what the results would be after a bottle or two of wine! I’m definitely going to mention it to the girls and see if they fancy trying it though! Without a baby in tow, I reckon my creative juices would flow more easily and I can finally create my masterpiece. Or a few more drunken splodges. Whatever….