Saturday, 27 February 2010

My Birthday... which was like, 12 days ago now!

I finally got round to celebrating my birthday Saturday, at flying saucers - which by the way is, "like totally the coolest place ever!" I haven't got any pictures as yet because they're all on my sisters camera but I do have a photo of what I made the last time I went;

and an article I wrote about it once on a website called Dooyoo;

"At a loose end of what to do on a Saturday afternoon, my boyfriend and I (well I did anyway) thought it would be fun to try this place, it's a bit different and I really enjoy doing creative activities. So I dragged him along and we both had a really enjoyable afternoon.

Flying saucer's are a pottery cafe - as the name implies, however there was no actual pottery to be done, rather a collection of ready casted 'pieces' for you to choose and then paint, at a table while you sip on a coffee and nibble a muffin.

Flying saucers really stress the point that there really is no creative ability required and it is for all ages from 0-100 so it really is for anyone. Babies can do prints of their hands or feet for a lovely keepsake and the pieces make excellent gifts.

How it works ~

As you walk in you are greeted by the friendly staff of which there was only one or two but it's a small place so thats all they really needed. We were asked 'Are you here to paint?', after answering that yes we were she ran through that there was a standard 'studio fee' of £5, or £4 for children on all items which covered the glazing and firing charges for your finished piece, she then directed us to a large shelving unit for us to choose a ready-to-paint cast, the choice was very good here are some of the things included.

Models of dinosaurs, fairies sitting on toadstools and other various animals (great for kids)
Money boxes and piggy banks
plant pots
plates, mugs and bowls
Many other household items such as handheld mirror and hairbrushes and even a pasta dish!

All the items were individually priced but the mugs started at £9 and other items went up to about £30 depending on intricacy and size. The average price though for medium sized items was about between about £10-15.

So anyway, back to our experience - I chose a mirror (the mirror piece gets stuck in after firing) and my boyfriend (who was at this point decidedly uninspired) chose a basic shaped and sized mug.

The woman then came back at sat us down at a table and gave us what can only be described as a 'roulette' of ceramic paints (all with a coin of ceramic glued to the top showing you what the finished fired and glazed colour will look like, half the coin with a single coat, the other half with several coats to show you the difference in colour.) In the middle of this roulette were various sizes of brushes of seemingly decent quality from pinpoint thin to spread-on-the-paint thick. She also gave us a testing plate and told us that we could rough out our design in pencil first as this would burn away during firing. She then pointed out that at the front desk were more tools such as stamps, versions of the paint for writing with and an array of pottery design books to give inspiration.

Food ~ Do have lunch or breakfast before you go as what's on offer are really only refreshment such as muffins, hot chocolate, tea and coffee and you will lose track of time as you immerse yourself in your creation before suddenly realising you're starving!

The finished pieces ~ So anyway, we got down to painting the things and were in there for at least two hours but it felt like half an hour. His mug was all different pinks spelling out the name 'BARBARA' as a present for his mum. Mine was a weird patterned fantasy land mirror with my name swirling across the top and funny designs such as ribbons and an eye (don't ask me why.) We had two cups of tea and were very proud of our results.

The end ~
Tired from our hard afternoons work and with stiff necks from looking down at our pieces in deep concentration. We told the lady we'd finished and were then asked to paint our initials on the pieces so they could be quickly identified when we picked up (I didn't need to as my mirror had my name painted across the top of it.) We paid and were told we could collect any time after leaving 48 hours for glazing and firing (although you can arrange for them to post it out to you if for example you are visiting the city and are really unable to pick it up). Well anyway we went back a week later on the following Saturday with our receipt to pick up our masterpieces. I was given the mirror insert for my mirror but had to glue it in myself when I got home and that was that. A great time had by all.

What else do they offer?~

According to their website they also have a branch at certain centre parcs. The shop is also available for children's parties (although this could work out quite expensive and I'm not sure if they offer discounts or not) and even office team-building events or business meetings with a difference! Flying saucers offers a special deal on a tuesday where children can paint 10% off and the accompanying adult gets a free coffee.

Opening times ~
The Bristol branch is open every day from 11 and shuts at 6 except on Sundays when it shuts an hour early - although from my experience if you're already in there finishing up a painting when it shuts they won't kick you out for the sake of an extra 10-15 minutes finishing up time.

All in all I was really happy with the finished piece I got out of the experience which is precious to me and I hope will last for a really long time. I am also really happy with the experience itself as I really enjoyed myself and so did my boyfriend- I think this would be a great thing to do as a first date! "

And on Suuuuuuuuuuuuunday, my amazing friend Adele gave me my birthday present which she'd made herself out of old charity shop plates and candle sticks and I lovelovelove the home-made and recycled nature of it. It's SOOO shabby chic and gorgeous - I cant stop looking at it!
It is technically a cake stand but I'm going to use it for jewellery!

And yes, as you may have spotted in the background... that is one of the beautiful mirrors I was raving about by Fiona Harron, John obviously picked up on my, not-so-subtle hints!
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