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Bud vases, buttons and tea lights in porcelain with Gwen Bainbridge - Textures in ceramics : a 'Quirky Workshop' at Greystoke Craft Garden & Barns near Penrith and Ullswater- Cumbria

Buttons, Bud Vases and Tea lights -Textures in Porcelain with Gwen BainbrIdge - a Quirky Workshop in the Lake District

About the Course

Covid19 update: offering over 100+ courses in Cumbria & the Lakes, we hope to resume all 'in person' courses in late July 2020. During lock down, we've upgraded a listed barn into a beautiful spacious workshop studio, enabling courses to take place with 2m distancing, hand washing and two staircases. It's possible usual catered lunches may not be included for summer courses, depending on circumstances at the time.

About the workshop:
Buttons. Bud Vases and Tea Lights - Textures in Ceramics with Gwen Bainbridge. This day is suitable for all abilities.

Much of Gwen's work is defined by the unique incorporation of textile pattern into her porcelain, making her work so unique and admired.

Gwen will start the day by introducing you to porcelain clay, a beautiful material to work with; you are able to make quite fine pots as a complete beginner. You will learn how to roll the clay to a use-able thickness, then roll lace patterns of your choice into the clay. Once leather hard you will construct a slab pot, which may be a vase, or tea light. These pots may then be further embellished with clay buttons or lace, all of which Gwen will skilfully show you how to do. A coloured slip may be added at this stage to show up the texture in the lace patterns. Scraps of embellished clay may be made into buttons or jewellery.

Your pieces can be detailed in white or a slip or lustre added to highlight the textures that you have incorporated. Adding a lustre might incur an extra firing charge.

If you have a particular piece of lace or textured fabric that you would like to incorporate into the vase then do bring it along, Gwen will advise if it is suitable for using, maybe you have a piece of lace from your wedding dress/veil you would like to immortalise in a vase. A lovely course for mother and daughter to come to together.

About Gwen Bainbridge: I see my work as a three-dimensional scrap-book coming from both memories of my childhood and from my response to the experiences brought about through research in books, rummaging through bric a brac, antique fairs, old photographs and magazines. I’m always on the lookout for items that I might use in my work, both for inspiration and for direct practical use. I’m drawn to decorative items. Even as a child I had favourite buttons from my mum’s button box that I played with. There were some beautiful green glass dishes that were brought out for parties and the best china laid out when the minister was coming for tea. These are very strong memories for me. But alongside this finery there was the informal, natural world of my surroundings living on a rural farm in Cumbria. The hedgerows where we found birds nests with the treasured little eggs of wild birds, which we watched until they hatched and finally fledged.

I find that nature itself seems too perfect to try to reproduce. I tend to explore the work of craftsmen of the past who themselves might have been first inspired by the natural world. I appreciate the finery of the costumes of bygone eras, and the distinctive qualities of their production. The more limited and yet still lavish colour palette of Elizabethan times, the retro styles of the 1950s and 60s. It’s quite an eclectic cocktail of inspiration stored in my mind and continually re-visited.

If you will be redeeming a CraftCourses gift voucher on this course, the voucher code must be provided at the point of booking.

What's included in the price?

Welcome drinks : fresh coffee & home made biscuits, a lovely 2 course Aga lunch served in our farmhouse kitchen or outside in the Tea Garden as soon as it's warm enough. To finish off the day, a freshly made Cream Tea (including Aga-baked scones, cream and jam).

Our days are considered special treats; many come back time and time again and often combine it with a short break to the Lake District.

We have been hosting and organising 'Quirky Workshops' since 2005 from our friendly family run Tea Garden on the northern fringes of the Lake District. All our tutors are carefully hand selected experts and professionals and many considered as leading nationally in their field.

There will be an additional cost for materials used (including both clay and 2 firings of the clay) of £10, payable to the tutor on the day. You should be able to make at least 2 vases and 2 tea lights in a day and use the remaining clay to make some small delicate decorations

The vases can be posted to you if you are not local, at an additional charge of £10, or if you prefer you can collect from Greystoke Cycle Cafe.


Annie Swarbrick at Quirky Workshops at Greystoke Craft Garden and Barns
Greystoke Craft Garden
CA11 0UT
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Suitable for

  • Accommodation offered
  • Adults
  • Intermediate level
  • Romantic
  • Seniors
  • Suitable for beginners
  • Teenagers

Available as a gift

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1 day (9:30am to 4:00pm)

Available dates:


In-person course
- - #11710

Arranged for me as a present - absolutely brilliant day. Would highly recommend.

In-person course
- - #11709

I love Gwen's workshops. Instructions & demonstrations are clear, help always available and all joined together with humor and then I go home feeling a sense of achievement.

In-person course
- - #11708

Today I went home feeling very creative and well fed !

In-person course
- - #11707

Really clear instructions. Great day.

In-person course
- - #11706

Brilliant day. Gwen was a really great instructor throughout the day!

In-person course
- - #11705

Excellent Day. Interesting & very satisfying to make such pretty things.

In-person course
- - #6337

I had a wonderful day at the Quirky Workshop. I'd never worked with porcelain before but Gwen explained everything really well, was very helpful when I struggled with delicate pieces. I managed to produce four items, plus a few trinkets, which I'm very proud of! The venue was a very relaxing place to be, food was excellent and kept me going. I'd recommend this course to anyone, and a voucher for a Quirky Workshop is on my Christmas wish list!

In-person course
- - #6164

This course was a retirement gift to push me outside my comfort zone- I have never been known for any artistic ability! I had heard so many glowing reports about Quirky Workshops. Gwen was a legend, patient, reassuring, completely understanding about my need to have everything explained several times! Other course members had some artistic skills and we were all able to produce finished articles at our own level. I loved the different techniques we learnt for creating patterns on porcelain- I had only previously used clay at school. My husband was amazed to see what I had produced.
We were also well looked after with tea, biscuits and lunch, a real treat. I would recommend anyone to have a go at a Quirky Workshop whether you are experienced or not.

In-person course
- - #6162

I LOVE this workshop! I have worked in Art & Design all my life, but with very limited experience of ceramics. Gwen is an excellent and patient tutor, who has been able to help my naturally clumsy self to develop some skill in working with porcelain (I need a lot more experience though!)
Greystoke Cycle Cafe is a lovely venue - and the refreshments provided throughout the day are wonderful. I would highly recommend both Gwen's workshop and Quirky Workshops at Greystoke to anyone interested in Arts and Crafts

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