Get All Fired Up

Now the nights are drawing in, the weather is getting colder, and winter is upon us, it’s time to start looking for cosy indoor activities to enjoy until the sun comes out again. So….if you mentioned ‘Pottery Painting’ to me 10 years ago I would have sneered at you. Sorry, that’s rude of me isn’t it?! I would have gleefully told you that pottery painting is an activity offered in care homes or in a primary school art class and that’s where it should stay. Come to think of it, probably only the posh primary schools where you know the ceramics won’t get broken, I was given a white paper plate to paint which says a lot about me. However, over the last few years painting ceramics has become a very ‘chic’ thing to do and its appeal has widened greatly to all ages, from families to hen parties.

I was still skeptical when invited to paint a mug at my best friends hen party, however after a glass (or three) of champagne and a slice of cake I was thoroughly engrossed in getting the petals of the flowers on my mug all the same size. In case you were wondering, the champagne ensured that I didn’t, however I think it looks all the better for it!

So what better place to take a friend for her 30th birthday day out with me than ‘All Fired Up’ in Bournemouth square. Open 7 days a week (and late until 10pm on Thursdays), All Fired Up is a ceramics cafe serving up a selection of Italian coffee and teas, cold drinks and home made cakes to enjoy whilst you paint your masterpiece.

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As soon as we arrived, a friendly member of staff showed us to our table, set us up with some paints and showed us where we could choose what to paint. There is a huge range of objects to paint including plates, mugs, bowls, ornaments and trinket boxes, all of which could make the perfect home-made gift depending on how good an artist you are and how understanding your recipient is!

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I chose a heart shaped plate, bought a drink and some pringles and settled down to work. Most of all, I found this a great way to spend quality time with my friend who I hadn’t seen for a while. We spent a couple of hours chatting whilst painting and I truly felt the rest of the world melt away and lost track of time. I’ve always found art very relaxing and therapeutic despite the fact I cannot draw for toffee. But you don’t need to here, make patterns, draw child like hearts, just cover the thing in some colourful stripes! It’s meant to look home-made, it’s meant to have a bit of ‘you’ in it. Though I have to say there were a few silent seconds of intense concentration as we tried to make our dots line up. You could have cut the tensionthe slight with a paintbrush.

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It was also great to see some examples of what other people had done (useful when in need of some design information!). It was evident from the displays that All Fired Up cater for many different occasions including kids parties, hen parties and school visits. They also offer a range of ‘First Footprints’ keepsakes, taking prints of your baby’s feet and/or hands – the perfect momento for family and friends.

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And if your artistic skills aren’t quite up to scratch for a special occasion the staff will do the professional writing on personalised gifts to save Auntie Nora receiving a misspelt birthday mug. Or even better, if it’s a REALLY special occasion they can create a beautiful bespoke design for you, which I’m sure people pass off as their own.

To be honest I prefer the slightly wonky home-made look, it adds a bit more character. I’m actually pretty happy with how my design came out – what do you think?

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