Nestled in a former sandwich shop off Gloucester Road, Louise Ogden has created a beautiful pottery cafe that is a little corner of calm and creativity. Like all the best ideas, The Kiln Workshop was dreamt up at 4am and, whilst only a few weeks old, it’s is already proving to be popular with people of all ages.
We caught up with Louise to find out what inspired her to open up shop and what she has planned.
What was the idea behind starting the Kiln Workshop?
I left my career in events when I had my son five years ago and now that he’s settled in school, it felt like a good time to kick start a new project. I wanted to create a space that was a pleasure to be in for both kids and adults. Over the years I’ve dabbled in silversmithing, pottery, sewing and painting. My grandma was a tailoress and painter and I was always fascinated with her sewing box and oils. Creating is in the blood! The shop came up for rent and, after a 4am brainstorming session with Clare from Fox & Feather, I was off.
What can children and families look forward to?
Crumpets! There is no situation that can’t be improved with a crumpet! As well as this though I feel we’ve created a warm, welcoming, bright and airy space that will help people to get busy. We have a range of pottery shapes and some beautiful coloured glazes so all you need is a bit of imagination and you’re set. We then glaze and fire the piece in the kiln for you to collect and take home at a later date.
We also have a number of pop up events, workshops and children’s craft sessions in the pipeline – everything from leather working to wreath making. It’s a really flexible space that works equally well for evening social gatherings, which is an added bonus and happy accident.
Why do you think it’s important to get children interested in ceramics?
I feel that creativity and the arts are slowly being squeezed out of schools and children are possibly at risk of having little exposure to them. It’s a total joy to see a child (or adult!) focusing so intently on what they’re doing and it’s a great way for them to express themselves. The science behind the glazing and firing in the kiln seems to really fascinate kids and there’s also the obvious benefits of using fine motor skills, experimenting with materials and a boost of confidence when they see what they’ve achieved. I personally get a lot of satisfaction from seeing a family in here kicking back and focusing on something together. I love it!
Who is your personal art throb?
I love Terry Richardson, his work really appeals to the nosy parker in me!
What’s your favourite piece of public art in Bristol?
Since it went up I have loved the piece with the mother and child for See No Evil on Nelson Street by El Mac. Lushness!
If you haven’t been to a pottery cafe before, here’s the deal. You chose your piece of pottery from a great range of plates, mugs, teapots, planters, small animals and more. Prices range from £5-£23 and you then pay a studio fee of £4 on top to cover painting and firing costs. Once you’ve reached max zen and painted your piece, hand it over and it’ll be fired for you, ready to collect in a week.
I spent my student days working in a pottery cafe in Nottingham and, let me tell you, the calm that comes over you when you’re concentrating on painting a mug is ridiculous. I have witnessed parties of 8 year olds hopped up on coca cola morph into states of mind boggling calm and dads who insist they’re only there to watch quickly become engrossed in their doodles.
So, if you’re looking for some creative relaxation or a way to keep your little ones focussed for longer than an episode of Hey Duggee, pop along to this beautiful space and have a go.
Kiln Workshop is situated just off Gloucester Road on Overton Rd (up from the Hobgoblin pub). Drop in sessions Mon-Sat 10:00 – 17:00.
💥 BAM 💥