Eastern Pottery Supplies – a developing craft supply business has opened an outlet at Stonham Barns Park retail village to bring a range of products to potters from the East of England as the number of creatives has markedly increased in the period following the pandemic.
Laura Mackley – who is relatively new to the world of pottery – has used her new found skills to bring together a range of pottery materials including clays – which can be kiln or oven baked, or air dried, glazes and tools – to fill a gap in the market.
After pursuing a career of working in insurance, Laura made the decision to turn a hobby into a business. She threw herself into pottery during lockdown after watching Pottery Throwdown and found out that it was the activity she loved. ‘It captivated me from the outset,’ Laura explains, ‘I had no idea that I would be so excited about the hobby but I just got hooked and joined a community of like-minded pottery enthusiasts in the region who make pieces for themselves and for others.’
The problem was there are very few pottery supply outlets around to buy from and it is important to speak to others when buying supplies so I thought I would start my own supply business! My husband Tim encouraged me to make the move and I am so happy that I have. It’s really such an interest that it doesn’t feel like work at all. I make pieces that are functional, decorative and even jewellery and I am looking to sell some of these items too.’
The new outlet will be a hub for potters from Suffolk, Norfolk and Essex to pick up supplies and discuss new materials, techniques and projects.
Since Laura took up the hobby, she has taken various pottery courses to learn the skill set needed – at Suffolk One in Ipswich – and added to this she has been involved in some creative events in the region including Art on the Prom in Felixstowe which is where she has recently moved to after living in Stowmarket with her husband and three dogs.
Laura’s sales are currently mostly to individual potters but she also supplies businesses too and from January she will be running classes covering subjects including Hand Building, Wheel Pottery, Air Dry Pottery and also running home-school sessions for young children. Among her new business clients are the Beehive Coffee Shop at Diss and Landguard Fort at Felixstowe.
Continues Laura, ‘My Dad was a graphic designer so I was used to being in a creative environment while growing up. I tried various arts and crafts pass times like drawing, painting, knitting and crochet, but pottery is definitely my thing!’
‘What potters do need is inspiration and communication with like-minded creatives. It’s not something that works well with online forums. It’s for this reason that I am looking forward to creating a shop or hub that works as a meeting place, as well as a shop that has all the materials that potters need. Not just a token few supplies.’
I am looking forward to making this work at Stonham Barns Park retail village which is a thriving community of business owners and visitors. It’s all very exciting for the months ahead.’
‘It’s the perfect Suffolk setting for creativity and I am looking forward to seeing where the idea takes me.’
To find out more visit: www.stonhambarns.co.uk/retail/retail-village/
Stonham Barns Park is a bustling family complex offering accommodation, attractions and activities based in the heart of Suffolk, UK. Activities at the leisure, retail and holiday venue include The Suffolk Owl Sanctuary, Café 24 Restaurant, Legends Sports Bar, The Golf Centre, The Teapot Pottery, holiday lodges, a caravan park, camping and glamping and fishing lakes.
Stonham Barns Park has been serving the community of Suffolk since it first opened in 1987 and is still as much a family destination as it was when it first opened, and it is now becoming a more prominent part of Suffolk tourism which is growing exponentially year on year. Stonham Barns Park itself welcomes many visitors from all over the UK – particularly from London, the South-East and from as far away as The North and Scotland.
Captions: Laura Mackley at the just-opened Eastern Pottery Supplies studio at Stonham Barns Park.