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  • Hedgerow vase workshops

    Make your own botanical porcelain vase. 2 hour session This workshop is absolutely perfect for beginners and guidance will be given throughout the workshop. 🌿🌿🌿🌿🌿🌿🌿🌿🌿🌿 The workshops will be held at: Sparrows Nest Ceramics Home Studio Treskerby Redruth You will make a slab porcelain (white clay) vase with imprinted flowers and hedgerow finds, you will then apply oxide (blue or green). After the workshop I shall take your vase back to my studio where it will be fired, and transparent glaze applied inside your vase should you wish for it to be able to hold water, it will then receive a second firing. Your vases will be available for collection from my studio or arrangements can be made to post at an additional cost. The cost of the session is £45. A deposit of £20 is due at time of booking and remaining balance due on the day. To book please email Carafitzmaurice@icloud.com Or call 07772492544 PM on Instagram @sparrows_nest_ceramics Or Message on FB

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Blog Posts (4)

  • Why is handmade so expensive?

    Knowing my worth and reflections on a challenging first two years We spend money everyday on things and often don't really consider the cost. I thought I would share some perspective with the everyday items below, which of course can and do differ depending on where you buy them. Eating out curry for two - £60 Large portion of Fish and Chips - £8 Parking for two hours in an average town - £5 Fancy coffee oh and don't forget the flapjack - £7 Hair - wet cut - £26 Kitchen roll pack of 2 - £3.50 Strawberries - £3 One of the hardest challenges I faced when becoming a maker was knowing what to charge for my items. Items that I had spent days designing and weeks making. Having left nursing to follow my dream I needed to make a good enough income in order to have any chance of making this way of living sustainable. But I lacked the confidence in doing this, bizarrely sometimes even feeling guilty for people paying me, I also hadn't considered many of the hidden costs in running a small creative business. Obviously, when any new business starts out there are the set up and ongoing fees for website, online shop, marketing, business insurance and public liability, tools, materials for making, branding, materials for packing and shipping, machinery, servicing, repairs, electricity, gas, payment charges, and training to name a few. I once heard a tutor at college say, you'll never find a rich potter...at the time I thought this to be dismissive and thought actually with the right approach and business sense anything is possible. But has my viewed changed? I'm now 18 months into my pottery business, its been challenging with a pandemic being declared ( 2 months after setting up). The repercussions of Brexit (I have lost a lot of EU custom due to increases in shipping and VAT charges as well as delays in customs). The USA has always been good for business but small parcel shipping has increased 50% with the cheapest parcel costing £25 to send. Some materials have been hard to source in a timely and cost effective way, with cost increases in some of my glazes, delays in receiving my orders. A current worry is the increase in electricity prices, potentially increasing by 60% per ceramic firing (all of my work has two firings, some three, each firing lasts typically 12 hours), thats a lot of electricity. Trade orders kept me busy, more than busy at times, often not having a day off in a week, but that kept the wolves from the door, its been a great way to gain experience and get my work out there and get notice, so I'm grateful for that. Some days even at times weeks have gone by with no sales on my website or through selling platforms. its reassuring to hear from other creatives I have connected with that this is all very normal especially in the first year or so, that consumer spending changes all the time and you need to ride those waves and keep making and preparing for busier times. It’s knowing you customers too, if I have a run of wet and stormy days my sales go up, if it’s sunny then to be honest I’m best off heading out and enjoying that sunshine too! It’s been hard to adjust to fluctuating income when for my career to date I have had set monthly salaries. But, once I got my head around that it’s been easy to work with. At times I have felt paralysed by fear, there have been many tears, what if I couldn't make this happen? But I kept on confidently as possible moving in the direction I wanted to go. When deciding on pricing I admit I got it wrong, at times I think I barely made a profit, if at all. I would often resort to google and see what other similar items where costing. This is not always useful, as many well know pottery business aren't small batch, they are made in huge warehouses and factories but the brand presents as a small country business and thus customers are likely to compare. They are able to market well, package well, provide customers with good deals and offer sales regularly. On the other hand you have items marketed as designed in the UK, but are in fact made out of the UK and are cheaply produced in countries such as China. To the average consumer these differences are not always glaringly obvious. As an independent artisan, I am doing everything from dreaming up the concept; testing, making, sanding, firing, glazing, lustre firing, photography, listing the products on website/selling platforms, packing, posting, building community, social media posts, customer service, ordering supplies, accounts the list goes on. I have learnt that this is my unique selling point. Me. People buy from people, I have built a beautiful warm community on social media and through word and mouth and I am forever grateful to my community. To each and everyone of them, some are customers and some potential customers and some are cheerleaders, they support my posts, comment and share my work to boost my online presence and for that there is no price. Thank you. So, now my pricing reflects a more realistic cost of making unique small batch products, as well as all the overheads I it reflects the time, the skill and passion bout into the brand. I love making items to order, when I make to order I can create with intention for that person. I feel it connects me to the recipient and them to me through the finished piece. For a large handmade mug its roughly the equivalent of a quick wet cut at the hairdressers maybe even with a tiny punnet of berries to nibble on the way home (unless you shop in Waitrose!), and in return you get an artisan handmade mug that will bring you much comfort and joy. I hope in time to share my learning with other makers, I hope to share this through my blogs, share my lessons learnt both good and bad and share more details on setting up and running a small creative business as well as my plans moving forward. So do sign up to my newsletters/ follow me on Instagram to hear of future blogs and for small business support/community. So is handmade really that expensive? I’m not so sure. In a world of mindless excess, lovingly considered handmade pieces not only bring joy but also function. You know where your piece is made and by whom, meaning you are connected to your piece often before it’s even made. The carbon footprint is often lower too (I will share more about how I consider this in the studio and business in another blog). So have I changed my view on my tutors comment that you'll never find a rich potter? Well, no I haven't, but I have also changed my view on what a rich potter is, for me personally if i can wake knowing I'm free to live the creative life I have dreamed of and have food on the table, a roof over my head, access to nature, good health and family and friends then I am rich beyond my dreams. So yes, it is possible to be a rich potter. Thank you for reading, Cara

  • Welcoming Autumn - preparing for the festive season

    Our pottery studio doors open onto the garden, the leaves have started to turn, each day the evenings seem to be drawing in earlier. Our busy season is creeping up on us as we prepare for Christmas and the festive season. Autumn is definitely one of my favourite seasons with Spring close at its heels. With both of these seasons my heart is filled with hope, an opportunity for new starts and growth. Autumns Earthy warm palette of rusty harvested apples, bundles of cut golden wheat, freshly dug mustard yellow squashes and copper Beech leaves makes my heart sing. I love woodland walks especially the smell of the woodland floor as you crunch over the fallen leaves, the fresh crisp air leaving a healthy glow on your cheeks. Once home you light the log burner, and a candle and pour a cup of tea and snuggle up in your favourite chair. As a maker autumn is typically a busy time as I prepare for the Christmas period. Wholesale orders for shops have started dropping in. Organised customers have already started on their Christmas shopping, spreading the cost and allowing time for their made to order pieces. In the studio we are attempting to build some stock of our popular items such as mugs and wax burners. We have been running our business now for 18 months, last Christmas we purely made to order, due to not being in the position to have stock in place ahead of the season. It went well, but was extremely busy and the last couple of weeks before Christmas were so stressful as if you know anything about the ceramic process you will know that it can be a challenging process! Most things take us 2-3 weeks depending of what we have waiting to make, the process of ceramics is a lengthy one without much wiggle room for rushing through orders. Everything we make in our studio is made by forming the clay in our hands and shaping it, nothing is made with the wheel or slip cast, so everything is very much a unique piece, making it all that much more special. You can hear about our shop updates and get access to VIP discounts including a 10% discount in your first order by signing up to our newsletters and following us on Instagram or Facebook This year we hope to reduce the festive stress even if just a bit! We plan to have at least a day off a week, when you are doing a job you love and have the orders there waiting its hard to step away, but this year we are going to. We also plan to adjust our working hours slightly so we go for a dog walk in daylight and work later instead. It's so important for me to be with nature, to slow down, to notice the changes around me, to practice gratitude and being outside helps so much with that. We mostly start and finish the day with meditation and we are determined that when its gets busy we prioritise this as starting and finishing the day well helps with maintaining our strength and longevity in creativity. We love cooking and cook from scratch most days, we enjoy doing this together, but when its gets so busy it can be easy to not eat well and that in turn makes you feel run down. So we are going to go to the local farmers market to collect our vegetables and batch cook our stews, soups and sauces to make evening meals more convenient once we are in from the studio. We are gradually adding pieces to our website shop and have many items in stock or available as made to order. We will be adding new lines in addition to our current lines including our popular Winters Night Starry Mug. As well as on our website shop you can also shop with us online at Etsy and Not On The High Street. In store at The St. Ives Company, St Ives, Cornwall. Pebble & Salt, Fowey, Cornwall. Artyzan, Redruth, Cornwall.

  • Ideas For Handmade Christmas Gifts

    I love the feeling when someone gives me a gift that is handmade, I know then they saw the item and straight away thought of me, handmade allows me to connect with the maker and the process through the item. I also know that I am not the only one benefitting from this gift; that the maker and their family are too. The joy I feel is the same joy the maker feels when they sell the item. As a maker myself I still get so excited when I make a sale. I still refer to my orders as presents when I wrap them to go on their way! It's just the excitement and the love that has gone into each item and can't wait to share that feeling with someone else. I thought I would share with you some of my current favourite makers and also share some of my Christmas range with you. www.sparrowsnestceramics.com https://www.instagram.com/sparrows_nest_ceramics/ Of Land and Sea Handmade recycled silver jewellery. Inspired by nature, lore and life in the Southwest of England https://www.instagram.com/oflandandseastudio/ www.oflandandsea.com Helen Round Designs Hand printed linen products, Cornwall. https://www.instagram.com/helenrounddesigns/ www.helenround.com Lou Tonkin Artist Print-maker, Cornwall https://www.instagram.com/loutonkin/ www.loutonkin.com Kettle and Birch Hand-bound Journals and Books, London https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/KETTLEandBIRCH Old Green Furnishings Handmade Candles poured into repurposed glass bottles, South West England. www.oldgreen.co.uk The Whispering Wild Sculptor, illustrator, writer, Fairytale Maker www.thewhisperingwild.co.uk Hope you appreciate the talent of the makers I have shared, some of the products are just so beautiful. I have loved preparing my Christmas range this year. I hope you enjoy them as much too. Hand formed ceramics, Cornwall. Christmas range includes luxury mug, tea light holder, candle holders, match striker/holder, tree decorations, and other seasonal pieces. https://www.instagram.com/sparrows_nest_ceramics/ www.sparrowsnestceramics.com

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  • Workshops | Sparrows Nest Ceramics

    Workshops 2022 will see some changes due to prioritising renovating and a move to our new studio barn, I will not be holding my beginners 6 week courses for the foreseeable future, but stayed tuned as this may change. I will also be introducing several new experience sessions, once we are in our new studio. For those with vouchers for workshops we look forward to welcoming you, please make contact to arrange a date. 2021 Workshops ​ Hedgerow Vase Workshop: Make your own botanical porcelain vase. These workshops are absolutely perfect for beginners and guidance will be given throughout the workshop. The workshop lasts approx 2 hours. The workshops will be held at: Sparrows Nest Studio in Treskerby, Redruth (Directions will be given on booking). You will make a slab porcelain (white clay) vase with imprinted flowers and hedgerow finds, you will then apply oxide (blue or green). After the workshop I shall dry your pieces and they will undergo two firings and transparent glaze applied inside your vase should you wish for it to be able to hold water. I will message you once your vase is ready for collection or if you prefer to pay for delivery that can be arranged. The cost of the session is £45. A non-refundable deposit of £20 is due at time of booking in order to secure your place and allow for ordering of your materials and remaining balance due on the day. ​ Sign up to my newsletters to ensure you hear of new dates in 2022/2023. To book a session please message through contacts or email Carafitzmaurice@icloud.com Or PM on Instagram or Facebook ‘Had a brilliant time, so much fun, can’t wait to come back and do another workshop’ ​ ‘I didn’t think I was creative, I can’t believe it, my family think my vase is amazing too’ ​ ‘We had an amazing time, so relaxing and although I thought our vases would look good, they are just WOW!’

  • Pottery Courses | Sparrows Nest Ceramics

    Handbuilding Pottery Course Purchase Course ABSOLUTE BEGINNERS - 6 weeks pottery hand building course. ​ ‘I enjoyed the hedgerow vase workshop so much that I signed up for a 6 week hand building beginners course. Its allowed me to express my ideas’ ​ ‘Cara was so supportive, enthusiastic, a calm and inspirational tutor, she helped me feel confident about my pieces, I don’t feel I’m creative but Cara has helped me realise I am’ ​ ‘I enjoyed the calmness of the workshop, so laid back its a great environment to learn new skills, I intend to start another course’ ​ By providing the learning in a home studio environment I create a relaxed and informal approach to learning and exploring your creativity. ​ All my classes are purely for hand building, using techniques such as coiling, pinching, slab and moulds. Over 6 weeks you will learn the basic skills from making, decorating to firing. You will leave the course with some lovely creations handmade by you and a new set of skills. ​ You can purchase a set of 6 weeks from my web shop, or arrangements can be made to pay in instalments. Please make contact to discuss a suitable days/time for your sessions. A 25% non refundable deposit will be required at booking in order to secure your place and order supplies in materials in for you. The courses are held in Treskerby, Redruth Cornwall. Continuing your learning: Many students will continue to with a further 6 week course to build on the skills they have developed, other will want to dip in and out of workshops/course sessions. Stay in touch will upcoming events through my newsletters. ​ ​ Studio Student Course Work In Progress Peaceful, Calm Space Beautiful Hare Sculpture made by a beginner Studio Student Course Work In Progress 1/13 Student Course Work In Progress Adding Leaf Detail to Hand Built Bowl COUPLES SESSION / PRIVATE SESSIONS Please contact to discuss further RAKU EXPERIENCE I will also be hosting several Raku experiences. This will run over two days (approx a week apart to allow for first firing).

  • Trade | Sparrows Nest Ceramics

    I am inspired by the beauty of the natural world around me, I take my inspiration from places such as the hedgerow, the woodland and coastal paths in Cornwall. ​ I provide small batch items, with no minimum amount for each product on your order. I recognise each customers need is different and happy to accommodate your business needs. Trade list provided upon request by email. If you have seen something on my social media or website you are interested in then a screen shot or link is helpful. ​ All my pieces are loving hand built using slab, coiling and moulding techniques. No two pieces are the same; I love how hand build pieces connect you to the process and the maker. ​ I am happy to discuss any ideas you may have as a business for a product or adding stamps or logos to the pieces to make them your own. ​ If you wish for me to design and create an exclusive design for your company such commissioned pieces will start from a £50 up front payment to cover initial design and making as well as purchasing any test materials such as glazes and other resources. I provide a free half an hour consultation to discuss your needs, contact to arrange. ​ Please do note that prices do not include postage which will be added to your order. For bespoke orders a non refundable deposit of 50% of total cost is to be made at time of placing the order. For all other orders a deposit maybe requested and all payments to be made prior to collection/ delivery. ​ Please email for my current small batch trade list. ​ Thank you for supporting independent artisans ​ Cara carafitzmaurice@icloud.com

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