A MID Wales potter and his artist partner have opened a new studio and pottery school in Builth Wells as they aim to be part of a new, creative hub in the town.
Alex Allpress and Blue MacAskill have relocated the Alex Allpress Ceramic Studio & Pottery School to Church Street, next to St Mary’s Church in Builth Wells, from its previous home in Newbridge-on-Wye.
To celebrate the move, the couple are launching ‘Shades of Clay’, a Christmas exhibition of art, pottery and handmade ceramics from November 29 to December 5.
The exhibition will be open daily from 9am to 5pm by appointment and visitors will be able to buy Christmas gifts from Mid Wales, including vouchers for pottery lessons. There is parking available on-site.
“It has been a long process and we still have lots of work to do and ideas we want to develop,” said artist Blue. “We are so excited to move to such an inspiring location where we can bring all our energy and creative hub to a town which we started calling our home four years ago.
“It has been very difficult through COVID to establish the pottery and keep spirits up, but, hopefully, with the community behind us, we can plan for a bright future.
“We hope to expand the pottery, have a small gallery space and a sculpture and painting studio too. This Christmas, we are celebrating our new space with a ceramic show called ‘Shades of Clay’. All the ceramics are made on site from clay to glaze and kiln firings.
“We have stunning vessels, mugs, jugs and bowls for sale as well as vouchers that can be bought in person, online or by phone. Vouchers can be for pottery lessons or for buying ceramics.”
She and Alex thanked the community for its supported said local people had kept them going at a very difficult time.
“Some local people may have seen us volunteer at this summer’s Fun Day on The Groe,” added Blue. “What a wonderful experience that was and it was great to give people a free taster of what we have to offer.
“It was great working with the town council and we hope to be a part of events in Builth in the future.”
Alex and Blue are raising their young family in Builth Wells and they say it’s ’important for them and other young people to have many aspirational pathways to explore.
“So many new, creative, self-employed people have moved to Powys in lockdown,” revealed Blue. “Creative hubs, like the pottery school, and their success are so important to the vibrant future of Builth Wells and the cultivation of an exciting and creative hotspot for tourists.
“The building we have moved to was previously used by the community and the original primary school nearby as a gym too. Local residents have told us their stories of Bumps and Babies sessions, music and ballet classes and people who have worked on the hall and cleaned and repaired it over the years.
“When our beautiful kilns were installed, our local electrician, who had gone to school in Builth, remembered all his friends and PE classes. He said he loved working on the building as it brought back all the faces and voices from those school days and that is also what inspires us to carry on making important memories in such a treasured local landmark.
“These comments have reminded us just how important the building is to the whole community and that we do something important here.”
Alex Allpress Ceramic Studio & Pottery School is a member of MWT Cymru, an independent organisation that represents more than 600 tourism and hospitality businesses across Powys, Ceredigion and the Meirionnydd region of Gwynedd.