Mumbler, Jenny, went to capture a memory of her new daughters tiny hands at Rainbows Ceramics last week . See what she thought to it all here…
It was a real treat to finally be able to go out last week and we took the opportunity to visit Rainbows Ceramics on Bootham.
I visited with my 5 week old baby and my 2.5 year old daughter, along with my mother-in-law for an extra pair of hands.
On our entry to Rainbows we were shown to a table straight away. This is usually the case, but in busy periods you may have to wait a few minutes or pop back (they’ll tell you roughly when they expect to have space). Bookings are currently only taken for groups of 6+. We were provided a booster seat and an apron for my toddler which were both much appreciated. We were given a brief introduction and then we were sent off to choose our items to decorate.
There is a real variety of items available to decorate which start from £10; my daughter chose to paint an ornamental squirrel for Father’s Day (he’s going to be thrilled!); my mother in law painted a plant pot and I occupied myself with a tile with my baby’s footprints on, and a Christmas bauble along the same theme (I was very impressed that they had these available in May).
Once we had chosen our items to decorate, we were given a talk explaining all the information we needed to know, including the different painting techniques, how to practice and make things neat and what to do if we made a mistake (as a not particularly artistic person, I was relieved to be told that errors can be sorted by the staff). We were also shown about the changes in paint colour once an item is fired. This information is, as I rapidly discovered, important to explain to children as my toddler was initially a bit cross that the colours she was painting were all a bit pastel/dull compared to the ones she could see on the example wall.
There are lots of examples of beautifully painted products around for inspiration and also “stamps” that you can paint and then print onto your item for the less artistically minded of us. There are a couple of bits of painting that the staff will do for you; for example baby/toddler hand and foot prints. This was a huge relief as I had no idea how to get a squirmy baby to remain still enough to place his foot carefully onto a tile, let alone a bauble! They paint the baby’s hand/foot (depending on age/size) and then carefully place it so it prints onto your chosen item, before wiping the paint off the child with a wipe and then allowing you to decorate the rest of the item.
TOP TIP : If you have a young baby I’d recommend timing your visit to coincide with either a feed (if that leaves them chilled out afterwards) or so they’re ready for a nap so they allow you some hands free time to work on your artwork!
For a small fee (and depending upon how busy the staff are), they will also draw an outline/template on your item for you to paint over or even paint the more difficult aspects of your design. They do, however, encourage you to do your own painting as it adds to the experience.
I found it surprisingly relaxing to paint my items, with the quiet atmosphere and rare silence from my toddler and a napping baby it was easy to get lost in my artwork. All in all it was a very calm visit; be careful as you may want to spend longer there than you initially think, so consider that when paying for your car parking!
In terms of practicalities, there is access to a toilet and they also have a baby changing table in there. The shop is not huge but there is room for a few prams even with tables spread out to meet Covid restrictions; however I’d recommend using carriers where possible, especially if you go in a group.
Rainbows also offer the chance to purchase a selection of hot and cold drinks and a small range of snacks/treats while you paint. Once you have finished painting, you leave your items there to be glazed and fired and collect them a week later. Alternatively you can paint with acrylics and take your items home immediately – ideal for any visitors to the city.
Our Works of Art!
A week later I picked up our items which have now been glazed and fired and I’m thrilled with how good they look. My toddler is extremely proud of her squirrel and the finish on both the tile and the bauble is excellent- you can see every detail of my baby’s footprints and they will be treasured mementos for a lifetime.
Overall, our visit and the whole experience with Rainbows Ceramics was fantastic. It was an activity which was suitable for all ages and abilities and a surprisingly relaxing morning for me with a toddler and a newborn in tow. We will definitely be back!