CUP Ceramics Community open-access studio

by CUP Ceramics Community in Hereford, England, United Kingdom

We did it
On 22nd June 2018 we successfully raised £11,235 with 91 supporters in 56 days

An open-access ceramics studio providing excellent facilities and mentoring for an affordable monthly fee to the Herefordshire community!

by CUP Ceramics Community in Hereford, England, United Kingdom

New stretch target

Anything over our target will enable us to begin to bring positive social change within our communities by securing links and funding to provide access to making ceramics for hard to reach individuals in the local area. The extra funding will pay for planning and provision of spotlight sessions and trained ceramicists to bring therapeutic and creative benefits to disadvantaged young people, victims of domestic abuse and sufferers of post traumatic stress disorder. It will also make a more convincing case for the next stage of investment to open the doors to the public.

When will we open the doors to members?

We will open our doors in Autumn/Winter 2018 if enough people sign up for membership and courses to secure the funding we need. We are pre-selling our first round of courses and first month's limited membership places at early bird prices so be sure to secure yours by pledging now! And if you are not sure about when you will be able to commit your time from and you want to secure your place now, you can, because you can start your membership anytime within the first 12 months!

What does a CUP membership include? 

Membership includes up to 12 hours a week open studio with guidance of our on site mentor, use of facilities and tools, regular, structured kiln firings of standard temperature and your own large storage shelf. You will need to buy clay and glaze, but we will sell this on site at bulk prices. To start as a member you must have completed a course in pottery recently and be able to prove this and all members will need to complete a CUP induction course . BUT, if you are a complete novice, don't be put off! We would just encourage you to take one of our beginners/introduction to clay courses and go from there.

What facilities will there be?

CUP will provide access to a spacious studio housing several hand building tables, 10 throwing wheels, slab roller, Pug mill, glaze room with booth and spray gun, set temperature regular kiln firing, standard tool kits and advice from our mentors (and hopefully a plaster work area!). Clay and glaze will be provided at bulk prices and kilns can be rented for high firing. Of course, as a community, members can co-operate to make extra purchases or renting cheaper for each individual member. 

Why pledge for membership now?

By pledging now, you not only become part of the vital founding membership, it's cheaper as well! We have a flexible price structure to meet the varying needs of our members and amazing first come, first served offers! A pledge at the £50 level will gain you your first month's membership with the rest of your contract commitment at these early bird rates!  To see the saving you'll make by pledging now look to the rewards on the right hand side of the page.  These prices will only be available during the 8 week Crowdfunder campaign AND THEY ARE VERY LIMITED. 

Pricing structure from July 2018...

MAIN TIER MEMBERSHIP (up to 12hrs open studio time per week):

The first month is just £50 when you sign up to any of our contracts. Our 3 month contract is just £75 per month, our 6 month contract is just £70 per month and our 12 month contract is just £65 per month. We also have the option of buying membership in bulk. This will offer more support for us but will work out even cheaper for you. 3 months costs £195, (£65 per month) 6 months costs £330 (£55 per month) and 12 months costs £540 (£45 per month). 

PART TIME CLAY LOVER MEMBERSHIP  (up to 4 hrs open studio time per week):

For clay lovers with lots to juggle in life, we are offering a part-time membership .   Pledging now means our 3 month contract is just £40 per month (Usually £45). This is rewarded to you if you pledge for the part time membership 3 month commitment pledge. 


Can I attend classes at CUP?

CUP will run beginner and intermediate courses all year round. Our course leader and experienced ceramicist and educator Pat Thompson of All-Year-Round pottery will handle the teaching with her very capable hands.  Beginner and intermediate courses can be pledged for through this crowdfunding page and will run on a weekly basis for 10 weeks. You can take your course within one year of us opening. 

Beginners introduction to pottery: During the 10 week course you will progress through an introduction to to the studio and equipment, clays and glazes used at CUP, clay preparation, wheel work, Hand building and surface decoration.  

Intermediate pottery: 10 week course including more advanced thrown forms such as lidded vessels, tea pots and repetition throwing including trimming and finishing. Hand building includes lidded pinch pots, large coil pots and multi-faceted slab-rolled pieces. In addition, more advanced surface decorations will be explored. 

The cost includes all firing and glazing and re-firing, which will be done for you. There will be a charge per kilo for finished pottery that you produce. All equipment, tools and storage space will be provided. Please bring an apron, towel, notebook and pen. 

Classes will be 2½ hours, allowing 2hrs work, 15 min break and 15min clear up. 

Got experience and lost confidence? Like the idea of making pots but not sure if you'll take to it?  You can also pledge for a 4 week taster course through this page. This is perfect for the complete novice or if you just need a refresher! 

Where will CUP be?

We have found a fantastic space to create our project at Unit 10 Foley Trading estate, Hereford. The building is already home to Hereford Yoga centre and the large warehouse style space attached has really inspired our vision. We are in the process of changing the use of the building so by pledging your support now, you could help secure our location!

What will CUP look like?

What are the opening hours?

If you are a member of CUP you can come any time within these hours:

  • Tuesday: 10am-9pm
  • Wednesday 10am-9pm
  • Thursday 10am-9pm
  • Friday 10am-9pm
  • Saturday 10am-8pm
  • Sunday 10am-8pm

What technical support will I get as a member?

There will always be a trained ceramicist in the role of mentor on site to support and guide you on your making journey. This will not be structured teaching but there will be chance to hire mentors for one on ones for one technique development sessions at an extra cost. Our mentors are all glaze and kiln trained so will also support with glaze mixing and will manage the firing of your work safely. 

Can I make anything that I want?

Yes, anything that our facilities allow for! We will help you express yourself through making and we will even listen to your specific needs such as more specialist clays and see if we can cater for you, so don't hesitate to ask. You may well end up selling your creations at our ceramics yard sales!

Is CUP a private company?

The answer is yes, but not as you know it. We are a Community Interest Company limited by guarantee.  This means that we are a for profit company that must dedicate its profits to positive change in the community and does not answer to shareholders. This allows us to grow like any company without relying on grants to function day to day which is very beneficial in current times of cuts to public services. Moreover it means that the board of directors (all of which have a love for the arts and value local social improvement) make the decisions, and guess where we get our advice for improvements to the business? Yes you, the member!

Who is on the team?

From left to right: Pat Thompson (Technical Director), Jon Chartres (Financial Director), Peter Arscott (Chairman), Heather Clyne (Secretary and Marketing Director), Charlie Hill (Lead mentor and ceramics graduate), Leone Booth (Director and future member), Col Hamilton (Managing Director). 

Why do we need your support now?

It is really difficult to get funding or lending for start-up businesses in the arts without proving that the demand is there.   By donating or pledging for membership and courses you will be showing potential funders and lenders that there is a want and a need for this exciting new resource for Herefordshire. This will also help to fund equipment, refurbishment and securing the proposed site. This is vital at this stage of our start-up! 

How can you help this vision become a reality?

Make a pledge!

We have 8 weeks to hit our target and reach the next stage of our mission. By making a pledge you will be helping us to realise our vision and to secure essential funding and lending that there is demand for a fantastic resource like this here in Hereford. To reach our target we will need to sell all the memberships and all of the course places and more so your pledge really is vital!

If you are feeling especially charitable then you can even pledge more than the suggested amount for each option (as much as you like!) or choose to not receive a reward. 

Spread the word about CUP! Facebook  Instagram Twitter  CUP website and our crowdfunding campaign cup crowd funder page . By telling others you will be helping us to find new supporters and make CUP Ceramics Community CIC possible.  

What do I get for pledging?

Rewards: If you pledge on the £50 first month's membership tier you'll secure a CUP membership, be covered for your first month of making at our studio  and be eligible for all contracts at an exclusive discounted price. There is a range of tiers that you can pledge for and can be seen on the right hand side of this page. There are certain rewards that you will receive if you pledge for any of the tiers e.g. invite to our opening party.  Some are unique to that tier e.g. Your name on our studio wall as a founding member if you pledge for membership or Pat Thompson exclusive kitchenware (shown below) when you pledge for courses.  For our buy a kiln option you will receive a wonderful ceramic art piece provided by Peter Arscott (shown below.) All pledges will include tote bags (shown below.) 


But whatever you pledge for, you can be sure that you will be getting a better deal for memberships and courses than if you bought outside the crowdfunding campaign or getting exclusive rewards. 

Can I buy for someone else?

You absolutely can and what a great gift a membership or course place at CUP would make! Just let us know the name of the person you are buying for when you pledge. 

When and how do I pay?

We have opted for a flexible funding  strategy, meaning that we can use what ever we raise to get to our next stage of development. The aim is to hit our target of £10,000 (or as close as possible) in order to convince our potential lenders and funders that it is worth investing in. But don't worry, the amount raised will be ring-fenced and a full refund given if we are unable to attract the further investment needed to refurb and by our equipment.

YOU HAVE NOTHING TO LOSE BECAUSE if we don’t have enough people sign up and attract our further funding then everyone will get a full refund.  This way either we get to open the studio and hence you get your reward, or you get your money back and we have to try another way!

We have 8 weeks to prove that there is a want and a need for this project in Hereford so spread the word, get involved and make a pledge. We can't do it without you!  

Any questions?


Thank you so much for taking interest.

Col Hamilton and The CUP Ceramics Community

Miss the video? This is what CUP is about...

Hello everyone, my name is Col Hamilton and I, along with a team of key local people, aim to start an open-access ceramics studio for all, no matter your level of experience, here in Herefordshire.    

I have lived in Herefordshire for nearly 3 years now having moved here with my wife and two young children from London and I have fallen in love!  The wonderful communities, beautiful landscapes and art heritage - there is so much to love here there is so much to be inspired by and there is so much potential for positive change.  I have worked in education, for the past 10 years, as a youth worker, lecturer and teacher and I know from experience that there is a lack of funding for the arts and education in our country and our county is no exception.  There is so much potential to unlock and so much inspiration to take place, but it seems to be left to the public to do something about this problem. If nothing is done, we are in danger of losing swathes of dormant creativity in our communities.  

So, as a member of the public... I'm going to do something about it! 

Having recently lived in East London, I discovered some wonderful and inspiring open-access ceramics studio projects such as Turning Earth in Hoxton and Walthamstow providing access to many part-time potters and enthusiasts and they are thriving! This really got me thinking… why shouldn't we, in Herefordshire, have an amazing resource like this here?  The answer is, no reason at all! But it has to meet the needs of our place. 

Through extensive research, I have identified three problems that we can solve together with this project here in Herefordshire:

1. People in Herefordshire do not have the access to the expensive equipment, space and training necessary to create ceramics at beginners, intermediate and advanced level, at an affordable price, all in one place. CUP will provide this. 

2. There are very few opportunities for ceramics graduates to develop artistically post degree due to low incomes and lack of capital and equipment. Therefore productivity and artistic development decimates and sadly, many do not return to the art. By providing mentoring placements for ceramics graduates, we will help to solve this issue. 

3. Hard to reach individuals in the community such as ex-service people suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, victims of domestic abuse and under-privileged young people do not have the opportunity to benefit from the therapeutic and creative impacts of making ceramics in an inclusive artistic community. As a social enterprise our profits will be used to benefit the most vulnerable in our community by providing access memberships and spotlight sessions. (Pat’s studio)

CUP Ceramics Community CIC provides a unique service, we are not in competition with other providers of craft education and development but hope to work with and compliment the already fantastic delivery arts education such as at Hereford College of Arts. 

Excitingly, we will be Herefordshire’s first open-access ceramics studio. Rather than home studios, open-access means that a wide range of the community can gain access to the space consuming and expensive storage and equipment needed to make ceramics.  It takes time to develop a craft and many people have taken a course in ceramics and not been able to develop the skills they have paid to learn.

CUP will provide courses that are designed to lead into membership and the extensive development of a craft.  Membership works like a gym for potters working on a high frequency/low price, pay monthly scheme gaining members access to excellent facilities, storage and mentoring at very reasonable rates allowing for extensive development of skills over time, opportunities to sell work and share knowledge and experience in an inclusive artistic community.  

In encouraging the members of our community to spend time developing craftsmanship, sharing artistic development and caring for the community, we are invigorating a wider movement of more sustainable production and consumption for all. 

The proposed site on Foley Trading estate, Hereford allows for around a 50 member capacity with potential for future growth. The sociable nature of an open-access environment brings people together, enhancing the social capital of the Herefordshire community. Beginner, intermediate and master class courses will be available termly on site which will be available to our members and the general public. These courses are designed and delivered by Pat Thompson our course leader and technical director. Pat has many years’ experience in teaching, creating and trading ceramics and runs her own Pottery all year round pottery in Much Birch,  Herefordshire.

In addition, CUP will house a cafe serving to members, other businesses on the estate and the wider community. The cafe will provide a social hub for residents of the  local area serving reasonably priced coffee, tea, toasties and cake made from local produce and will of course be served on items created in the studio. 

So how does it work?    Our offer is that you pay a fee of between 55 and 95 pounds a month (depending on open studio time and how much you pay up front) for access to: 12 hours a week open studio time in our spacious and airy site in Hereford with 10 wheels, a slab roller, pug mill, several handbuilding tables, your own storage shelves, mentoring from trained ceramicists, kiln firing, bulk price clay and glaze and, of course, a community of ceramic artists to make and learn with. 

Getting funding and investment for businesses in the arts is not easy without proving that there is adequate demand!  By donating or by pledging for membership and courses you will be showing potential investors that there is a want and a need for this exciting new resource for Herefordshire. This will help to fund the equipment, the refurb and help to secure the proposed site…and this is vital at this stage of our start-up!  By being a member or taking part on a course, you are not only joining a creative community, you are contributing to the wider community. The more support we can prove through pledges and donations, the more positive change this project can have on our local area and the more sustainable this project can be. Thank you for your time and I hope you’ll be part of our community.


This project offers rewards in return for your donation.

£25 or more

CUP logo tote bag + extras

You will receive a + CUP logo tote bag + invite to opening party.

£50 or more

13 of 50 claimed

First month's membership + discounts!

Covers first month’s membership no strings attached. AND you will be entitled to any of our contracts at early bird rates: 3 months = £195, 6 months = £330 12 months = £595 + CUP logo tote bag + your name as founder member on the studio wall + Invite to opening party. Valid within 12 months of opening.

£85 or more

1 of 10 claimed

4 week taster course Saturday 10am -12.30 pm

This four week 'Taster' will give you a chance to learn more about pottery and gain practical experience of working with clay (inc. a taste of throwing and hand-building) from ceramicist Pat Thompson + CUP logo tote bag + Invite to opening party. Perfect for the novice and as a refresher! Valid within 12 months of opening.'

£85 or more

8 of 10 claimed

4 week taster course Monday evening 6.30pm - 9pm

This four week 'Taster' will give you a chance to learn more about pottery and gain practical experience of working with clay (inc. a taste of throwing and hand-building) from ceramicist Pat Thompson + CUP logo tote bag + Invite to opening party. Perfect for the novice and as a refresher! Valid within 12 months of opening.'

£120 or more

5 of 10 claimed

3 month PART TIME Membership

For £120 you get a 3 month part time membership at 6hrs a week access + CUP logo tote bag + your name as founder member on the studio wall + invite to opening party + Valid within 12 months of opening.

£165 or more

4 of 15 claimed

Early bird 3 month membership

For £165 you get a 3 month membership with 18 hours a week access! CUP logo tote bag + your name as a founding member on the studio wall + Invite to opening party. Valid within 12 months of opening. THERE ARE ONLY 15 OF THESE UP FOR GRABS!

£200 or more

8 of 30 claimed

10 week BEGINNER course

You will have the most caring introduction to the world of hand making and throwing ceramics from Pat Thompson Tuesday evenings 6.30-9pm starting winter 2018. + Pat Thompson limited edition mug + CUP logo tote bag + Invite to opening party. Valid within 12 months of opening.

£200 or more

1 of 30 claimed

10 week INTERMEDIATE course

You will have the most caring development of your hand building, throwing and glazing and decorating skills from Pat Thompson + Pat Thompson limited edition mug + CUP logo tote bag + Invite to opening party. Valid within 12 months of opening.

£315 or more

4 of 10 claimed

Early bird 6 month membership

For £315 you get a 6 month membership at 18 hours a week access + CUP logo tote bag + your name as a founding member on the studio wall + Invite to opening party. Valid within 12 months of opening. THERE ARE ONLY 10 OF THESE UP FOR GRABS!

£595 or more

2 of 5 claimed

Early bird 12 month membership

For £595 you get a 12 month membership at 18 hours a week access! + CUP logo tote bag + your name as a founding member on the studio wall + Invite to opening party. Valid within 12 months of opening. THERE ARE ONLY 5 OF THESE UP FOR GRABS!

£1,000 or more


You will have your name engraved on a kiln as a founding member and supporter of CUP + limited edition Bellatrova ceramic art piece + CUP logo tote bag + your name as founder member on the studio wall + Invite to opening party.

Got an idea like this?

Our crowd has raised over £70 million for bright ideas and good causes.