Shaping a successful business from clay

Tucked away on Skibbereen’s Market Street, Cré Pottery Studio offers an immersive experience into ceramics for people of all ages and abilities. Established by Sophie Miall and Suzanne O’Connor in 2017, this friendly and inviting pottery painting studio and coffee house has over the past seven years become the go-to space in the town for families, couples and friends to get together and explore their creative side, while of course enjoying coffee and cake. Today with shows like The Great Pottery Throw Down and celebrities from Brad Pitt to Seth Rogan getting their hands into clay, the mindful craft of pottery is becoming an increasingly popular pastime.

The paint-your-own-pottery studio in Skibbereen has hundreds of pieces of blank pottery in all shapes and sizes to choose from and lots and lots of stencils, sponge shapes, glaze colours and brushes to help with inspiration. “When we first started, it took a while to encourage people to paint but now we have people coming back again and again and there is someone painting here every day,” shares Suzanne. “The children from seven years ago are now coming in to the studio as teenagers, which is really lovely.”

With prices starting at just €10, you can paint your own piece of art, the studio will glaze and fire it for you, and it will be ready for collection in just a few days.

It’s also possible to make prints and impressions of your baby’s little hands and feet or even dogs and cats! Cré will personalise your piece and glaze and fire it for you in studio. “One lady brought in her three labradors,” shares Sophie laughing.

Sophie and Suzanne now have Maya and Nancy working with them and offer a variety of classes, ranging from children’s and adult’s pottery classes, which run in four-week blocks, to private sessions learning more advanced techniques such as wheel throwing, available for individuals or couples. Participants have the opportunity to work with different types of clay, experiment with various tools and techniques, and unleash their creativity under the guidance of experienced instructors.

“I’ve seen non-verbal children with autism get on the pottery wheel or stick their hands into clay and start chattering from excitement,” shares Sophie, “it’s really wonderful to see.

“Others, who might be very chatty like me, just stop talking,” she laughs. “It’s amazing how silent and mindful a pottery class can be, even when it’s a kid’s birthday party,” adds Suzanne.

Cré Pottery offers a wonderful venue in which to celebrate a birthday, hen party or special occasion with lots of party packages to suit individual needs. It’s the perfect place to get a group of friends together and adult parties are welcome to bring their own wine and food. There are a number of party packages available.

Customers travel especially for the experience that Cré offers: “I absolutely loved this. I came down specifically to Skibbereen just for this experience. When you go in everything is laid out in very clear order and you can set your own price range. You can paint as many items as you want. You can have tea or coffee as you paint. The girls who worked there were very helpful showed me how to use the glazes and then left me alone to paint. I totally got lost in this experience and loved watching my pieces coming together. Then I was told they would be able to post the items up to me too.”

On the first Friday of every month, the studio is open between 6 and 9pm and adults can bring their own bottle of wine and nibbles and enjoy a sociable, fun and creative evening. Suzanne and Sophie are now introducing ‘clay’ nights on the second Friday of the month, where you can make and paint your piece of pottery on the night.

Sophie Miall has a degree in Ceramics while Suzanne has a FETAC level VI qualification in Professional Arts Practice from Rossa College (now West Cork Campus). Both artists sell their own work through the studio. Prior to opening the business the friends worked on many projects together, from providing party entertainment to pottery classes. Cré Pottery is a family affair with children and partners all helping out when needed. “We feel very privileged to be able to have our kids at work with us,” says Sophie. They all help out, from making a cappuccino to working on the pottery wheel.”

Pottery camps for both Easter and Summer are now available to book online and Cré Pottery will host a special ‘Paint a Mug’ fundraising event on Saturday, March 16 for Marymount. Suzanne lost her foster mum to cancer in 2017 and Marymount provided incredible care and support for the entire family during their time of need. €10 from every mug painted will go directly to Marymount. Paint-at-home kits will also be available and, for anyone who can’t attend but would like to support, donations can be made at Cré Pottery Studio or donate directly on the website,

Cré Pottery is open Tuesday – Saturday, 10am – 5pm. Booking advisable.

For more information
or to book a class go to

Mary O'Brien

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