Ceramic artist Babs Belshaw has returned to live and work outside Coleraine and has opened her new pottery in the courtyard of Blackheath House, near Aghadowey.
Blackheath House is a Grade-II listed house and the former stables have been refurbished to include a pottery studio, shop and coffee shop.
Babs explained: “The house is full of historic connections and dates back to 1791. We are nine miles from the coast. In addition to my pottery studio and shop we have a coffee shop for customers who make the trip.”
The Blackheath Pottery was completed last October but unable to open due to Covid restrictions. The building has a glass wall feature to view Babs at work in her studio whilst enjoying a cup of coffee and wee bundt cake in the coffee shop.
Pottery sales to date have been on-line and Babs has already built up a loyal following for her wares, particularly after Vogue Magazine featured the pottery as number one on its list of Christmas decorations, ahead of such famous names as the Conron Shop and the National Gallery.
She continued: “Potters and scenic coastlines are synonymous. The famous post-war potter Bernard Leach inspired a ceramics movement in Cornwall that’s still going strong to this day. The Causeway Coast and Glens in Northern Ireland is world-famous for its beauty. It’s an ideal area to develop as a destination for pottery and ceramic lovers.”
The new busines venture is also a family affair. Babs’ brother Stephen is in charge of the coffee shop and baking. He has a background in catering and hospitality in the Isle of Man and Australia.
“We are so happy to be open at last and the garden at Blackheath House is perfect now that summer is on its way,” added Babs.
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