Take The Wheel – Parkwood Throwing Courses

Right I’m going to be straight-up – we’ve been to Derbyshire.

It’s not Notts, but this is too good not to share with you and if you bear with me you’ll see how it links in with Notts, so we’re all good right?

We’ve been to the most amazing place. If you’re looking for something to do as a family (if you’ve got older children), a unique first date that’s definitely going to bag you a second or just something a bit different to do after work; you have got to go to Parkwood Throwing Courses!

Now before you start thinking Demi Moor and Patrick Swayze, get that out of your head and imagine this because it’s so much better – brownies, coffee and getting to dive straight into putting the pottery wheel on full speed. The taster session that we attended cost £20 each and lasted for three hours and we got coffee and homemade brownies included. Bargain!

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Within 40 minutes we were already pros

About Parkwood Pottery

Parkwood Pottery (the studio where the course is run) has been around for 10 years, based in the Parkwood Centre which is a self-funded project offering training in pottery skills and supported employment opportunities to adults with learning disabilities. The throwing courses are run as a separate business, but it all happens in the same studio.

Even if you haven’t heard of Parkwood Pottery, you’ve probably seen some of their stuff. Small Food Bakery’s mugs are from there, Lane & Dohm Shop both stock their products and Iberico serve food on their plates.

Know why? Because their products are super cool and support an amazing facility!

Go to Iberico and you’ll get your patatas bravas in one of these beauts

Taking the Wheel

When we got there I was expecting that we might get a little go on the pottery wheel but would mainly be watching demonstrations and learning theory. I was looking forward to it but I’m not the best at arts and crafts so I was also a bit apprehensive. Didn’t have to worry though!

Graeme and Inga are, for starters, the nicest most patient teachers ever and we immediately got to start working with the clay, learning how to prepare it before moving over to the wheel within 20 minutes of being there.

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If at first you don’t succeed …

It was constantly hands on, with Graeme and Inga talking through processes while you got to practically get on with it. They spent time one on one going over techniques so that you could see results immediately.

One thing I didn’t realise was just how much brute force goes into it at the beginning. You’ve got to really get stuck in with the clay when you’re centering (see I picked up some impressive pottery lingo) so it’s great for unwinding at the end of the day.

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The shaping element of it is a bit trickier; but you get as much help as you want/need and Graeme and Inga will help you out if you make a mess of it. Check out my pot (which I accidentally put my finger through so then became a plant pot!)

Plant pot pottery
It was supposed to have a hole in it … honest

In all, during the three hours I think I made about five pots, my boyfriend managed to make a bowl but I didn’t want to push my luck and just stuck to what I seemed to be fairly ok at.

As part of the taster they will fire all of your pots and you can choose to have two glazed, so I’ll definitely be sharing the pictures on Instagram when I get those back.

Clay pots
Our haul

As well as the taster, there is an 8 week course you can go on and intensive weekend course where you will learn some more advanced techniques. If it’s nice out, you can even do the throwing outside in the lovely Parkwood Gardens.

You can see all of the dates on the Parkwood Throwing Courses website.

Seriously, I can’t recommend this place enough! You’ve got to try it!

Parkwood Pottery Gallery/Shop

Parkwood Pottery Gallery Shop
Parkwood Pottery Gallery Shop

While you’re there you should also check out the gallery/shop. They have some beautiful pottery, I literally could buy it all (and did buy a new serving bowl) and all the money they make from these sales goes back into running Parkwood Pottery.

Stockist in Nottingham include:


Dohm Shop