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Auriol Herford

Why Kite Studios for Children’s Holiday Workshops?

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I sometimes find it a challenge to explain to a parent why its worth coming to Kite Studios for our holiday workshops when the choice  of activities available for children today is so vast.

However I always return to the principle that we are all better for having drawing as a core skill.  It is ultimately the foundation for creativity. Drawing does not have to be a skill that captures the reality of a photograph though, there are so many wonderful ways of approaching the activity.

Mark making  can be the joy in drawing for those children that need to burn energy, others thrive from drawing from the imagination and only yesterday I recharged my batteries by drawing from observation with two wonderful people as models, so life drawing gave me the kick I needed. 


If I was to advertise our workshops as journeys into drawing we would only get the attention of a few children that might identify with the world of drawing already.

However by creating enticing  invitations to for example  ‘build fantasy food out of fabric’ and other wonderful materials such as clay. 

Then to facilitate the children to set up  their own scenes ( in drawing terms that would be a still life ) and ask them to make a painting , drawing or print of their work.

We manage to engage  everyone  who comes and find that many come back for more and more as they discover the joy of creating  and their drawing skills grow from strength to strength.


Often it is the holiday workshops that encourage children to then take a course and we can proudly say that now there are young adults who have begun their careers in art and they trace their journey in art to a holiday workshop at our studio.

Clover Lee at Kite Studios Pottery

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Have you heard of Clover Lee?

She was on the BBC Great Pottery Throw Down TV show and made it to the final round. We are excited to announce that Clover will be joining the teaching team at Kite Studios.

Clover will be teaching every Tuesday, starting on the 25 April 2017. On those Tuesday’s she will teach the pottery term time classes and also be available for bespoke 1-to-1 bookings. You can book a Tuesday session with Clover online.

Learn and ask questions as Clover takes you through the steps for creating ceramic pieces on the wheel. A bit more about Clover:

She was born in a small town in southern China – and moved to Wales in 2003, to study accountancy.

The 33-year-old moved to London after graduating, and her interest was pricked when Clover attended an evening class at Clapham Pottery in 2011. Clover is proud of her Asian heritage and creates a mixture of functional and stunning items – such as bonsai planters, decorative vases, sake sets, mugs and tableware.

She says she is “inspired by the traditional art and culture of China and Japan”. As well as pottery, Clover is a self-taught illustrator.


Valentine’s Day Pottery Gift Voucher

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Can you and your partner help each other get messy with clay and make a memorable pot?

Get a 20% discount by booking online for a bespoke 1-to-1 pottery class with our ceramics experts. Use code KSLOVE17 on checkout.

This special offer is valid for all 1-to-1 bespoke pottery bookings made between 6 and 17 February for dates until May.

A 1 hour booking costs £52 per couple (usual price is £65 for 2 people).

Your piece will be fired and ready for collection in 3-4 weeks. The clay needs time to dry properly!


What’s Covered in the Session?


You’ll be shown how to throw a pot on the wheel. After a few throws, we’ll help you create a single pot on the wheel. You’ll then spend time afterwards decorating it using decorative slips and sponges. We’ll fire and glaze it for a permanent ceramic finish and it will be ready to collect from the studio 3-4 weeks later.

A full demonstration is given at the start of the workshop and so is ideal for the complete beginner.

In order for you to have the piece ready in one session, we accelerate the drying with heaters so that you can decorate your piece with slips.

We then bisque fire and glaze fire the work with a transparent glaze, so that it’s ready for you to pick up in 3-4 weeks.

Clay and Pottery Themed Birthday Parties

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A Birthday Party to Remember

For many years we’ve been running birthday parties for children with an art theme. They are popular with children and parents alike.



Creative with Clay

Over the past year, as our pottery studio has grown, we’ve been offering birthday parties with a clay or pottery theme. The pottery party has now become the most popular theme chosen by children and parents.


The children make a mixed media piece bringing their ideas to life in a 3D form to take home as the last activity of the party.

Learning about the Pottery Wheel

Learning about the Pottery Wheel

Working with clay develops the sense of touch and improves creative confidence. During the birthday party art class, the children learn about the nature of clay in a fun and engaging way.

Age Groups

We accommodate all age groups and provide a fully equipped studio for the art session.  Most families bring their own drinks and cake, which they can serve in a separate reception room. We can also arrange catering if you’d rather just turn up.


During term time parties take place either on Saturday or Sunday afternoons for 2 hours usually from 1-3pm.

We keep them engaged from beginning to end, with a 15 minute break.


£20 per head Minimum: 10 children

Duration: 2 hours

Kids Kitchen: Art & Cooking

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Why should grown-ups have all the fun!? If your kids love to cook, this unique class combines cooking and art activities to keep the most energetic of children busy during the summer holidays.

We ran the first classes last year and they were a big hit with the children and parents.

Kids Kitchen: Art Morning, Cooking Afternoon – £80.00
• Tue 2 Aug 2016 10.00-16.00
• Wed 3 Aug 2016 10.00-16.00
• Thu 4 Aug 2016 10.00-16.00
• Fri 5 Aug 2016 10.00-16.00

Leiths and Kite Studios have come together to create an exciting, creative and educational programme of activities for 7 – 11 year olds.
Youngsters will spend the morning at Kite Studios creating their own work of art, using techniques such as sculpture, print making, etching and painting. Then in the afternoon they have fun cooking at Leiths!

Book on the Leiths website.

A Letter from a Mother: The Power of Art

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The Power of Art at Kite Studios

By Lucy Richardson, Mother of Orlando

My son Orlando is now 17 and has autism and haemophilia. At his diagnosis aged 3 they said he may never speak

.Orlando TintinAs soon as he could hold a pencil he started drawing. He didn’t speak he drew – piles and piles of drawings.  He would find a character or a symbol – Biff, Chip, Mr Men, Tintin, Captain Haddock, Wally, maps, football shirts – and draw them over and over again until he had learnt them by heart.   He could create them with a few deft strokes in a matter of seconds.


Visual representations were important to him.   He preferred pictures of things to real things.   They made sense to him: solid and unmoving, bright colours encased in black lines just for him.   Nature: plants, trees, flowers were too vague and ill-defined.

Orlando Alien age 12 drawingAnimals (particularly small unpredictable ones like hamsters) alarmed him. He did not want them intruding into his world. Something about this world of cartoon style drawing he created was deeply satisfying and soothing to his autistic soul.

So in 2007 when Orlando was 8 I started looked for a holiday art class for him to try and develop his art skills. This was easier said than done. After initial chat about their wonderful workshops I told them about his autistic spectrum. “How disabled is he?” they said. “But he’s in a main stream school he fits in.” I said   “He has a helper who can come with him.” I cried out feebly.  No -one called me back. I was about to to give up. Then at a supper for mums of disabled children in West London I met Auriol Herford of Kite Studios. “Send him to me,” she said, and so I did.

He went regularly to a selection of holiday workshops every holiday along with his helper. This then extended to Saturday morning classes as well.

He expanded his repertoire of media: from strictly pencil or felt tip to painting with acrylic, oil, water colour.   He made paper- mache models, rolled inky geometric etchings. He built ships, modelled strange birds, monsters, puppets and designed himself colourful t-shirts which he wore with pride.Orlando Art 1

He painted an enormous canvas of a poem in a picture with a combination of colourful rhyming characters – a man in a cat suit, superhero – all smiling and reaching for the stars. He held his birthday parties there: creating t-shirts, building alien creatures from junk covered in mud rock.

The children from his state school wouldn’t leave they were having such a good time. “It’s time to go,” called Auriol melodically from the stairs. Then more firmly “This party is now over,” but still they lingered, not wanting to leave this magical experience of creative anarchy.

In his early teenage years despite the spirals of adolescent rages and inertia, he still carried on attending the holiday workshops. He would come back with a variety of creations: etchings of imagined cities, long oil paintings of the last supper, tiny fruit in a tiny room he had made. The sketch books full of his planning and ideas to show how he got to his own unique vision were a miracle to me. I marvelled at how Auriol managed to engage him for so long and get such rich detail and variety from him.

At home he would still only draw what was in his head, on his terms. If I tried to set up an art activity he would invariably say that he had finished after 10 minutes and nothing I could say could induce him to go back and add detail. How did Auriol do it?

Through a combination of patience, tenacity and belief, she takes all young people and their artistic aspirations seriously. She does all this with an autistic child who goes through the education system with people continually not wanting to upset him and letting him settle for half of his potential because it gives them an easy life.

Orlando was always challenged but also supported when leaving his comfort zone and doing something new. Sensitive to his moods the Kite Staff were always able to see the signs when he was getting agitated. The teaching team help structure the work so he could carry on achieving. In the studio he was taking part in art workshops that were between 2-4 hours long with ease.

When Orlando started college at 16 we were dismayed when he came back with a timetable of only two full days, a morning and an afternoon – apparently this constitutes full time education. Whilst he is accessing full-time education he is not eligible for any apprenticeships or work experience schemes.

At 16 he is too young for any of the exciting looking adult education courses.   He began to spend large swathes of time on the computer downloading viruses, booking car test drives and running up debts with Ancestry.com. He emerged from his room only to demand £10 for trips with his local Mencap group to Nandos.   Was this his future? “It’s so unfair” I wailed to Auriol. “Send him to me,” she said, and so I did.

He started going to Kite Studios on Fridays to do guided work experience and an hour of art during December 2015. At first he was reluctant to break his Nandos habit. “Why do I have to?”, he kept saying. This soon changed.   During the 6 months he has been spending his Fridays at Kite Studios, the benefits have been enormous. He has learnt about being flexible in the workplace, to share space with others and behave appropriately towards colleagues.

Orlando has undertaken a diverse range of tasks from helping with children, to art preparation, assisting in workshops and delivering marketing flyers. Most importantly he takes great joy in setting off to Kite Studios every Friday morning, bounding in to greet everyone. He knows that he will be accepted, listened to and respected.   He has formed good relationships with all of the Kite Studios team and gained a real sense of being involved in a community.

His confidence in himself has grown as he has taken on the project of studying for the Silver Arts Award. This is a unique award given by Trinity College where students are encouraged to take the lead and realise their creative dreams. Orlando has been highly motivated in organising his own exhibition of portraits of the Kite Studios staff and friends as part of the Kite Studios 1st Summer Show on June 18th at 4-7 pm. His drawing is developing as he is learning to stop and look at the shape of people’s faces.Orlando Self Portraits at Kite Studios

Auriol has helped him to develop a good practice of stopping to look again at the spaces and shapes of the subject he is drawing. He has also started to visit exhibitions as part of learning and understanding more about the art world. It is a pleasure to see him take ownership of his creative talents and start to use them to bring pleasure to others.

All young people with disabilities should be welcomed into the community and encouraged to fulfil their potential rather than be stuck at home. Orlando’s sense of belonging and ownership of Kite Studios is a testament to Auriol’s belief in a community that should be open to all and value everyone for their differences. Allowing space of the individual to flourish.

Orlando KindinskyAs a family it gives us hope that he may one day be accepted into the world of work.   It also means that when we are gone he will have the means to support himself, rather than being reliant on the grudging crumbs of state provision.