Frome Independent and the delights of The Bakemonger

I am fortunate to live in a town that I really love. Frome is a place where people have creative ideas, and then they get up and do something about it. There's always something going on, from the Frome Comic Con, to the Half Marathon, people have ideas and run with them (sometimes literally!). One of my favourite events is the Frome Independent - a huge market that takes over the centre of town on the first Sunday of each month between April and December. The market is run by a not-for-profit organisation and aims to:

showcase the very best of independent produce, retail and makers that the region has to offer, against a backdrop of music, visual art and events

The market is a feast - and not just in the sense of the choice of things to eat! So when I first heard about the Market Makers scheme I signed up straight away. Running a market of this size in a way that supports both the town and the traders is a huge undertaking, and I fervently want the market to continue, thrive and grow (not just to survive), so we handed over our cash.


Imagine our delight a few weeks later when we learned that we had won a celebration cake (from the Market Makers scheme) from our absolute favourite Frome Independent trader: The Bakemonger! My mouth is already watering at the thought of what tasty treat I might enjoy at tomorrow's market. I'm a sucker for her salted caramel brownies - just as delicious as they are beautiful!

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The whole process of choosing our cake was a treat. We decided to use the cake to celebrate the arrival of our new nephew, and Helen talked us through deciding on flavours and then design. We chose a rich chocolatey cake with passion fruit curd and chocolate ganache, decorated with white chocolate discs and stunning origami fans. The cake was jaw-droppingly beautiful and completely delicious.


It was the perfect celebration cake for our new nephew, and I've been pondering excuses to order another cake ever since... Many, many thanks to all the team at both the Frome Independent and to Helen at The Bakemonger, for not only giving us such a great market every month, but also for our delicious cake.

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If you haven't already visited Frome, then I highly recommend a weekend break for the first Sunday of the month. And if you live too far away, then you can enjoy the cakes vicariously on The Bakemonger's stunning Instagram account: @the_bakemonger and see the action at the market on the Frome Independent's Instagram account: @thefromeindependent

I will be back soon with knitting content... in the meantime, if you care about local events, then find ways to support them! Use it or lose it is sadly the way these days.

Throwing pots

Have you ever thrown a pot? I hadn't until a few months ago, when my brother-in-law gave Jim and I a session as a joint birthday present, and it was THE BEST FUN!

Backing up a bit, all three of us had enjoyed watching The Great Pottery Throw Down on BBC back in the autumn, and we'd been very taken with the show. It's the pottery take on The Great British Bake Off, and was surprisingly addictive watching. We soon got into a nice routine, and placed bets on whose work would make the lovely presenter Keith Brymer Jones cry. He was rather prone to being overcome by the contestants' feel for the clay! So when Ed gave us a voucher for the two of us to have a private throwing lesson at Enigma Pottery in Frome, we were both really excited about it.

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I've been trying to find some words to describe how much we both enjoyed ourselves, and to be honest I'm struggling a bit!

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There was something really magical about the feeling of the clay in our hands, and the air of quiet concentration as we both tried to make something functional.

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Jim in particular seemed to find a sort of meditative state, and created some great shapes. Our tutor, Jenny Barton, explained everything calmly and clearly, although we failed to bring a tear to her eye over our feel for the clay. We clearly need a bit more practice! We both left the workshop feeling that we might build a special pottery shed in the garden. We really did enjoy it a great deal!


Our 2 hour workshop included the firing of 4 pots each, so here they are waiting for glazing and the kiln. Can you guess who made what?

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Then we had the exciting phone call about 10 days later to say that our pots were ready! I bet you can guess which are mine now...

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Yes, that's right! The teal pots are mine. We chose glazes from swatches in the workshop, but I hadn't really understood the difference between the two types of glaze. Mine have a very high gloss finish, where Jim's are more grainy - an effect I really love.

In total I made a bowl for breakfast, a coffee mug, a jug and a small vase.

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All four of my pots have been in use since we collected them - here's the vase with some tulips in my office. I am still surprised that we made such useful pots at our first try.

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Jim made 3 pots and a mug with this lovely deep blue glaze, and he too has enjoyed many cups of coffee from his new mug.

If you have the opportunity to try throwing pots on a wheel, I highly recommend it! It's definitely top of my Christmas list this year.

Which new crafts would you like to try your hand at?

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Images © Jen Arnall-Culliford