A FAMILY-run Weymouth town centre pottery painting studio will be closing its doors after being impacted by the Covid pandemic - but will be downsizing and relaunching in a new site in the town.

Bella Ceramics, run by Jo Rogers, is a contemporary pottery painting studio based in St Mary Street.

The business hosts adult and children’s events, allowing people to paint ceramics such as cups, money banks, plates, before they are kilned and available to be collected days later.

Bella Ceramics will close on Monday, November 30, with Mrs Rogers citing the coronavirus pandemic’s 'catastrophic impact on our wonderful family business'. The family will set up a new venture in the former Lady Birds clothes shop.

Dorset Echo:

Mrs Rogers, who set up the studio almost five years ago after relocating from Reading, said she was heartbroken to close the studio – but was excited for the business’ future.

She said: “The studio is closing because of coronavirus, let’s be honest about it.

“Reopening in the Summer, we could not open at the same time as other shops as because we are a seated business and people being in here for a long period of time, we didn’t open until the end of July.

“With social distancing and running the studio at a reduced capacity, we are not making the same amount of money that we were.

“With a second lockdown, it is just not financially viable and we have not got enough to pay the rent, salaries and we would be getting into financial difficulty.”

Dorset Echo:

Jo’s daughter, Faith, recalled how before the coronavirus pandemic, they would usually host four parties every weekend.

Rebranding as ‘Bellas Bespoke Pottery Prints’, the new mini studio will initially focus on baby and child print art and 3D castings and is almost ready to accept booked appointments for December.

Mrs Rogers said events and parties will return once coronavirus measures have been entirely lifted, as the ‘rule of six’ and social distancing rules made such events unviable to run.

She said: “Once coronavirus has gone and restrictions are lifted, I will be able to do children’s parties again, hen parties, ladies evenings and all my specialist workshops which were all very popular.

“Eventually we will get back into that soon. I will have the use of a beautiful modern craft room behind the new studio.”

Faith Rogers added: “We will always have workshop dates and exciting news to share on our social media and website.”

Since Bella Ceramics announced the studio’s closure on Facebook, Jo and Faith said they had been overwhelmed with messages of support and customers expressing their appreciation.

One customer wrote: “You have been an amazing business and gave my little girl a fabulous party and my work colleagues a great afternoon of painting!

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“I really hope you make a success of all the new projects and we will definitely be back when we can.”

Mrs Rogers was left touched by the hundreds of messages from customers and hoped to see them again in their new studio space.

She said: “That has been absolutely heart-warming. I would like to say thank you to everyone who has supported us and it is so much appreciated.

“It has been an adventure, with all the awards for the baby printing and artwork. It has been phenomenal.

“I have loved every minute of it.”

Anyone who has painted pottery at the studio must collect the items before Monday as they are unable to store them beyond the studio’s closure.

Any gift vouchers can be used for any workshop event or baby printing in their new business venture.