A MOTHER has left her day job as a childminder to open a new pottery painting studio in Hurstbourne Tarrant.

Debbie Bench officially opened her new shop at Dene Garage on Saturday, having left the world of childminding behind at the start of the pandemic.

The name of the store, Tink and Brellie Pottery Painting, is inspired by Debbie’s nicknames for her two now-grown-up children, Chloe and Gabrielle, who were on hand to officially cut the ribbon on Saturday morning.

Reflecting on how the last eighteen months have been difficult for small businesses, Debbie said: “I’m looking forward. It is something fun and hopefully it will help families and adults back out to doing some things again in a safe environment.

“It is just about spending time doing something.

“I found that people, particularly with young children, were saying they wanted a destination so they could have time away from home.”

The studio, located at a converted old workshop and next door to a hair salon and tea room, caters for birthday parties, hen nights or any other occasion, or for people who just want to pop in to do some pottery.

Speaking about why she decided to leave childminding after a total of two decades in the education industry, Debbie told The Advertiser: “It wasn’t for me. I found it quite isolating.

“I am very much a people person.”

Meanwhile, her husband Steve noted: “It aligns to the business ethos.”

For the last six months, the mother-of-two from St Mary Bourne was delivering pottery boxes to people to paint at home, before collecting to fire and return them.

But it was when she went to another pottery studio with Chloe and Gabrielle that she found the inspiration and spark to launch her own venture.

“I was at another pottery studio with my two girls because we enjoy pottery painting.

“I thought ‘I can do this’ and I came home and said ‘I’ve got it’.”

But after a long time searching for the perfect space, Steve says it’s been a hectic four weeks since they were able to get their hands on their new shop.

“Given the last 18 months, she wanted to bring some feel good back into people’s lives,” he said. “It is a market that crosses all ages.”

You can find out more at https://www.tinkandbrelliepotterypainting.co.uk/.