One of Devizes’ most prominent retail premises is back in business this week with a venture that is likely to please people of all ages looking for unusual gift ideas.

Mums Leanne Wilkins and Caroline ‘Liney’ Kean have joined forces to create the Pottery Painting Company, which has opened in the former Travelwise shop at Chapel Corner on the corner of Maryport Street and Monday Market Street.

Older members of the community will remember it as the Cheese Shop but it has remained empty since Travelwise moved to its current home in Sidmouth Street last year.

Mrs Wilkins saw a gap in the market when she took her two children to a pottery painting centre in Swindon. She said: “My kids just loved it and I thought, there ought to be something like this in Devizes.”

The circumstances that led to the new business arose when Mrs Wilkins was made redundant from her position at Intel in Swindon and she happened to broach the subject of a pottery painting business with Mrs Kean, a fellow parent at Dauntsey’s Aided Primary School in West Lavington.

Mrs Wilkins said: “Liney was keen on the idea and we found these premises which were perfect for us, so it all seemed meant.”

The two women buy in their bisque, or unglazed, plates, cups and other items, from a company that specialises in the field, and invite customers to choose how they want to decorate them.

Mrs Wilkins said: “People don’t need to be particularly artistic. They can use carbon papers with transfer images on them, use stamps as well as paint on their own designs. There are amazing things you can do with brushes. We will teach them as they go along.”

Once the items have been painted, they are taken away, given a glaze finish and fired.