Optimism in the air at Edinbane Pottery

Stuart Whatley
Photo: Willie Urquhart/WHFP

Edinbane Pottery in north Skye has just enjoyed a very busy Christmas sale period.

For 10 days, ending last week, the locally-owned business was offering 20 per cent of everything in stock. And, says founder Stuart Whatley, the sale period was extremely successful, thanks almost entirely to the custom of local people. Much of the firm’s range of stoneware wood-fired pottery – everything from goblets to plates to lamp bases – is surely destined for under the Christmas trees of Skye.

For almost 50 years Edinbane Pottery has been a fixture in the commercial and cultural life of the island.

“It’s hugely important for all of us to shop local if possible,” added Stuart. “The situation has improved dramatically since I came back to Skye in 1972. It was almost impossible to get anything locally back then, even building materials. Now, apart from a few items, it’s possible to shop local for most of the things you need in life.”

That context makes Stuart “pretty optimistic” about next year, whether that be in life in general or from a business point of view.

“When we managed to restart in July after lockdown ended, for the rest of the summer, until the lockdowns in England, we were much busier than the same period last year,” he added. “Probably the main reason is that people couldn’t go abroad. So they weren’t spending money on holidays. But people need to buy things, and a lot of them seemed to want to buy pottery.”

They also like coming in to see Stuart, wife Julie, assistant Andreas Mueller and apprentice Josie Allan hard at work. It’s that kind of place, very much a working business.

“People are very comfortable about coming in here,” commented Stuart. “That kind of atmosphere is very important to us.”

Opening hours are 9am to 6pm, seven days a week.