Pottery & Poetry workshop shortbreaks in Argyll

Pottery and/ or Poetry creative shortbreak in Argyll with Michaela and Chris Goan

Create your own beautiful clay pieces, inspired by the sea and landscapes of the Cowal peninsula in Argyll. Michaela Goan offers pottery workshops in her studio which is a tranquil place of retreat. Chris Goan writes poetry and loves to teach guests from all over the world. Your art shortbreak includes either a pottery or a poetry workshop – or a combination of both, where your written words become part of your clay creations. Accommodation is at the adorable and luxurious Abbots Brae hotel in Dunoon.

At a glance

Activity: pottery/ ceramics, poetry/ creative writing
Tutors: Michaela Goan (pottery), Chris Goan (poetry writing)
Duration: 2 full days of tuition, 3 overnight stays
Location: Dunoon and Innellan, Argyll in the West of Scotland
Accommodation: Abbots Brae Hotel, Dunoon
Price: from £650 per person, based on two guests sharing a room
Group size: min. 2 guests
Suitable for any artistic skill level

Please note: Since the Abbots Brae Hotel is now closed and no longer available as guest accommodation, this shortbreak package is currently under review and the new description will be posted here soon.


Your workshop and tutors – Michaela and Chris Goan

Michaela and Chris Goan

Michaela and Chris have always loved to create things. Michaela works mainly in ceramics, Chris makes things from wood, takes photographs and writes poetry. In their work they bring these elements together to create artwork and inspire others through their workshops. At the workshop location Innellan close to Dunoon on the Cowal peninsula inspiration is never far away – wild seascapes, mountains, forests and beautiful empty beaches. You can read more about Michaela and Chris on their profile page.

Here are the workshop options in summary:

The pottery workshop covers:

Introduction – various types of clay, simple techniques, the process
Exploration – ideas and inspiration, collecting textures and images in the local area
Playing with clay
Decorating clay
Building with clay and making structured pieces

The poetry workshop covers:

Time spent outdoors, gathering thoughts, reflections
Exploring poetry styles and techniques
Creative writing sessions as a group and individually, some time together, some time to find quiet and write

The pottery and poetry shortbreak combines the two workshops and involves taking some of the words written on day one to create pieces of pottery.

The workshops are suitable for any skills levels.

Pottery studio of Michaela Goan

The dusk lingers, as if the sea itself is releasing light only reluctantly and in this
no-longer-day but not-quite-night I am suspended. Sound is carried, cushioned by sea, to land on this shore like mirage.
The bark of a seal. An engine, ten miles away. A curlew seems no closer.
But the sea itself is silent.
In the not-quite-seeing, a bird flies; a black silhouette against the pewter sky. Flicks the scimitar tips of each graceful wing, then gone.
Not waiting for tomorrow.
{Chris Goan, Toward Beach, May 2018}

The location and accommodation – The Cowal Peninsula and Abbots Brae Hotel

Victorian in stature and quirky by nature, Abbots Brae hosts Scotland’s smallest bar, a restaurant showcasing Scotland’s natural larder and seven traditionally appointed bedrooms. Nestled high amongst established woodlands with sensational views over the Firth of Clyde, surrounded by some of the most breathtaking scenery you will ever see, Abbots Brae has earned an enviable reputation as a luxurious home away from home.


Built in 1843 as a holiday retreat for an affluent Glasgow glass merchant, the house still maintains many of its original features including the stunning stained glass windows. It is set in three acres of secluded woodland gardens with breathtaking views of sea and hills, yet it is only one mile from Dunoon Pier and one hour from Glasgow. The staff at Abbots Brae pride themselves on creating a welcoming home from home atmosphere, with the emphasis placed on relaxation and comfort of guests.

Directly behind the hotel is Morag’s Fairy Glen. The glen is accessible via the back of the hotel, the Berry Burn flows through the mile and a half long glen, with its beautiful waterfalls and pools making it a truly amazing place for a relaxing walk. For the more energetic just a short walk from the hotel is the famous Bishops Glen, this is a favoured beauty spot and a delightful walk with several miles of stunning forestry tracks running all along the coast road down to Innellan and Toward.

Sea Tree 4

We’ll be happy to arrange transport between the hotel and studio on workshop days, as well as pick up from the ferry port on arrival and drop off on departure.


Day 1 – Arrival at Abbots Brae hotel where a welcome gift will await you.

Days 2 & 3 – The workshop runs from 10am to around 4pm including a lunch break, but Michaela and Chris are flexible if you wish to start or finish earlier or later.

Day 4 – Departure day. No doubt you’ll be planning your next short break!

Additional workshop and accommodation days can be arranged.


The price for this experience is £680 per person for Pottery & Poetry, £710 for Pottery Only or £650 for Poetry Only.

Prices are based on two guests sharing a twin or double room. Here’s what’s included in the package price:

– 2 full days of private tuition
– Workshop materials and firing
– 3 nights accommodation at Abbots Brae hotel in Dunoon (sharing a twin or double room)
– 3 full breakfasts
– 3-course welcome dinner at Abbots Brae hotel on the first evening
– 2 simple lunches
– Refreshments on workshop days
– Detailed pre-travel information, including insider recommendations of things to do and see
– Welcome gift

We’ll be happy to arrange transport between the hotel and studio on workshop days, as well as pick up from the ferry port on arrival and drop off on departure. The easiest way of getting to the location is by ferry from Gourock to Dunoon. The ferry port in Dunoon is well connected to the rail network and there are frequent services from Glasgow. You can view the timetable here.

Please note: the postage costs for sending your pieces to your home address once fired are not included in the package price.

So…let us us know your preferred dates for a pottery & poetry shortbreak in Dunoon using the link below. We’ll get back to you with info on availability as soon as we can.

Enquire now

Sea Tree mugs