Over the past five months, Jon has participated in a crafts council research programme, investigating artists and makers who demonstrate a portfolio approach to their creative practice. The research was published on a Tuesday at the Crafts Council’s ‘Assemble’ Conference held at the London Symphony Orchestra’s headquarters at St Lukes, London. http://www.assemble.org.uk/

Jon was invited to talk to delegates in a break out session, and set up a mini exhibition demonstrating how his work had changed over the past 17 years, with particular focus on how his social engagement has effected his exhibition work.

Jon shared the exhibition space with the textile artist Arantza Vilas. Check out her fabulous textured sculpture (pictured above) and website :http://www.blogger.com/www.pinakistudios.com .

The Guardian also ran a story… http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/jun/24/craft-about-more-than-crochet

Jon spent a very enjoyable day working with families at Cherry Orchard First School in Pershore.

The workshops, initiated by Worcestershire Extended Services took place in the morning and afternoon, with 12 participants in each session. Everybody got to throw a pot on the wheel and make clay models.

The relative small number of participants made for a quality experience, good conversation and creative clay outcomes.

The last time Jon worked at the school the children produced this lovely ceramic tile panel in the shape of the school logo.

Jon spent a glorious sunny day outside at Arrow Vale High School, working with Year 8 transitional students and the Eco club to produce a large mud sculpture.

Everybody worked blooming hard, particularly considering the near Sahara conditions. The students dug, shifted, and mixed rubble, sand, and earth to produce a natural eight legged sculpture.

Having permission to get totally, head-to-toe filthy was extremely appreciated by the students, who all had great fun smearing the clay over the structure and each other, (judging by the photos, mostly each other!) Once the grass seed has established, the work will function as a seating arrangement for outside lessons.

All aspects of food production are never far from the agenda at the annual Three Counties Show at the Malvern Showground. The event offers plenty of themes for Jon’s sessions taking place in the discovery zone. This year, cakes provided specific inspiration as schools and families made towering plates of cupcakes and slices of sponge.  We also completed the commemorative tile panels left over from the Spring Garden Show (see previous blog entry titled Spring Garden Show 2010) 

A couple of years ago Jon, staff and the children at Evesham Nursery School discovered the fabulous sport of clay skating. Originally the large sheets of perspex on the floor were designed for painting slip and arranging clay coils onto – then the children took it upon themselves to develop the activity into a full body clay/slip experience.

They slid, squelched and rolled around on the stuff. The only drawback occurred in the clean up operation – for half an hour of activity there was approximately one and a half hours of de-claying and scrubbing the children clean.

Everybody was keen to repeat the experience but the next time outside, bare foot, and on a nice sunny day. Well we didn’t get too many of those last year so it was a whole 24 months later that clay skating made a welcome return to Evesham Nursery.

Once changed into old clothes and socks, and shoes firmly to the side, the children enjoyed clay in the most physical way imaginable…They started off by jumping up and down en mass to flatten soft clay lumps onto the perspex. Then water via paintbrushes was introduced to make things a little more fluid!