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It was the second year running Olivia Clements requested the services of the Flying Potter so we knew what to expect in terms of sheer volume of participation….and we weren’t disappointed!
The event was exhausting and needed team Eastnor Pottery & The Flying Potter to work shifts. Sarah, Millie and Jon all did a couple of days but all agreed it would have been really, really hard work if it hadn’t been for the brilliant army of volunteer helpers.
Each station was designated a couple of extra hands who once had been briefed on the activity, set about their tasks with enthusiasm, initiative and understanding. They were brilliant!
Arts week at Brockhampton Primary School near Bromyard is a busy and creative time with the school employing a host of creative practitioners to work their magic with mixed age groups of children. It was a great opportunity to network with other artists and catch-up with old friends.
Megan Evans is an environmentally aware print maker whose work with young people I’ve admired for some time. Although we’d been employed on the same projects in the past, we hadn’t had the opportunity to put a face to the emails and phone conversations until Brockhampton.
Felicity O’ Neill is a teacher turned artist practitioner who is destined to set the world of participatory arts alight with her well prepared & researched visual arts projects. I loved the janga janga inspired paintings the children made just as much as they obviously enjoyed painting them.
It just so happened Nortonwoods were at the school putting the finishing touches to an inspiring and amazing outside area including a giant crooked house, old fashioned sweet shop and barbecue shack – all lovingly constructed from recycled and reclaimed timber and materials. (above) What a fantastic learning space to fire the imagination!
Well done Brockhampton for its commitment to the creative arts and outside learning.
Contemporary Ceramics is a prestigious gallery in Central London specialising in studio ceramics. For the last 6 months Eastnor Pottery co-director Sarah Monk has been developing a new a collection for exhibition at the gallery.
The work features new colours, new clay, new techniques, new slips and new glazes. The work is on show until the end of October 2018.
Here’s an extract from the article she composed for the Gallery blog.
“Creating the collection has been a winter-evening pursuit, when our busy Studio is closed to customers. By day we offer Pottery Experiences, and have been doing so for the last 24 years. Having just a few hours at the end of a busy day really focuses the creative process for me!
I am a designer-maker specializing in functional ceramics to fit comfortably in the home, particularly the kitchen (my favorite room in our house).
Breakfast has been my starting point; berry bowls and spoons, toast racks and knife rests, egg cups with decorative storage boxes and bowls of all shapes and sizes. The whole range is mix and match.
Growing up, my Mum collected Watcombe Pottery. Over the years she managed to collect more than 400 pieces and they over-flowed from two dining-room dressers in our kitchen. I remember showing it to my school friends and enjoyed reading all the sgraffito sayings and looking at the vibrant slip-trailed patterns. My plan this year has been to fill a dresser at Eastnor Pottery with my own slipware designs, reveling in the easy-going feel of a country potter. In fact, I have already filled this dresser…..maybe I need to get a second one too!
When making my own work, my approach is relaxed and playful, and I hope this translates through to the finished pieces. I love our studio workshop and make full-use of our facilities; from the electric potter’s wheels to the table spaces for hand-building and modeling – whatever takes my fancy! Slips are brushed on, sgraffito designs drawn into the surface and spriggs applied, making the pieces tactile, a deliberate consideration. I restrict my pallet to blue and white slip on terracotta clay; it links everything together and has a country cottage appeal. All of my making happens at the wet clay stage. After a biscuit firing I don’t add anything else to the surface except for a simple lead-free glaze.”
More work can been seen on Sarah’s Instagram.
When our children were young, Sarah and myself loved reading to them. Story time just before bed was a magical, special time we look back on with total fondness. We enjoyed the literature just as much (maybe more!?) than the children and each evening marveled at the illustrations, narrative and the clever way the two came together.
The kids are all grown up now and have either flown the nest or are preparing to fly. As a consequence of them getting older, our exposure to the brilliance of children’s picture books has dwindled.
That said, it hasn’t been a total drought as we get an occasional fix working, as we do with hundreds of primary schools and nurseries. We love it when a head teacher or art co-coordinator starts a conversation with “there’s this book….”
We’ve recently worked with two primary schools who have set beautifully illustrated children’s books as the inspiration for their clay work.
High Meadow Infants School in Warwickshire have been using ‘Come All You Little Persons’ by John Agard and illustrated by Jessica Courtney-Tickle as inspiration for a whole term’s worth of learning and exploration across the curriculum. We were invited to work with the whole school to make a celebratory tile panel to mark the 50th anniversary of the school, based upon the book. (above)
Each child and member of staff made and painted an individual tile, imagining which type of ‘person’ they would be. All the tiles have been fired, glazed and mounted and make a composite image of a globe supported either side by magnificent trees. The celebratory piece has been installed in the school hall for children, parents and staff to admire for a long time to come.
Another school another book! KS1 at Upton Upon Severn Primary School looked at the books ‘Milo and the Magical Stones’ by Marcus Pfister and ‘The Tin Forest’ by Helen Ward. Both books have an environmental message and offered perfect inspiration for the children’s clay work. Instead of a collaborative effect, each child made an individual piece using the pinch pot technique to create a hollow character from the book.
Two separate projects with two super ceramic outcomes!