clay tiles made by Holy Trinity school and the flying potter from Eastnor

The Summer term in schools is one of the busiest for the Flying Potter.  SATS are done, the sun is out and teachers  are looking to reward their children with creative and fun activities. Little surprise then schools plan their ‘arts week’ for this time of year.

Here are the ceramic results of a couple of  whole school, recent  ‘arts week’ collaborations undertaken in the West Midlands.

collaborative coil made with children from Tividale Primary School and Jon the potter from eastnor pottery and the flying potter

One of x6 collaborative terracotta planters at Tividale Primary School Sandwell.

clay tiles made by Holy Trinity school and the flying potter from Eastnor

Tile panel at Holy Trinity Primary School Sandwell

clay castle made from individual bricks made at the cheltenham science festival by lots of families and school children

families making clay bricks in the makershack at cheltenham science festival 2019

It was fab to be back at the Cheltenham Science Festival last month.

We’ve been involved in the Makershack since its inauguration in 2017. This year we encouraged visitors to make a press molded brick, using real brick clay from Coleford Brick and Tile Company based in the Forest of Dean.

The bricks were assembled into a giant castle and we worked with nearly 10,000 people over the x6 days of the festival! – that’s a shed load of bricks! The sheer volume of visitors meant we had to build a fresh structure each day, deconstructing the building at the close and re-claiming the material for the next morning.

Athough the Makershack was primarily aimed at Primary school aged students – (and man, there must have been very few Gloucestershire schools who didn’t visit the show), on Friday night grown-ups got to play with the technology in a special after-hours session between 8pm and 10pm.

Although it’s full-on, we love the #makershack and look forward to sharing the scientific benefits of engaging with clay, with festival visitors in 2020.clay castle made from individual bricks made at the cheltenham science festival by lots of families and school children

school children enjoying hands on making clay bricks at cheltenham science festival 2019

tile panel in the shape of a fish

Check out these beautiful River Wye inspired tile panels made with the students at St Martins Primary School in Hereford.

Jon worked with every child in the school at the back end of the Summer term, encouraging them to roll the soft clay to make tiles. Low relief decoration, inspired by their experience of living in Hereford was modeled onto the surface and the whole effect painted with coloured slips.

At the end of the workshop sessions, the individual tiles were transported to the Pottery for drying, firing and glazing. Once out of the kilns the children’s work was assembled into collaborative fish, ducks and swans and finally attached to bespoke painted boards.

The finished panels were delivered to St Martins in October ready for installation on a huge wall above a busy stairwell. As soon as we have a photo we’ll share it right here on our website.

Staff from Dean Close School Cheltenham learn pottery skills at Eastnor PotteryThese three teachers from Dean Close Co-Educational Independent School in Cheltenham came and spent a day with us in November learning about clay and making techniques.

This is what they had to say about their experience:

“We all learnt so much and helped us to reinforce the basics whilst giving us the confidence to pass our knowledge onto the children we teach.

A highlight had to be throwing a pot! We all loved it and can’t wait to get practicing.

Sarah and Jon were so friendly and welcoming and their experience and knowledge was excellent. Thank you both so much.”

Hereford YR10 work experience placement at Eastnor PotteryWe are firmly committed to offering young people opportunities to develop their life skills and creativity.

Each year we welcome to the Pottery at least one or two YR10 students from local high schools, looking to experience what it’s like to be a creative practitioner. This year we were joined by Naima from Bishop of Hereford’s Bluecoat School.

Naima packed kilns, wrapped customers work and helped with the day to day running of the studio. She approached her tasks with maturity and willingness enabling us to offer her more and more responsibility as the week progressed. The placement culminated with Naima coaching teachers and educationalists on how to use the potter’s wheel at an Artists in Education event in Birmingham!

Well done Naima and we look forward to seeing how your career in the creative industries develops.

Eastnor Pottery offers YR10 work experience placements to local high schools