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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

Pottery team building event at Eastnor Pottery Herefordshire

Staff from the School of Biological Sciences, Bristol University descended on the Pottery in August, (all 18 of them) for a spot of pottery team building.

Participants built a collaborative jug, took turns on eight potter’s wheels and made some intricate pottery models before enjoying a buffet lunch in The Potting Tent Marquee.

If you would like to reward your staff or our planning a unique works away day for your colleagues, please take a look at our page dedicated to team-building.


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.

collaborative tile panel made by the flying potter and high meadow infant school based upon come all you little personsWhen 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.

Upton upon severn primary school make clay models inspired by children's book milo and the magical stonesAnother 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!