Here at Eastnor Pottery, process is king! It’s all about the journey and we greatly value and enjoy observing how our customers and workshop participants engage with the clay and their relationship with environment and individuals around them. That said, we oversee some pretty inspiring and sophisticated end products too!
Check out these ‘book’ tile panels inspired by children’s literature we co-created with Meadows first School in Bromsgrove. We spent x2 industrious days working with the entire school, each child producing a single tile. The tiles have been assembled onto boards and will adorn the front of the school for community and visitors alike to admire when they visit the school.
A similar project with an equally satisfying outcome was the Damson Tree tile panel made with Damson Wood First School in Solihull. This project was initiated to celebrate the schools 50th birthday and the resulting ceramic masterpiece made by the children will hang in the reception hall.
Jon entered Regency High School, Worcester on a mission to help students and staff make a shoal of terracotta clay fish.
They managed to construct five Koi Carp, Jon working with each class for an hour or so. Although the fish looked amazing and everybody was proud of their collaborative efforts, Jon was even more excited about the clay work produced by the students who approached the making of scales in their own, unique way.
“I’m continually staggered by the variety of new and creative approaches to clay innovated by adults and children with Special Educational Needs or disabilities. You think you’ve seen it all and then somebody does something with the material you’ve never seen before – amazing and inspiring!”
Creative practitioners who work in other media are often inquisitive and keen to try new materials. So, as one might expect, we do get to encounter more than our fair share of artists and craftspeople wanting to translate their ideas into clay.
We love working with fellow creatives and are delighted when we get the opportunity to do so.
Check out this amazing collaborative pot made by illustrator Sarah Dean and her family to commemorate her 40th birthday.
Although the pot looked pretty amazing in terracotta, Sarah had other ideas about the finish! I’m sure you’ll agree the acrylic paint job looks magnificent and elevates the artwork to a new level.
Well done Sarah!
A FAQ by our customers is “Can I put my pottery outside?”
If they are doing our ‘Make & Take’ option and transporting their raw, clay pieces home, then it’s a big NO NO! At the first sign of rain their creations will reduce to a sludge.
We recommend a couple of layers of PVA glue mixed with water (50/50 mix) to seal the surface. They can then decorate their object with whatever paint they may have to hand. BUT, under no circumstance should the object be left outside in the rain as it will break down in a down pour. Air-dried clay is definitely for interior, decorative purposes only.
Fired things have made an irreversible chemical change and are much more permanent. Rain & sunshine will have little effect. Snow, frost and ice however, can be detrimental to fired ceramic. It’s all to do with the temperature the clay has been fired to.
The higher the temperature, the more likely the clay particles will have fused together forming an impenetrable material. It’s called vitrification. If on the other hand, if you have a relatively low fired pot, the clay particles will not have fused so much, resulting in the ceramic material being softer and porous to liquids.
As water freezes, it expands. So if you have a low fired pot, the water is going to soak into the body and when it freezes, the ice expands with enough force to fracture the material. Hence cracking and chipping occurs – frost damage.
If we know our customers work is heading for the garden, we will suggest an appropriate clay and purposely high fire the object.
Our Pottery garden is full of high fired terracotta – some of the pieces have been out in all weathers for 20 years or more and they still look pretty good with very little frost damage.
The Anglo Saxons are definitely a hot curriculum topic for KS 1&2. In past week we have led Anglo Saxon inspired clay projects with no less than three schools.
Staunton on Wye Primary School in Herefordshire made a couple of collaborative planters, encrusted with Anglo Saxon insignia and detail. Swords, shields, houses and long boats were well represented amongst the children’s models attached to the surface of a giant coil pot.
Ethan made the trip to Finstall first School in Bromsgrove, Worcestershire to work with Class 4, making individual iron age houses. (above)
Eastnor Primary will also be making the short stroll up the lane to the Pottery to sample the delights of building mini iron age huts.
CLAY! – for all your Anglo Saxon curriculum needs