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artist and co director at eastnor pottery and the flying potter jon williams

artist and co director at eastnor pottery and the flying potter jon williamsJob Title: Co-Director

Job description: Facilitating experiences (Eastnor Studio and the wider community) and maker of weird interactive pottery stuff.

Q1 What do you like doing when you are not working at the Pottery?

Surfing! but as you need the ocean for this I’ll settle for spin class, writing and mowing the lawn.

Q2 What is your favourite song of all time and why?

A Forest by The Cure. An incredible sonic journey with endless live versions…also, nothing was ever quite the same after hearing it for the first time.

Q3 What is your favourite drink?

A bottle of Tribute

Q4 What is your favourite cheese?

Stilton

Q5 How many pairs of shoes do you own?

6, but rarely stray from my Air Force 1’s handed up from my son!

Q6 If you were an animal what would it be?

A barn owl

 

natural resources for pattern making in clay session with jon the potter from eastnor pottery and the flying potter

textured terracotta tiles made by young children at washwood heath nursery school and jon the potter from eastnor pottery and the flying potterThese amazing terracotta tiles have been made by the talented children at Washwood Heath Nursery School in Birmingham. Although they look rather stunning arranged here on the ground, the tiles form part of a much more ambitious project at the nursery.

Jon the potter worked with artist in residence Claire Witcombe, Nursery staff and of course the children to plan an exciting and inspiring project to introduce aspects of pattern making, surface design and construction. The aim, to create something that would pool the skills and experience of all the collaborators and result in an outcome everybody could enjoy and share – as well as provide the children with an exceptional learning journey along the way.

After much consultation and planning, a shelter proved to be a popular choice with all stakeholders – a structure the children could pass through, play in and around. It was decided the interior space would be protected by hand made roof tiles, co-created by the children in a series of practical workshop sessions.

natural resources for pattern making in clay session with jon the potter from eastnor pottery and the flying potterautumn oak trees in eastnor herefordshire

Natural resources, hand tools and other mark making objects were introduced to the clay table for the children to press and work into the clay. Once they had flattened large lumps of terracotta clay into flat slabs, the children got to work, pressing and rolling the tools and resources into the soft material. They were also encouraged to cut their textured slabs into uniformed shapes by slicing around a template especially prepared for the task. The range of patterns produced, and the degree of exploration was a delight to behold….And as for the sheer number of tiles made – WOW! Proper tile making factory.

pressing oak leaves into clay slab with jon the potter at washwood heath nursery school in birminghamcutting clay tiles at washwood heath nursery school with jon williams from eastnor pottery

table full of mark making materials and clay at a creative session led by Jon Williams the flying potter at washwood heath nursery school in birminghamThe 100 tiles have all been fired and ready for dispatch! The baton now passes to Claire who will enable the children to build the main structure from recycled pallets and boards. The roof tiles will be added later by the children using hammers and nails to hang them on the timber – a traditional and contemporary technique used by roofers in the construction industry all around the world.

The project is a fine example of partnership working and creative collaboration and we all cant wait to see the final piece installed in one of the Nursery’s exterior spaces.

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

arranging ceramic tiles at eastnor pottery

Our lovely community arts apprentices Aimme and Immy working with Sarah on the final touches of a stunning tile panel made by children, parents and staff at Washwood Heath Nursery School in Birmingham.

Although the practical sessions are of paramount importance and integral to our practice, it’s worth pointing out the value of preparation and after-care we attach to every project.

We reckon for every minute spent working with somebody hands-on, there is at least a minute of preparation and after-care.

This collaboration will be hung on the outside wall of the new Clover Lea Annex building designed for the provision of the under 2’s.

gruffalo tile panel created by pupils at meadows first school in bromsgroveHere 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.

ceramic tile project with bromsgrove infants school meadows infant school with jon the potter from Eastnor PotteryA 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.