Unconventional use of the potter’s wheel, but we love it!
Job 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?
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
These 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, 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.
The 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.
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.
One of x6 collaborative terracotta planters at Tividale Primary School Sandwell.
Tile panel at Holy Trinity Primary School Sandwell
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.