We recently collaborated with the whole of Broadwas Primary School in Worcestershire to produce this brilliant tile panel interpretation of their school emblem.
Each pupil made an individual tile from soft clay before adding detail and painting in coloured slip.
We transported all 100 tiles back to the Pottery to be fired, glazed and returned to the school for ready for installation earlier this year.
The panel is mounted on the outside of the school near the entrance, welcoming pupils and visitors and serving as an excellent reminder of what can be achieved when everybody works together.
…and, if you study the school’s website banner photo roll for long enough, you’ll see our very own Jon the Potter facilitating a potter’s wheel assembly!
This rather striking terracotta mammoth was made by Jon the Potter at Worcester Museum and Art Gallery. Families were invited to drop by and help make the ice age beast as part of an exciting year long project called Lost Landscapes of Worcestershire. The project culminates in the summer of 2018 with an exhibition at both the Museum in Forgate Street and The Hive.
Customers are sometimes surprised at the length of time it takes before they can collect their ceramic masterpieces.
We work on a completion period of one month from day of making.
Most of this time is drying time, dedicated to ensuring the work is bone dry through-out. If you attempt to fire a wet or slightly damp pot, the water in the clay will bubble and steam at 100 degrees on the kiln’s accent to 1000 degrees. As you can probably imagine the boiling water causes catastrophic damage to the clay with objects prone to exploding or splitting apart.
The first firing is called the bisque firing and takes a couple of days. When the pots emerge from the kiln, they have made an irreversible transition. They are now ceramic, but are still quite soft and porous.
The bisque pots are dipped into a bucket of un-melted glass particles in suspension. The glaze particles cling to the surface of the pot forming a layer of powder resembling a heavy frost.
Once the bottoms of the pots have been wiped clear of glaze, they are loaded back into the kiln for a second ‘glaze’ firing. The pots are fired higher this time to a temperature of 1080 degrees Celsius. This allows the glaze particles to melt, forming a smooth glassy surface on top of the ceramic.
Two days later, the finished items are unloaded from the kiln.
Phew! So much process, so much time!
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.
We usually start a session in a school with a discussion about the many uses of clay and pottery. When posed with the question “what objects do you think of when you think of pottery?” the children’s answers are predictable – mugs, cups, plates, bowls…. etc. Not so at Finstall First School in Bromsgrove! A YR4 had us in stitches with his answer “old people!” lol
Some stereo types are so deeply ingrained!