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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 funwith the flying potter at Childwickbury arts festival

Looks like the Flying Potter has a busy few months ahead! Just look at all the lovely events and festivals the mobile division of Eastnor Pottery will be hosting clay workshops over the Summer. Hope to see you at one of them! :)

4-9 June Makershack, Cheltenham Science Festival. Come and make a clay brick using traditional clay brick making techniques for our collaborative sculpture. FREE event 10am – 5pm daily. Late opening on Friday 8pm-10pm

participants display their clay tiles at science festival 2018

14 June Royal Three Counties Show  Three Counties Showground Malvern. Jon will be there with his potter’s wheel entertaining school groups on the Eat Sleep Live Herefordshire stand.

 

The flying potter at the royal agricultural show malvern 2019

5-7 July Childwickbury Arts Fair, Hertfordshire. Take a spin on the potter’s wheel the take your clay pot away on the day to paint at home. 10am – 5pm

pottery funwith the flying potter at Childwickbury arts festival

13 July Brockhampton – come and play with clay in the orchards making insect homes and pots on the kick wheel. 10.30am – 3.30pm

child showing his clay fish made at hellens garden festival 2018

20 July Berrington Hall More brick making! Contribute to a collaborative interactive installation. Make and decorate one for the art work and one to take home as a keep sake.

girl making a clay brick at berrington hall with the flying potter

21-25 July Eastnor Castle. It’s the annual Flying Potter residency! You’ll get the chance to make a dragon head or dino scull to take away and paint at home.

Terracotta Trex made by families at Eastnor Castle with help from Eastnor Pottery

26-27 July Black Country Museum. Adult and family workshop sessions exploring various pottery making techniques and themed on the colourful ceramic world of the art potter Ruskin.

pottery workshop participant making a pot on the potter's wheel at the black country museum west midlands

8-11 Aug LAKEFEST! Right here right now, (well in a couple of months anyway!) Once again we’re venturing across the A438 into the deerpark to offer punters the chance to throw a pot on the potter’s wheel at this relaxed and family friendly music festival.

pottery wheel fun at lakefest music festival with eastnor pottery and the flying potter 2019

Thrown and assembled wheel thrown pot made by young man with aspergers at eastnor potteryLeon’s one of regular and valued customers. Every Tuesday he spends an hour or so with his support worker or mum at the Pottery making and decorating pots on the wheel.

For the past seven weeks he’s been working on a single, ‘£100’ pot. Each visit is spent making a separate section on the wheel which is then joined to the one made the previous week.

Over seven weeks, the pot has grown organically and sprouted several handles and palm tree additions. The last couple of weeks have been spent painting the sculpture in coloured under glazes and slips. It emerged resplendent from the kiln a few weeks ago and we think it’s brill! Here’s a link to a short video showing the pot in all it’s 3D glory: Young man with aspergers makes amazing pottery

Boosted by the success, Leon is onto his next project – a ‘£200’ pot!

If I was to name a community arts practitioner who I greatly admire for her work with young people, it has to be artist drama practitioner Toni Cook. Time and time again I’ve witnessed Toni work her magic with groups, using a mix of performance, wit and humility to build massive levels of confidence in the young people.

I’ve been fortunate to have collaborated with Toni on several projects so you can imagine my delight on being invited to work with her again on a project initiated by Hereford Library service and SHYYP – a charity working with young homeless people or those at risk of being made homeless.

Although I only worked two sessions with a small group of young people in Ross on Wye Library, I was so impressed by the group’s creativity and confidence, I found myself, a few weeks later, in the Courtyard Theatre watching a performance by the same young people called ‘If you walked a mile in my shoes’

The moving performance told the individual stories of 14 young people, who shared their own true-life experiences through prose, poetry, songs, rap and film, describing their emotions, questions of identity, making their voice heard and fight for survival.

It was brilliant! A testament, not only to the participant’s bravery but to the skillful facilitation of Toni and the other artists, organisations and youth workers involved. Well done everybody!

tile panel in the shape of a book made by young people from SHYYP at Ross on Wye Library

 

MakerShack frontage at Cheltfest

Nearly 10,000 people enjoyed tinkering with materials in The Maker Shack at the Cheltenham Science Festival 2018 – and nearly all of them designed and made a clay tile at the Eastnor Pottery station!

It was the second year running Olivia Clements requested the services of the Flying Potter so we knew what to expect in terms of sheer volume of participation….and we weren’t disappointed!

The event was exhausting and needed team Eastnor Pottery & The Flying Potter to work shifts. Sarah, Millie and Jon all did a couple of days but all agreed it would have been really, really hard work if it hadn’t been for the brilliant army of volunteer helpers.

Each station was designated a couple of extra hands who once had been briefed on the activity, set about their tasks with enthusiasm, initiative and understanding. They were brilliant!

 

participants display their clay tiles at science festival 2018

mark making in clay at science festivalpublic making clay tiles at cheltenham science festivalclay tiles at cheltenham science festival makershack waiting to be collected