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childrens hands in wet squidgy clay at cheltenham science festival 2019

childrens hands in wet squidgy clay at cheltenham science festival 2019Under normal circumstances (remember them!?) we’d have been up to our eyeballs in clay at the brilliant Maker Shack as part of Cheltenham Science Festival.

We’ve been involved in the Makershack since its inauguration in 2017. Last 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 2021.

slipware pottery rabbit made by sarah monk from eastnor pottery herefordshire for easter bunny trail at puzzlewood

terracotta bunny rabbitt made by ceramic artist jon williams from eastnor potteryslipware pottery rabbit made by sarah monk from eastnor pottery herefordshire for easter bunny trail at puzzlewoodMaking ceramic bunnies is not Sarah and Jon’s usual bag, but when, Puzzle Wood asked Eastnor Pottery’s co-directors to take part in a Great Pottery Rabbit trail, they couldn’t resist the challenge!

Puzzle Wood is a magical ancient woodland in the Forest of Dean. It’s a great place to explore with the kids, as Sarah and Jon have done many times with their own children. It’s also a popular and famous TV and film location – Star Wars and Doctor Who to name but two!

All the local Potteries and Makers in the Forest of Dean and Wye Valley were invited to make a ceramic rabbit to be hidden in Puzzlewood over the usually busy Easter weekend.

The Eastnor Potters started making their contributions back in February. Sarah decided to hand coil hers – a technique she hadn’t used for over 20 years, as she thought it would be fun to do something different. She used terracotta clay because of its deep, earthy colour fitting for a rich, earthy forest environment. Once built, she covered the whole rabbit in white slip and scratched simplified flowers into the surface. She then added splats of cobalt blue achieving a classic blue & white ceramic effect.

Jon chose to assemble his bunny from eight separate throw sections made on the potter’s wheel. He too used terracotta clay but didn’t add colour or glaze, opting instead for the natural colour of the fired terracotta.

Unfortunately because of COVID-19, Puzzle Wood remained closed to the public over Easter. Undeterred, they published The Great Puzzlewood Pottery Easter Trail online as a colouring competition instead. Participants could download line drawings of each bunny (different one each day) colour them in and submit them for judging. Some of the marvelous entries can be seen on Puzzlewood’s social media. Check out their TwitterFacebook and Instagram feeds.

Ceramic easter bunny colouring competition by puzzlewood gloucestershire

 

ceramic artists jon williams and sarah monk take part in the digital hey clay festival 2020
ceramic artists jon williams and sarah monk take part in the digital hey clay festival 2020
This is the 6th time we’ve been involved with this fabulous FREE event and usually we’re full to the rafters with lovely people having loads of fun on the potter’s wheel. As we’re not re-opening to the public until 1st July, we’ll be celebrating HeyClay by hosting live tutorials, studio tours and insights into our making across our social media. Here’s a timetable of LIVE events here at Eastnor Pottery and the Flying Potter:

Friday 15th May 2020

11am     Studio Tour (Insta) 😍
1pm      Throwing a pot with Jon Williams (Insta)🤩

Saturday 16th May 2020

10am     Studio Tour (Facebook)😍
11am      Throwing a pot with Sarah Monk (Insta)🤩
1pm       How to make a donut with Jon Williams (Facebook) 🍩
2pm       How to make a soap dish with Sarah Monk 🧼

We hope to see you there! 😀🌈

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

 

amputee chris trys pottery at eastnor pottery and the flying potter

amputee chris trys pottery at eastnor pottery and the flying potter

BLESMA magazine for serving and ex service men and women who have lost limbs and eye sightSay hello to Chris!

Chris joined us at the Pottery in January as a participant of an outreach session organised by BLESMA , an Armed Forces Charity set up to support serving & ex-service men & women who have suffered limb loss, sight loss and other life changing injuries.

He’d first tried pottery 30 years ago and after making and decorating a breakfast bowl on the wheel with us, he’s considering taking it up as a hobby!

When he collected his pot just prior to lock-down, he brought along a copy of the charity’s magazine – and guess who’s featured!?

Well done Chris 👍 What a lovely article!