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Literature, science and clay

Attaching #clay #leaves to our #hayfestival #trees #forest #hay30 @hayfestival @bbcgetcreative @bbcarts #herefordshire

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We’ve been on the festival circuit of late providing top quality, fun and engaging pottery sessions for guests and visitors at some of the most reputed events in the UK.

At the tail end of May, we spent three busy and enjoyable days at The Hay Festival of literature on the Herefordshire/Wales boarder. One of the global themes at the Festival was ‘Trees’. Graphic designer and kids zone producer Aine Venables produced stunning branding and motifs made up of stylised bows, birds and foliage. This was displayed through-out the festival site and on promotional material and signage.

In discussion with Aine, we proposed a collaborative project where by participants co-create clay trees adorned with hand modeled bugs and forest creatures.

By way of introduction, I threw a pot on the potter’s wheel, the form rapidly turning into a tree trunk before the appreciative audience. The accumulative results looked amazing, especially once we added hazel twigs to simulate the branches. Families and individuals squashed clay leaves to the branches to complete the visual effect.

By the end of our three day residency we had produced no less then x9 collaborative trees with an abundance of woodland creatures peeping out amongst the undergrowth. We love it when participants bring their own interests into the clay modeling and if one scruitenised the collaborative work, you might well encounter the odd t-rex, unicorn and tractor!

A few days later we found ourselves at the Cheltenham Science Festival working with quite literally thousands of children and families all eager to try their hand at clay work. We had been invited to facilitate clay sessions in the MakerShack, a large, interactive space with separate stations and a host of different science related activities for visitors to engage with.

We were situated next to the digital printing stand – pointing up the similarities between ancient clay construction techniques and those of the ultra modern. We encouraged visitors to our stand to make mini coil pots by curling thin rolled snakes of clay around a small paper cone. The digital printers created 3D form  by layering synthetic material. Very similar making techniques – just different tools!

The residency at the Science Festival lasted six days and we helped approx 1000 visitors a day create coiled cones and watch them transform into penguins, flowers and elephants to name but a few project interpretations.