The gallery is the shop window for the Craft Potters Association of Great Britain (CPA) and exhibits the greatest collectible names in British ceramics alongside the most up and coming artists of today.
I’ve been a professional member of the CPA ever since the start of my career as a maker, but this is the first time I have exhibited in their bi-monthly Rotation programme.
Although the gallery is currently closed during Lockdown, they have developed an amazing and comprehensive online shop featuring the work of 80 makers for sale at any one time.
Sensational Clay was my solo show and a culmination of many months of work, exploring ideas of invention, interaction and participation with clay.
All the works in the exhibition were inspired by the five senses: touch, taste, sound, smell and sight. Every item encouraged visitors to interact and explore, inviting them to experience the objects in a very different way than in a typical gallery setting.
A short film accompanied the exhibition which gave further insight into my practice and the processes used:
Included in the exhibition were:
Giant bowls of sand that visitors can delve into to discover hidden treasures
Tables filled with food inspired ceramics, such as giant teacups and biscuits
Interactive musical pots and rattle pots
Scented ceramic forms, reminiscent of pineapples, coconuts and bananas
Textured ‘clay doodle’ plates
The exhibition toured a further four UK art galleries and was experienced by approximately 12000 visitors. The other venues were:
Throwback Thursday: Happy Craft Play Project 2013 – 2014
Outside learning with nursery aged children in the depths of winter – chilly, great fun and a fine example of partnership and collaborative working! Just look at the individuals and organisations involved:
I made ceramic play things and clay stamps as a response to the exploratory sessions with the very young children and their teachers. The work was then gifted to the school to as a resource for future outdoor learning.
Background to the project:
The Craftplay project brought together WAVE and Craftspace who worked together at Bilston Craft Gallery to deliver a programme of creative engagement sessions with early years’ children. The project engaged with children and their carers through working with craft makers to explore creative play and the natural environment – investigating the part craft plays in developing a sustainable future. By taking the world around us as a teacher and actively interacting with, The Craftplay project sought to inspire children with an appreciation of the environment and its systems, and to enrich their self-belief through creating things themselves by hand.
There is an acute need to support basic wellbeing in the area immediately around Bilston Craft Gallery which has high concentrations of children living in poverty and high levels of deprivation. The sessions provided by the Craftplay project offered a rich, inspiring and fun learning environment where curiosity, confidence and social development were nurtured. In order to chart the progress of their project, WAVE and Craftspace created a great blog.
The first two photos are of a large, flat based, stoneware bottle with an arrangement of tiny holes pierced in the base. Submerged and filled with water, the liquid is magically held within the vessel by placing a thumb over the bottle top! When the thumb is released, the vacuum is broken and the water sprays out of the base like a watering can hose. The function of this piece was not horticultural, but to quell atmospheric dust. They were used on busy, dusty high streets before the advent of tarmac. Fastidious shop keepers attempted to limit the amount of dirt settling on their shop windows by watering the pavements outside their premises.
Here are Jon’s pieces he developed for the exhibition. Each piece sits in it’s own water tank and is 100% designed to be played with by Gallery visitors. Photos by George Nash.
He was one of seven contemporary ceramic artists from the across the Midlands, invited to respond to the Museum’s diverse collection of ceramics. All commissioned artists were to exhibit new work alongside some of the historical objects that inspired them. Then COVID-19 hit!
Needless to say, the Gallery closed and the exhibition cancelled, not before the exhibitions team had spent weeks installing the show.
Undeterred, the team at Leamington have been working incredibly hard to make the exhibition available online. And here it is! – a video complete with commentary by exhibitions curator Lily Crowther.
Prior to delivery, photographer George Nash took some smashing photographs of Jon’s exhibits. We’ll post a few up here on the website along with the historical items that inspired Jon’s making. Watch this space….