Float Festival Manchester

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On Saturday 22nd September we’ll be taking part in Manchester’s first wellness festival. We’re delivering a short clay basics workshop at 5pm. Connect with the ground, use your hands and get proper messy in this one-hour class. Squeeze on, switch off, come home with a piece you’ll treasure forever.

Float is a one-day festival and brings together makers, foodies, ideas creators, mindfulness practitioners, business/personal development gurus and yoga teachers to open your eyes and quiet your mind. Head to Float to learn more and book tickets.

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The Familiar and our Popup Ceramic Workspace and Shop

The popup shop at Carousel in Headingley was an opportunity to showcase our ceramic products – necklaces, brooches, bangles & spoons – alongside our clay workshops. The aim was to have a street presence where we could promote the studio and chat to passers by. The popup shop is smaller than our permanent ceramics studio in Roundhay. However, because it doesn’t contain all the tools & kit needed to operate a ceramics studio we were also able to invite bigger groups, more frequently, into the space. We hosted a range of introductory clay workshops in the Headingley space. The workshops covered coil building (Coil), spoon making (Whittle) festive bell making (Chime) and decorative ceramic Christmas decorations (Scatter). The larger space meant we could also accommodate larger private group bookings.

Continue reading The Familiar and our Popup Ceramic Workspace and Shop

More than stencils, slip & cats with Jenna Lee Alldread

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Earlier this year I invited Jenna Lee Alldread to the studio to work on a few examples for a ceramics workshop I was developing – Ceramics Taster: Trail. The workshop is an introduction decorative techniques. It covers working with coloured slips and explores techniques in applying pattern and illustrations to flatware (clay plates and tiles). The techniques covered include stencilling, sgraffito and slip trailing with coloured slip.

Continue reading More than stencils, slip & cats with Jenna Lee Alldread

Clay: connecting, health and wellbeing

A couple of articles have been doing the rounds on social media:

Creating Ceramics Can Help Combat Depression and Of Mind and Mud: How Clay is Shaping Up to be the Next Big Mindfulness Trend.

After workshops people regularly comment on how therapeutic they have found their experience with clay. I’m frequently asked if I find it therapeutic. My immediate response has been no. My mind jumps to all the problems I encounter and the constant disappointments. That said, I’ve been thinking about why, despite the challenges that the material presents, I’ve been loyal to it for over 20 years.

I enjoy the problems and challenges. I’m rewarded when a problem has been solved. Clay, and working three-dimensionally, has made me more resilient & determined. It’s provided me with so many opportunities to know myself and develop my conceptual and critical thinking. Shaping lumps of matter has been transformational.

Is it good for your health and wellbeing? Absolutely, but I describe it as feedback. It’s a reciprocal conversation that changes as the material’s properties change – plastic, leather hard, green, bisque etc… It’s also a conversation that’s enriched as you learn more about how it’s shaped how we live & what we know about our past.

​If you listen to it & reflect on what it gives, it’s possible to learn something about yourself and the way you approach & resolve problems. In a culture that puts too much emphasis on cognitive intelligence, clay exerts its presence to give meaning and substance to what can be achieved with both body & mind. I’m thankful for that. In the past few years I’d not been making. I’d become quite miserable and began to dislike myself. I guess it all boils down to connecting – relating to clay involves many of the same challenges involved in relating to people.

Work that Works

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On Friday 26 May creative small business’ were invited to share a snapshot of themselves in their workspaces to celebrate new research from NOT ON THE HIGH STREET. The research highlights how small creative businesses are helping to redefine the world of work. You can review the report here. Continue reading Work that Works