Thursday, 26 July 2018

Returns Residency Day 2 - Come in and help us make a big pot!



Come in and help us make a big pot!

Andrew Brown and I recently ran workshops in Stoke and Nottingham with refugees and asylum-seekers. Working together with clay, we had conversations about clay objects for daily use in people’s countries of origin. Some of these accounts were collected by being spoken into and recorded in a pot we had made, with openings which you could speak through and listen at. In this way, the “Whispering Pot” became a container for remembered fragments of daily lives, which had been disrupted by migration. 

One group wanted to make a pot themselves – a big one! So this is what we are attempting to do this week. We have 250kg of clay and the gallery doors are open 10.00 – 1.00 and 2.00 – 5.00 every day. We have a sign outside inviting people to come in and help and so far by the end of today, 11 people have done just this.

We have had some great conversations as fat coils of clay have been squeezed into place. At one point a potential collapse was avoided with some quick work with a heat gun and the application of bandages to bind the walls until they firmed up. Two little girls aged 5 and three went away happily clutching their own lumps of clay! Every person that comes to work on the pot adds their own mark, literally, as each layer is smoothed into place.

- Christine Stevens

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